Having passed its first postseason test, Southside Christian is fully aware of the increase in degree of difficulty.
The Sabres (10-1) will host Williston-Elko (8-3) in a Class A Division I second-round playoff game Friday because they have the higher seed, but the Blue Devils have the better pedigree.
Southside Christian, the top seed in the Upper State, is coming off its first playoff victory ever, a 63-14 win over Wagener-Salley and, thus, is in the second round for the first time.
Fifth-seeded Williston-Elko regularly goes deep into the playoffs. The Blue Devils went to three straight state finals from 2008-2010, and they beat Southside Christian 54-40 in the first round last year.
“We’re in kind of uncharted territory for us, which is exciting and nerve-wracking as a coach altogether,” Sabres coach Jason Kaiser said. “I think we’re going to be in the game. I feel like we can compete with them.”
His big concern is Williston-Elko’s rushing attack, which features 6-foot-2, 180-pound Shakur Chisolm, a senior transfer from Allendale-Fairfax.
“Our offense is geared to getting in spaces. Their offense is geared to running you over,” Kaiser said. “You’ve got to be able to tackle this kid. He’s a load, and if you’re not putting full effort into the tackle, he’s just going to run you over. You’ve got to wrap him up.”
Chisolm has rushed for 1,878 yards and 25 touchdowns, but the Blue Devils have other backs to worry about, including sophomore Fabian Bing, who rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown in last year’s win over Southside Christian.
SCS quarterback Clayton Coulter passed for 290 yards and six touchdowns in last year’s playoff game, and he’s thrown for 2,056 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.
Southside Christian senior running back Quintyn Reeder has rushed for 1,430 yards and is averaging 10.4 per carry.
“I think we’ll be able to move the ball,” Kaiser said. “I’m concerned about stopping them. It could be a track meet.”
Coulter passed for 236 yards and Reeder rushed for 136 in last week’s win over Wagener-Salley. Chisolm rushed for 197 yards and four scores for W-E in last week’s win over Fox Creek.
Still, it would be a track meet in the third week of November.
“We’re excited to be able to be practicing right now,” Kaiser said. “There’s not a whole lot of teams that still are. We didn’t graduate too many kids last year. They knew coming back they had the confidence, and adding a Quintyn Reeder to the mix really got us to that point.
“I think we’re ready every week offensively. Defensively, teams have scored 200 less points (against us) for the year. It’s pretty good stuff so far.”