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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Saints coach confident in his team

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Calhoun County Saints logo

There's an old adage that says football is not about X's and O's but Jimmy and Joes. Calhoun County head coach Wayne Farmer feels he has two of the Joes in Class A football.

Russell and Justen Brunson have helped the Saints to a Region VI-A championship, and will now try to lead Calhoun County to the Class A state championship. Their first test comes Friday night when the Saints welcome McBee.

"(Russell and Justen) are talented brothers," Farmer said. "Russell is the epitome of student-athlete and has been really important to the team. His leadership, focus and athletic ability have been a blessing. Justen just goes and makes plays, both have played since they were freshmen."

Russell has been invited to play in Touchstone Cooperative Energy Bowl Dec. 11 in Myrtle Beach. This past week Justen earned an invite to the Junior Showcase that will take place the night before.

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Farmer said he has been impressed with his seniors’ focus heading into Friday's game against the Panthers. The Saints were given a first-round bye in the Class A playoffs when original opponent Military Magnet decided to end its season. Calhoun County has had two weeks to prepare for Friday.

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"The biggest thing we worked on in the bye week is fundamentals," Farmer said. "Just working on all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. The basketballs have started bouncing, but our team’s is focused on the game. I'm very impressed with the way they have studied and I'm pleased with where we are mentally."

McBee opened the Class A playoffs last week with a 62-14 win over Ware Shoals. The Panthers were led by the running back trio of James Goodie, Evan Sullivan and Evan Talbert who each scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Trevor Trull also added two rushing touchdowns.

"They are a heavy run team," Farmer said of McBee. "They line up in the wishbone (formation) and want to run the football. Our goal is to stop their run and not turn the ball over. They block really well and run hard."

Farmer said the Saints have focused on stopping the option, which means making sure his defense is playing assignment football.

"We're getting on the field late (Tuesday) because we've been talking about assignments, where to line up and tendencies McBee uses on different downs and distances," Farmer said. "We've been working on assignment football since last week. I've been stressing to our defensive backs to not get caught looking in the backfield and read their keys. We've made some personnel changes on defense to stop the run back after the (Denmark-Olar) loss. It was probably the best thing for us. It helped us make our weaknesses our strengths."

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Calhoun County will play host to McBee Friday in the second round of the Class A playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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