By JOSH VARDAMAN
Summit (7-3) at Cane Ridge (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday
The Summit Spartans have their work cut out for them in their first-ever playoff game.
The Spartans’ prize for their best season in school history is a date at undefeated Cane Ridge on Friday.
“They’re excited. It being new to them, we’re just trying to make it a big deal this week,” SHS head coach Brian Coleman said. “We’re just trying to let them know how big of a deal it is to finally make it to the playoffs.”
Summit, which gives up 17 points per contest to opponents, will have to contend with a Cane Ridge team built around a high-powered offense.
Led by quarterback DJ Thorpe (1,722 passing yards, 14 touchdowns), the Ravens are averaging 39 points per game this season.
“Their quarterback is really, really good,” Coleman said. “And they don’t just have one good receiver – they have at least three or four good receivers. In high school, that puts a lot of stress on your defense.
“They’re very capable of making big plays, so if they’re going to score we have to make them earn it.”
In order to try and keep the Cane Ridge offense off the field, Summit will try to get its powerful wing-T rushing offense going early against a Raven defense giving up just 15.5 points per game.
The Spartans, led by junior Tai Carter (1,259 rushing yards, 14 TDs), will have to limit the aggressiveness of the Ravens’ defensive line if they want to find holes, according to Coleman.
“They come up field a lot,” he said. “They’re coming at you with their aggressiveness. As a wing-T offense, we have to stop penetration and get our hands in front of those guys coming up field.”
Summit might also have to get production out of its passing game, something it hasn’t had to do a whole lot this year.
“We’re going to have to throw the ball,” Coleman said. “But, then again, we’re going to have to run the play clock down and get first downs to keep their offense off the field.”
Spring Hill (5-5) at Stone Memorial (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday
It wasn’t pretty, but the Spring Hill Raiders did just enough down the stretch of the regular season to limp into the Class 4A playoffs.
After starting 4-1, the Raiders lost four in a row and had to beat Lawrence County in the final week of the regular season to get into the postseason.
Spring Hill didn’t get rewarded much for making the playoffs. The Raiders have to travel Friday to take on the undefeated Stone Memorial Panthers.
The Panthers have rolled through most of their schedule this season, winning by an average of 26.4 points per game.
The secret to Stone Memorial’s success isn’t just dominance on one side of the ball. Opponents are scoring just 12.3 points per game against the Panthers, while they are scoring 38.7 PPG.
Spring Hill will try to get on the scoreboard early and utilize its rushing attack with Dontae Smith (1,667 rushing yards, 17 total TDs) to try and keep Stone Memorial’s offense off the field.
It would be wise for the Raiders to do everything they can to make sure the Panthers don’t get on the field offensively. If so, it could be a long day for the Spring Hill defense that goes into the game giving up 33.2 points per contest.