Blackville-Hilda assistant boys soccer coach Farrell Zissette isn't overly optimistic when he talks about his team's chances against Christ Church in the South Carolina Class A state championship game.
But Zissette becomes confident when the subject is changed to Blackville-Hilda's future.
That, he said, is a reason to stay positive.
"This is a team we've been waiting for for years," said Zissette, whose team will face the three-time defending state champion in Columbia's Memorial Stadium at 11:30 a.m. today. "And seven of our 11 starters are either freshmen or sophomores. They all started playing together in rec ball, and they've played together since they were in the second or third grade. It's something we've waited for."
The payoff could come today for the Hawks , who have never been past the second round of the state playoffs. Their opponent for the South Carolina crown is a very good Christ Church (14-7) team.
Led by Dentroyet Felder, Demenico Banks and Lucas Cooper on offense and Brence Pernell, Philip Sparks and Tharry Salley on defense, Blackville-Hilda and its first-year coach Patrick Sensiba has pieced together a 12-9-1 record.
"Those three on defense have been the difference," Zissette said. "And our freshman goalkeeper Derrick McAlister, has seven shutouts. We thought in the Lower State, we had as good a chance as anybody to win. We've had some luck, but we sort of expected to be here."
The team's only improved in the playoffs. After beating Williston-Elko 1-0 in the Region 4-A finals, the Hawks put up identical scores against Governor's School and Buford to earn the right to play today.
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org