In the past two seasons, not many teams have been able to slow down Spartanburg’s high-powered offense.
Lexington gets its chance on Friday when the teams meet in the Class 4A, Division II semifinals at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium.
“They are a very athletic football team. They are explosive on offense at every skill position. They can score from everywhere,” Lexington coach Josh Stepp said.
Lexington’s defense is playing the best it has all season, giving up 14 points or less the past three games. Other than Westside, the Wildcats haven’t faced an offense as explosive as Spartanburg’s this season.
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Only Greenwood held the Vikings without a touchdown in the last 28 games, winning 17-2 last season. Spartanburg’s averaging 44.7 points a game and has scored 30 or more points in 25 of its past 28 games.
Spartanburg quarterback Austin Scott has thrown for 4,683 yards and 60 touchdowns and was named the Gatorade South Carolina High School Football Player of Year Thursday. Scott’s top two weapons are running back Tavien Feaster and receiver Tavaris Scott.
Feaster, a Clemson commitment, is the No. 1 prospect in the state and a Mr. Football finalist. The senior has racked up 1,971 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns this season. He missed the Vikings’ playoff opener with an injury, but had 184 yards of offense and two touchdowns last week against T.L. Hanna.
Scott has 97 catches for 1,543 yards and 23 touchdowns this season.
“It is tough because they can beat you in so many ways. Biggest thing for us is getting lined up and getting where we are supposed to be and play hard,” Stepp said. “We got to limit their big plays. If we can limit the big plays and get off the field on third down, it will be huge for us defensively.”
Defensively, Spartanburg doesn’t have gaudy numbers but has its share of difference makers, led by North-South selection Louis Rogers. The senior had three of his 17 sacks on the final possession last week to preserve a 38-35 win over T.L. Hanna.
Lexington’s offense has been one of the best in the Midlands and is averaging 34 points and 400 yards a game. The Wildcats have won a school-record 12 games in a row and are looking for their first trip to the championship game since 2000.
“They really present a bunch of challenges but we tell our kids all the times let’s worry about us and make sure we got the right game plan on where to go,” Stepp said. “We are proud of what we accomplished this year. We are one of four teams in our division still practicing.
“But our kids and coaching staff have taken on the mantra on not being satisfied on being where we are at. Our kids are proud of what we accomplished but we are hungry for more. They want to be practicing at this time next week.”
4A, Division II semifinals
Who: Lexington (12-1) at Spartanburg (12-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium
Lexington (12-1) at Spartanburg (12-1)
Radio/internet: 105.7 FM in Spartanburg (Online at spartanburgsource.com) Lexington broadcast will be streamed at lexingtonwildcats.com
Lexington Players To Watch: QB Brandon Blake (159-277-11 2,131 yds 18 TDs); RB Slade Carroll (298 car. 1,852 yards, 22 TDs), WR Jayson Hopper (65 rec 741 yds, 10 TDs), WR Tyler Schadewald (43 rec. 846 yds, 8 TDs); DB Nick Graves (32 tackles, 9 pass break ups, 2 INTs), WR/DB Daquan Wells (6 INTs, 27 rec., 302 yds), LB Trey Mitchell (123 tackles), Eric Ricker (4 INTs), P/K Christian Kinsley (9-13 FGs, 40 yd-avg per punt)
Spartanburg Players To Watch: QB Austin Scott (299-439 4,683 yds 60 TDs) RB Tavien Feaster (1,011 yds rush 10 TDs, 53 rec. 833 yds 10 TDs), WR Tavaris Scott (97 rec. 1543 yds 23 TDs), Mike Murphy (4 INTs), Louis Rogers (17 sacks, 21 tackles for loss)
Notes: Winner faces the Northwestern-Nation Ford winner next in the 4A, Division II title game. … Spartanburg won the last meeting between the two teams, 41-18, in 2005. ... Spartanburg is the defending state champion and is in pursuit of school’s eighth state title. … Lexington is looking for first 13-win season in school history. … Lexington has outscored opponents 103-48 in the fourth quarter. … Spartanburg is ranked No. 25 in latest national high school football poll. … Vikings have outscored opponents 141-27 in third quarter. … Spartanburg defense has 61 sacks this season. … Lexington has converted 62.5 percent of his fourth-down attempts. … Lexington’s Carroll needs 148 yards for 2,000 rushing yards this season.