NINETY SIX, SC – After a 42-20 first round playoff win against Liberty, the Ninety Six Wildcats travel to face the Blacksburg Wildcats in the second round of the State 1A Playoffs.
According to Ninety Six Head Coach Chris Liner, Blacksburg will present a variety of looks for the visiting Wildcats defense.
“They are sort of like Liberty, in the sense that we saw them in a preseason Jamboree in Columbia,” Liner said. “They are a lot different offensively now than they were then. They show multiple looks; they will spread it out and throw it, they will line up in the I-form and run it. They are athletic in the skill positions and do a lot of things to try and get those guys the ball.”
Defensively, the Blacksburg mentality is simple: blitz as much as possible.
“Defensively, they man you up and bring the house every play, literally almost every play,” Liner said with a laugh. “They man you up and put seven or eight men in the box, depending on how you line up offensively.”
The key for Ninety Six heading into Friday night’s contest will be handling the pressures that accompany the stress of playing on the road. Liner is hoping that their rigorous regular season schedule will benefit them as they hope to advance to the third round of the State 1A Playoffs.
The Wildcats will be without the services of three players for their second round game after their game against Liberty turned ugly last Friday. Starting flanker and free safety Jo-Jo Chaney broke his collar bone and will require surgery after a dirty hit knocked him out of the playoff win in the 3rd quarter. Later in the 4th quarter, both Kederick Williams and Ty Sanders were both ejected for their part in a melee that took place with about six minutes left in the contest. Both are ineligible for Friday’s tilt against Blacksburg.
“We have played in some hostile environments, as far as fans go,” Liner said. “You can’t get any more hostile than Woodruff. We have played at Lincoln County, (Georgia), we went to Ware Shoals; we have played in some tough places. As a whole, I’m not too worried about that being a factor.”