Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Scott High School in West Madison.
Scott (7-3) is the No. 5 seed; Sissonville (6-4) is the No. 12 seed. The Skyhawks defeated the Indians 42-7 last year during first-round action at Scott.
That win was the second playoff victory in school history, and the game itself now represents the launching pad for Scott standout Jordan Roberts’ successes in the “Scott Gun” offense.
With quarterback Drew Runyan forced to miss the game because of a concussion, Roberts moved into the shotgun formation at quarterback.
He ran and threw the Skyhawks to victory and, more importantly, he set the stage for his record-setting 2007 season, in which the Kennedy Award candidate ran for 2,895 yards on 241 carries and scored 34 touchdowns.
In last week’s 35-25 loss to Bluefield at Charleston’s Laidley Field, Roberts had 268 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“That may be the ultimate silver lining scenario, losing your starting quarterback to injury and opening the door for an entire offensive scheme that has centered around Jordan Roberts in the shotgun,” Scott coach Shane Griffith said. “Since that Sissonville playoff game a year ago, we have expanded that offensive package and our players have grown into the roles within that package and we have grown as an offensive unit.”
Griffith pointed to a trio of Skyhawks who have been key contributors this season.
Junior Ryan Price, who now is a two-way lineman, consistently has made big plays on both sides of the ball. Price, who moved from fullback to right guard early in the season, is an athletic big man.
“First of all, Ryan Price has a terrific, team-first attitude,” Griffith said. “He unselfishly moved from fullback to guard to help our team. He covers unusually wide distances on our pulls and traps. Defensively, he gets off of the ball very quick and uses his size to fill gaps and tie up blockers.”
Senior guard Greg Parkins also earned Griffith’s praise for his solid, dependable play on the offensive front. Parkins, who is especially effective on trap blocks, has been an unheralded key to the Skyhawks’ offense and Roberts’ success.
Like Price, Runyan has been a pivotal player on both sides of the ball. His high-energy, aggressive play at middle linebacker has helped spark Scott’s defensive improvement during the season. Offensively, the junior mans a tight end spot.
“Back in August, Drew Runyan was a returning starter at quarterback and free safety,” Griffith said. “Now, he plays tight end and middle linebacker. He has good instincts, he studies game film and he prepares well, and all of those positives allow him to anticipate and to play aggressively.”
Griffith said he expects Price, Parkins, Runyan and the rest of his team to have their hands full with a Sissonville squad that is powered by a bevy of strong, veteran linemen.
Tackles Eric Myers and Craig Smith and center Ronnie Walls, all of who are seniors and returning starters from last season’s playoff team, provide coach Todd Chevalier with a strong push up front.
While the Indians’ offensive line presents a physical challenge for the Skyhawks’ defense, Griffith points to a mental challenge as an overall key to Scott’s playoff success.
“Looking at the four-team bracket (Scott-Sissonville and Logan Berkeley Springs) that we drew, we have a good opportunity to achieve a great deal in these playoffs,” Griffith said. “With the exception of some bumps, bruises and nagging-type injuries, we are a healthy football team. We have more playoff experience than any of the other teams in that bracket.
“Our players must remain focused in order to take advantage of that opportunity. Sissonville has a veteran team that has faced good competition in the Cardinal Conference and this is their second straight year in the playoffs. With that experience, I expect them to be a very determined team.”
The Scott-Sissonville winner will advance to meet the Logan-Berkeley Springs winner in a second-round matchup.