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Robert E. Lee High School

Cavaliers ready for another deep playoff run

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Bishopville—Coming into the 2017 season, the Robert E. Lee Academy football team had to rebuild some of its roster. They went through a few struggles early, splitting their first four games, but have rebounded with seven consecutive victories to end the regular season at 9-2.

The offense has been clicking during that stretch, averaging nearly 46 points per game. One of the biggest reasons for the surge has been the improved play of the offensive line.

“We’re playing well on the offensive side of the ball. We can run it and throw it, so that helps, and we’ve gotten better up front as the season has gone on. We had to replace some offensive linemen. Billy Jackson, Shelton Baird and Christian Dubose have all stepped up,” head coach David Rankin said.

The Cavaliers, ranked No. 4 in the latest HSSR poll, finished second in SCISA Region 2-AA with a 5-1 record. That earned them a home game in the first round of the playoffs, as Hilton Head Christian (5-4) comes to town Nov. 3.

“Anytime you have to make a three-hour ride, it’s tough. We made that trip to Oakbrook Prep and didn’t play real well,” Rankin said. “They’ve got a quarterback that can run and some receivers who can catch it. They’re doing some things offensively that could give us fits. We struggled a little bit last week against the pass against Thomas Sumter. Our defensive backs are going to have to play well and we have to contain the quarterback.”

The Cavaliers saw a pass-heavy attack from TSA in the final week of the regular season, but didn’t defend very well. They outscored the Generals, 69-44, but can use that film as a valuable resource to correct their mistakes this week.

“We got some practice but we gave up 44 points. We didn’t blitz a whole lot last week, but we’re going to get after Hilton Head Christian a little more. We need to put more pressure on them than we did against Thomas Sumter,” Rankin said.

Bryce Barrett, Nick Laney, Jet Smith and Patterson Saverance will have to perform well in the secondary while defensive ends Gavin Melton and Nicholas Adelman try to get some pass rush off the edge. Inside linebacker Hunter McGee, the team’s leading tackler, will also play a big role.

If the Cavaliers advance, an undefeated First Baptist team would most likely be waiting in the semifinals. The Hurricanes defeated Lee Academy, 28-21, in the state title game last season.


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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