ABBEVILLE – How do you improve on a 63-0 victory over a playoff opponent?
Most coaches will tell you that you celebrate for a day or two and then get back to work. That includes Abbeville Head Football Coach Jamie Nickles.
“You can’t take any of these points with you to next week,” Nickles said moments after his Panthers had played perhaps their best game of the year on both sides of the ball in eliminating Chesterfield.
Abbeville (10-2) moves on to the Upper State championship game and will travel to Chesnee to take on the 11-1 Eagles.
The matchup will be the fourth between the schools and Abbeville has won the previous three games – 44-20 in 2008, 56-8 in 2001 and 32-29 in 1991. All of the games have taken place in the playoffs and Friday night’s game will mark Chesnee’s first return appearance in the Upper State finals since that loss to the Panthers in 1991.
The only game Chesnee has lost this season was a 38-36 decision to non-region foe Woodruff in the third game of the season.
Woodruff is the only common opponent of the two schools. Abbeville took a hard-fought 35-34 decision over the Wolverines in the Panthers’ second game of the year.
Chesnee has won nine games in a row, including a pair over region rival Blacksburg, the most recent of which was a 47-28 victory in the second round of the playoffs last Friday night.
“Chesnee is a very explosive football team,” Nickles said. “There a couple of things I know about them. Lynn Fleming is their head coach, so they’ll be well-coached and prepared.”
The Abbeville mentor said he knows one other thing about the Eagles, that they have a quarterback named Proctor – Darrius Proctor – who has done it all for Chesnee this season.
Going into the playoff game against Blacksburg, Proctor had completed 161 passes for nearly 2,400 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is also a threat to run the ball, having rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and another 15 TDs.
Proctor is not the only threat for Chesnee as wide receiver Markell Hill had caught 57 passes going into the Blacksburg playoff game and had scored 13 touchdowns.
The Eagles have scored no fewer than 35 points in 10 of the 12 games they’ve played and their defense has recorded three shutouts.
Abbeville hopes to build on the momentum it established in last week’s big playoff win and knows that only four quarters stand between the Panthers and a third straight trip to the state championship game.
The Panthers won the Class A state championship in each of the last two years. A win over Chesnee would give Abbeville a shot at the Class AA state title.
Kickoff for the Abbeville-Chesnee game is set for 7:30 on Friday night.