Joshua Ford | Waccamaw Contributor
Arguably one of the best seasons in Waccamaw football history came to an end on Friday night in the first round of the 3A playoffs against the Dillon Wildcats, losing by a final score of 61-6.
“I know one thing, these kids did not back down all week,” said Warriors head coach Shane Fidler of his team. “They believed and they just went out there and every adjustment we made on defense [Dillon] had another player they could give it to. They’re a freight train, they’re a good football team, well coached … kudos to them.”
Waccamaw was held to just 116 total yards on 62 plays. Dillon gained 414 yards on their 41 snaps.
Dillon scored 21 unanswered points in the first quarter, all touchdown runs. Two of which by their quarterback Ja’teil Lester. Lester was 7-of-10 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns, boasting a 125 QB rating. The senior added 99 yards and three TDs on the ground on five carries.
Waccamaw’s scoring drive was one that lasted 17 plays, only two of which were passes. The Warriors drove down to the two yard line where junior quarterback Denson Crisler snuck in for the score. It was 21-6 with 9:08 until half.
Crisler was 11-for-20 on the day for 127 yards throwing three picks with his one rushing touchdown.
After back-to-back drives resulting in passing touchdowns from Lester, Dillon held a 35-6 lead with 5:38 remaining until halftime. Both offenses punted on their following possessions and Waccamaw was looking to score again before the half. However, Kaisaun Grate fumbled on a reception and senior defensive back Daizion Alford scooped it and scored it for the Wildcats.
Dillon added another touchdown before the half when Lester ran it up the middle for a five-yard score to give the Wildcats a 48-6 halftime lead.
Quashod Singleton had the only score of the third on a 35-yard run for Dillon and Bobo McKinnon’s 31-yard touchdown run at the end of the fourth created the final score of 61-6.
“These kids have got a little taste of what it means to play on a big stage,” Fidler said of his team’s first playoff experience. “Now they can work all offseason and they know what that separation is between us and them and see how hard we gotta work to get to them.”
Waccamaw finishes with a 7-4 (3-2) record and broke plenty of records along the way. Their record was the team’s best since 2009 (7-4), they scored the most points in team history (331), they allowed the least amount of points in a season (170 before playing Dillon) since 1995 and they had a four-game winning streak – best since 1995.
“There are a lot of positives from this season,” said Warriors head coach Shane Fidler. “Now going forward, we know what we want to do offensively and defensively and where people fit into the puzzle.”
Waccamaw was 2-27 in the past three years, but this year, the team bought in and raised the standard.
“I saw a group of kids that bought in, who said they we’re going to be tough, who said they would face adversity, who said they were gonna line up and give the other team everything they had,” said defensive and special teams coordinator Amondre Johnson. “I asked them in the summer to rise to the occasion and raise the bar, and they set a super high bar for every season after this.”
“Two years ago when [Filder] first came in, nobody believed him,” said junior lineman Victor Otubu. “Last year nobody bought in. This year we all bought in and look where we’re at: we’re playing Dillon. We played Dillon in the first round of the playoffs as a three seed in our region. We just gotta take our coaching.”
Coach Fidler has said many times that this was one of the best, if not the best teams Waccamaw has ever had and it started with the seniors.
“I’v been through a lot of senior classes and I feel like this is the best one I’ve seen just because we know what it’s like to be on the bottom of everything,” said senior captain, linebacker Walker Parler. “Yeah it sucks that we got eliminated from the first round but this is going to help for years to come.”
“Whe you’re with a group of guys since you’ve been in high school, going through losses and wins, just to come out on top, just to be in the playoffs is amazing,” Otubu said. “That senior class, they were like my older brothers.”
“This senior class was not just a great group of football players, but a great group of young men,” Johnson said. “When they look back at the time the Waccamaw football program changed, it’s going to start with those seniors. Those are the names they’re going to mention.
“The set the bar and they set it high. The standards at Waccamaw high school football now are not what they’ve always been.”
“Talk about a bunch of leaders?” Fidler said. “When they met me, they didn’t win a game and here we are winning seven and making the playoffs and coming to Dillon and not being scared. I’m proud of those guys. They’ve done a lot for this program and they’ll be known as that class that started turning this thing around.”
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