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Florence Area High School

 

Knights, Bruins earn AAAAA playoff spots

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Florence – It has been a few years since both of the football programs at West Florence and South Florence High Schools have been a part of the state playoffs in the same season.

That is the case in 2018 as both schools earned their way into the Lower State bracket of the Class AAAAA playoffs, which begin on November 9.

West Florence, under their first-year head coach Jody Jenerette, enters the postseason as one of the top teams in the Lower State. The Knights won the region 6-AAAAA championship and finished the regular season with a 9-1 record. They clinched the title outright with a 26-13 win over Conway on November 2.

Led by senior running back Ailym Ford, who led the state in rushing with more than 2,000 yards, the Knights were able to ground and pound opponents all season. Ford was a selection to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl all-star team and is a finalist for the state’s prestigious Mr. Football award.

Quarterback Cooper Wallace also topped 1,000 rushing yards this season, to go with nearly 800 passing yards.

Placekicker Michael Hayes had a strong year and also was selected to the Shrine Bowl team.

West Florence’s first-round playoff opponent is Ashley Ridge, the fourth-place team from region 8-AAAAA. The Knights upset Ashley Ridge in the first-round last season.

South Florence had to work a little harder to get into the playoffs, getting a win over St. James on November 2 to secure fourth-place in region six. The Bruins finished the regular season with a 5-5 record. They will open the playoffs at Dutch Fork, the defending Class AAAAA state champion and the top-ranked team in Class AAAAA this season.

South Florence had one player selected to postseason all-star games as defensive end Micheal Mason was selected to play in the North-South all-star game. Mason has 14 sacks and 20 tackles for loss this season.

Other key defenders include Jahlin Parrott, Matt Howard and Judah Gray.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Shalique Parks has passed for more than 1,100 yards while rushing for more than 400 yards. Sophomore Hashaun Wilson and senior Tony McFadden have each rushed for more than 500 yards. Tyler Quillens is the team’s top pass catcher.

Cross Country update

South Florence seniors Michael Griffin and Ethan Kasitz competed in the Class AAAAA state cross country meet on November 3rd. Griffin finished seventh overall, earning all-state honors with his performance. Kasitz placed 45th.

West Florence’s Patrick Morgan also qualified for the state finals and placed 132nd in his run.

 

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