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Florence Area High School

West Florence girls tennis, volleyball aim for region titles

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Florence – As the regular season for fall sports winds down over the next few weeks, two teams at West Florence High are in contention for region 6-AAAAA championships.

With just a handful of games left in the regular season, both teams sit atop the region standings and look to earn a number one seed in the upcoming AAAAA lower state playoffs.

The girls’ tennis team enters play on October 5th with a 13-1 record overall and can clinch the region title with a strong finish. The singles lineup is balanced and deep with players at all levels earning big wins throughout the season.

Reagan Dunnam has spent this fall as the number one singles performer, followed by Kate Sansbury as a strong number two. Brittany Yarnal plays number three singles while Emily King plays in the four spot. Ally Yarnal rounds out the singles ladder at number five.

When needed at number two doubles, Katie Smaldone and Grace Bailey do the honors in most matches.

The West Florence volleyball team enters the final two weeks in a tight region race with Carolina Forest. The Knights entered the first week of October at 9-1 overall and 6-1 in region play. They split the season series with Carolina Forest.

Seniors Sierra West (middle), Hagan Rollins (middle) and Claire McKay (outside hitter) are key leaders on this year’s team. Junior setter Avery Webb sets the plays in motion on the court and junior MaKenzie Tyner is a defensive specialist.

Outside hitter Julianna Barfield is a senior co-captain, along with Rollins. Jainanna Davis, a defensive specialist, and outside Annabelle Tedder also are seniors on this year’s team.

Juniors on the roster include middle Camryn Williams and outside Kyra McKnight. Rounding out the varsity squad are sophomores Faith Marie Giordano (outside), Emma Tedder (outside) and Copeland Eaddy (RS/S).

In football, the squads at West Florence and South Florence need a strong finish in order to secure a spot in the AAAAA playoffs. Both teams enter play on October 6th with a 1-5 record overall and 0-1 in region play. Only teams that place in the top four of the region qualify for the playoffs. Region 6-AAAAA includes Sumter, Carolina Forest, Socastee and Conway as well.

West Florence, who plays Sumter on October 6th, has had a bit of tough luck in close games this season. The Knights lost by six to Lexington in the season opener, lost by two to Myrtle Beach and lost by three to Wilson.

Junior running back Ailym Ford has been a workhorse for the offense this season. Through six games, Ford has rushed for 941 yards on 121 carries (7.8 average) and has eight touchdowns.

Junior Cooper Wallace and sophomore Hale Emerson have seen time at quarterback. Wallace has passed for 384 yards and added 194 yards rushing. Senior Vick Johnson is the top pass-catcher with 16 receptions for 229 yards.

On defense, senior linebacker Stephon Alexander is the most productive player. Alexander leads the Knights with 63 total tackles, including three games with 10 or more tackles. He posted a season-high 12 tackles against Camden.

Junior Jordan Swinton has 45 tackles and junior Dakyas Belser has 40 total hits. Damon Muldrow and Braxton Taylor each have two sacks and junior Sharrod Simmons has two interceptions.

South Florence also has been on the short end of a couple of close games. The Bruins lost by a point to Hartsville in the season opener and lost competitive games against Wilson and Sumter. The lone win was a one-point decision over Darlington.

Coach David Prince has had two players working under center. Junior Hunter Benton opened the season as the starter and has passed for 371 yards. Eighth-grader Shalique Parks has been inserted into action and has 380 yards passing.

Senior Aquanzie Bethea (285 yards) and junior Tony McFadden (190 yards, 4 TD) have led the way on the ground. Senior Rivers Benton leads the team with 17 receptions, while senior Dedric Huggins has 13 catches and junior Tyler Quillens has 11.

Junior Michael Mason is among the team leaders defensively, leading the team with 67 tackles. Mason also has 16 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Senior linebacker Eddric Whack has 49 tackles and senior Jeremiah Taylor has 44 total hits. Senior Nic Mitchell has tallied 38 tackles and junior Jahlin Parrott has five tackles for loss.

South Florence plays Carolina Forest on October 6th, Conway on October 13th, Socastee on October 20th and West Florence on October 27th in the regular season finale.

 

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