GREENWOOD, SC – As is the case for most teams at this time of year, injuries have been an issue lately for the Greenwood Eagles, who finished the regular season at 11-0, winning their third consecutive Region I-4A title. The Eagles earned a three seed in the Division II, 4A State Playoffs and will play host to 14th seed Fort Mill Friday night at J.W. Babb Stadium.
After losing wing back Lorenzo Mathis to an ankle injury for the majority of the regular season, Mathis returned to form in the Eagles week 11, 24-7 win over Laurens, racking up 131 yards on just seven carries. The North-South All-Star game selection is listed as questionable for the playoff opener after tweaking the ankle injury last week.
Junior wing back Octavious Morgan, who handled most of the ball carrying load in Mathis’ absence, accumulated 932 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground in his first full season of varsity action. Morgan missed week 11 with a shoulder injury and is also listed as questionable. Backup quarterback Thomas Turner and offensive linemen Jack Ward and Datavion Lamon are all listed as questionable. Starting quarterback Evin Sims and starting fullback David Shavoy Davis are both probable, according to Greenwood Head Coach Gene Cathcart.
“We have to get healthy,” Greenwood Head Coach Gene Cathcart said. “Injuries are an issue for any team at this point of the season, but our athletic trainer, Coach Bishop, has been doing everything he can to get our guys ready to play.”
Greenwood’s defense, which is giving up just over 10 points per game, will face a Yellow Jackets offensive attack that is very balanced Friday night.
“They are very multiple offensively, but very good,” Cathcart said. “They do a lot of the same stuff Clemson does, averaging over 30 points a game doing it. They have a mobile quarterback who’s very athletic. It will be a challenge for us defensively.”
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets’ results can be deceiving, as Cathcart explained.
“Their statistics on defense can be misleading,” Cathcart said. “They have lost to some good teams in Northwestern, South Pointe and York. They show multiple looks defensively and are still very capable on that side of the ball.”
As the Eagles hope to make their third consecutive Division II, 4A State Championship Game appearance, minimizing mistakes will be essential. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at J.W. Babb Stadium.
“I think the first key for us will be to try and get healthy,” Cathcart said. “We also have to win the turnover battle. Many times in the playoffs, the game is lost, not won. It’s the team that makes more mistakes that usually loses. So for us, it will be important to minimize the mistakes on Friday night.”