on October 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Pickens at Seneca: Who has the edge?

Quarterback

Pickens, unlike Seneca, has the advantage of having a veteran quarterback under center. James Lawson, a three-year starter, is a huge reason why defenses have trouble keying on Pickens’ running game. The senior has nine touchdown passes on the season and has thrown for nearly 800 yards. Seneca, on the other hand, will go with Darius Earle at quarterback. Earle was injured in the opening game of the season, but returned last week to go 6 of 13 for 55 yards. He is capable of picking up first downs with his feet as well, and he helps to give Seneca some stability in the passing game.

Advantage: Pickens

Running backs

Seneca’s main back, Chris Robinson, has been productive but has yet to have any big game similar to the ones that he produced as a freshman last year. With Earle back, the running game improves, as he rushed for 52 yards last week, but the Bobcats will need more production from Robinson to move the ball consistently. Demarkus Taylor also had 16 carries last week. For Pickens, running back Jordan Freeman has just under 800 yards rushing while also picking up seven touchdowns. He will see nearly every carry and is the focal point for Pickens to succeed with its balanced attack.

Advantage: Pickens

Wide receivers

Divvirro Thomas has Seneca’s lone receiving touchdown this season, and it was only a 10-yard completion. He has been one of the few receivers to get any touches this season, with the other wideout being Adrian Mayes. Harry Jenkins has also been involved, albeit not a ton, in the receiving game for the Bobcats. Michael Johnson leads the Blue Flame in receptions, yards and touchdowns on the season. He has put four in the end zone and has 16 catches for 340 yards. Joel Rice and Trent Alexander have also been targeted a number of times and have come through with seven catches apiece for just under 200 yards each.

Advantage: Pickens

Offensive line

Pickens has had the benefit of having five returning starters to anchor its stout offensive line, led by Anthony Waugh. That group is a huge reason why the Blue Flame has already racked up over 1100 yards rushing this season and 850 yards passing, while steadily moving the ball for 85 first downs in just five games. Cayle Moore at guard and Casey Baldwin at center are the top offensive linemen for the Bobcats, but that unit has been unable to find any consistency when attempting to create running room. Seneca has yet to have a 100-yard rusher this season.

Advantage: Pickens

Run defense

When both teams have struggled, a huge reason has been their lack of run defense. Seneca has allowed close to 300 yards rushing in both of its last two games and has been blown out in both of them. Pickens has lost its last two games as well, allowing 246 and 306 yards respectively. While Seneca has clearly struggled all season stopping the run, which has been one of the biggest reasons for the 0-5 start, Pickens held its opponent under 100 yards rushing twice, against Walhalla and Easley. Although neither team has been great in this regard, Pickens has proven that it can stop the run on occasion.

Advantage: Pickens

Pass defense

Good passing teams have had success against Seneca, with the prime example coming in week two against Stephens County, Ga. In that game, the Bobcats were burned for touchdown passes of 46 and 44 yards. For the most part though, Seneca has held the pass in check. Kenny Watt and Austin Hunter patrol in the back, and will be needed against a Pickens team that is not afraid to throw. Pickens has intercepted six passes on the season and been relatively strong against the pass. The one exception was allowing 270 yards through the air to Easley, but Easley did throw the ball 38 times and Pickens did win the game.

Advantage: Pickens

Special teams

Cameron Blassingame is a threat to swing the field position for Seneca, and he returned a kick last week 47 yards. Kicker Seth Rothell is a veteran and gives Seneca the option of kicking field goals even if they have not penetrated deeply into the opposition’s territory. The Bobcats will also use T.J. Boyd to return kicks, and Taylor could potentially see a look or two as a return man as well. Pickens kicker Justin Gravely is a big factor both on field goals and on kickoffs. While many teams kick it short, Gravely is not afraid to kick the ball deep and try to pin teams back in their own territory.

Advantage: Seneca

— Kevin Pomeroy