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Mullins High School

Mullins gets home-field advantage in first round

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Mullins—It wouldn’t have come as a shock if the Mullins football team took a step back this season after losing several of its top players to graduation last spring. However, the Auctioneers have actually been even better in 2017, going 6-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Mullins is ranked No. 16 in the latest HSSR Class AA poll and hosts No. 17 Batesburg-Leesville in the first round of the playoffs. It is the first time since 2013 that the Auctioneers have had a home game in the postseason.

“One of the goals we set this year was to have a home playoff game. We thought we could win enough games to do that. That was our focus from day one, the time we started in the offseason,” head coach John Williams said. “This is our first home game in a while and we’re proud of that. We’ll see what we can do.”

The reason the team won’t have to travel is because of a third-place finish in Region 7-AA. Mullins was projected to finish fourth in the conference during the preseason, but upset Latta, 33-13.

“They were ready. We practiced hard and were really focused that week. When we played that Friday night, we were just ready to play,” Williams said. “They’re starting to believe. The key to winning is believing that you can. This team knows that they can do it.”

Offensively, the Auctioneers are averaging over 29 points per game. A strong ground attack with ball control has been the recipe for success. Sharod Burroughs has 800 yards rushing while Saquan Crawford and Damaurii Platt have gained 450 and 350 yards, respectively.

Opening the holes for them up front is Bryce Brown, Chris Wicker, Darius Robinson, Raquan McDonald and Samarious Harley.

“Everybody is chipping in rather than waiting on one person to get it done,” Williams said. “Our offensive line has gotten better as the season’s gone along. We had four of our five starters back and they’ve gotten more physical. That’s one thing I’ve enjoyed about our offensive line. And we’ve run the ball better each game.”

It has been a team effort on the defensive side of the ball as well for Mullins. The unit has allowed 24 points per contest, but that number is slightly skewed due to games against Top 10 opponents. Cameron Bethea, Sammy Pressley, Cameron Weeks and Burroughs have been consistent playmakers on defense and will have to continue to play well in order to advance.

“We’re playing aggressive on defense and we’ve had some players that stepped up. We’re stopping the run and getting to the football. Guys are in the right position and they’re working hard every day,” Williams said.

Friday night will also be special for Williams, who was hospitalized due to blood pressure issues. He will back on the sidelines after missing the team’s final regular season victory over rival Marion.

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