High School Football

Tonight's playoff preview capsules for Battery Creek and Whale Branch

info@islandpacket.comNovember 9, 2012 

Class 2-A Division I playoffs

Battery Creek (6-5) at Loris (7-3), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

The skinny: Battery Creek is trying to win two playoff games for the first time. Loris earned a bye and was off last week. The Lions defense is allowing 8.3 points per game. Loris won four of its final five games to close the regular season.

Players to watch: Dolphins QB/WR/K Zach Mahan came up with a big catch during the first-round victory over Waccamaw and continues to be consistent on extra points. He relieved sophomore QB Raekwon Smalls for a series. Battery Creek RB Yuneek Crittendon wore a brace on his bruised knee during practice this week but is expected to be ready to go. Loris RB Levi Moody has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lions LB Quavon Bellamy leads the team with 96 tackles.

Keys to the game: Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman feels his team is bigger on the lines. The Dolphins' offensive line will have to work that advantage to move the football. Its defense will have to account for the Lions' speed.

Class 1-A Division I playoffs

Whale Branch (7-3) at Estill (7-3), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Whale Branch 32, Estill 20 (Sept. 21)

The skinny: Estill defeated Baptist Hill 20-13 to advance to the second round. Eight victories would be the most in Whale Branch's brief history. The Warriors playoff victory last week at Allendale-Fairfax was the program's first. The Gators average almost 34 points per game and 343 yards rushing, according to information provided to MaxPreps.com.

Players to watch: Three of Whale Branch QB Brandon Morton's four completions went for touchdowns during the first meeting between these teams. Whale Branch's Mark Rivers returned a kickoff for a touchdown during the first round at Allendale-Fairfax and intercepted a pass against the Gators. Gators senior RB Sharvas Brown rushed for more than 800 yards during the regular season. Five of his 11 touchdowns came during a 70-6 victory over Bethune-Bowman on Oct. 19.

Keys to the game: Estill probably won't allow Whale Branch to load the box much on defense, meaning the Warriors will have to get off their blocks and wrap up the Gators big running backs. Whale Branch has used big plays on defense and special teams during its key victories to this point. It wouldn't hurt to have one or two more tonight.

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