Pacelli coach Randy Grace enjoyed the time off the Vikings had last week. He said the team was able to go through some very physical practices.
“It was like spring practice,” said Grace, whose team opens the Class A-private state playoffs Friday night at Savannah Christian. “We like to pride ourselves on being a tough team, being a fundamentally-sound team, blocking and tackling.
“Last Wednesday was the most physical practice we have had. There was a lot of excitement, lot of kids flying around.”
Once the regular season ends, the private and public schools in Class A are split into two 16-team tournaments. The seeding is determined by power rankings.
The Vikings finished 10th but were bumped down one spot since region champions are moved up to the top. They head into the playoffs with a 7-3 record. having beat Taylor County 41-6 two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Savannah Christian is 9-1 and were ranked fourth, but the Raiders were bumped down two spots by region champions.
“You can tell they have a lot of experience,” Grace said. “They are well-coached and fundamentally sound.”
The Raiders won a Class A state championship in 2011. That came after they lost in the state title game each of the previous two seasons. Since winning the state title, Savannah Christian has gone 8-4 and 5-5-1.
“Probably, the biggest advantage they have is the tradition. They are a state powerhouse,” Grace said.
Savannah Christian has allowed just 89 points, an average of 8.9 per game. The Raiders have scored 320 points, 32.0 per game. The only opponent to hold them under 23 points was Calvary Day, which beat Savannah Christian 7-3.
The Raiders, who run the triple option, are led by quarterback Joshua Chamblee, who has passed for 615 yards and rushed for 371. The leading rusher is Wade Benton, who has 689 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Vikings are led by DeAndre Bowman, who has rushed for 1,065 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 325 yards and a score. KeAndre Ashley is second on the team in rushing with 870 yards and eight scores.Quarterback Tre Sudberry has rushed for 526 yards and passed for 744.
Greenville at Marion County
Marion County opens defense of its Class A-public state title with a home game against a familiar foe in Greenville.
Marion County heads into the game 10-0 and No. 1 in the rankings.
Greenville is 5-5 and were ranked 15th, but the Patriots were bumped down a spot by Mitchell County.
The two teams met on Oct. 24 with Marion County winning 41-0. Quarterback Dustin Eckert had three touchdown passes in the win.
Eckert has thrown for 1,003 yards and 16 touchdowns. Johnny Royal leads the Eagles in rushing with 912 yards.
Lorenzo Smothers has 649 yards rushing and 689 receiving.
Greenville quarterback Jamal McKee has thrown for 1,841 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Kevin Price, Follow Kevin on Twitter @lesports