By Joshua Ford | Waccamaw Contributor
Waccamaw has a chance to clinch their first playoff berth since 2015 on Friday at Academic Magnet. A win Friday would give the Warriors their sixth victory, the most wins by their varsity football team since 2014’s team which also won six games.
“It was a big progression. It came along,” wide receiver Tyree Funnye said of the team who only had one win in the last two seasons. “It’s a big achievement, we feel good about it. The players that we brought up from JV last year are stepping up and that’s how we got the ball rolling and went from there.”
Academic Magnet was Waccamaw’s only victory last year, winning by a 57-0 final score.
The Hawks are a one-win team this year at 1-5 (0-3). However, this game is their senior night and they’re looking to leave it all out on the field.
“It’s their senior night so they have nothing to lose. It’s do or die for their players, and really for us too,” said Warriors head coach Shane Fidler. “Our game plan is really simple: be disciplined on defense, and offensively we gotta establish the run so we can control the game the way we want to and hopefully come out of there with a win.”
The Warriors struggled to establish the run early last week in their 47-22 loss to Manning and had turnover issues (five), especially in the red zone. However, the offense is putting a heavy emphasis on the ground game this week, which they’re hoping will allow them to put more points on the board.
“We’re on a two-game losing streak so we’re going to try and get this dub,” Funnye said. “[We want to] run the ball. See who can run the ball better and go from there.”
“We spent a lot of time on Tuesday at practice working on the red zone. So it was a very angry day for me to try and get our kids to focus on their job in the red zone,” Fidler said. “So they’ve been really focused on what they see in the red zone and really focused on what their jobs are in that area … we gotta make sure we get in the right formations against these looks.”
Academic Magnet has a lot of trickery in their offense. So the defense will have to be disciplined.
“They have a couple of star players,” said Funnye who was chosen to play in the state’s North-South Game. “Overall, as a team, we can beat ‘em but they have their players that can make plays.”
The defense will be missing starting cornerback Stacy Wilson who sustained a broken collarbone in the loss last week. His timetable is uncertain.
Other injury news is that starting center Jacob Holdridge won’t play due to an ankle injury, but Holdridge is likely to play next week against Hannahan.
Linebacker Jacob Stump returns to action after battling with an elbow injury since week four. Quarterback Denson Crisler was said to be moving around very well at practice this week after suffering a sprained ankle last week and is expected to be fully ready for this game.
“We’re getting some kids back from injury that have been hurt last week,” Fidler said. “[We’re] getting some guys healthy again, but now we have a couple more injured. But that’s what happens this time of year with any football team. This is why you have to develop depth.”
There’s a lot on the line for Waccamaw, but the team is ready for what the future holds.
“It’s pretty important. It determines whether we make the playoffs or not,” Funnye said. “If we win these two games, we go into the playoffs feeling good and feeling confident.”
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