Hayesville Football 1st Playoff Preview

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The Hayesville Yellow Jackets have earned the #19 seed in the NCHSAA football playoffs. It is a rematch of a conference game in which the Yellow Jackets lost to Swain County earlier this year. Swain the #14 seed will host the game and is favored of course as the higher seed. The weather for the game looks to be great according to the forecast for Friday night.

Reviewing the 1st Matchup:

Hayesville lost the first matchup a home game to Swain 42-14. What’s interesting about it though, was that Jake Mctaggart was still suspended and he played but not until the second half of the game. By the time he played to start the second half, it was already 28-7 making his impact much lesser. Hayesville also had two turnovers to Swains zero in the game. As well they had significantly more penalties. I would also say Swain played one of their better efforts of the year in this matchup.

Rewatch the First Game:

https://fyntv.net/article/hayesville-v-s-swain/

Review Article after 1st Swain Game:

https://claync.fetchyournews.com/2021/10/18/hayesville-comes-up-short-v-s-swain/

Previewing the Playoff Matchup:

Hayesville will have Jake Mctaggart for a full game this time around. I would also expect Logan Caldwell to play better. He went through a rough stretch of play during the early conference season. Yet Caldwell and really the whole Hayesville team appear that they may be peaking at the right time of the year.

Keys to the Game Offensively:

  1. Throw early and often: Swain’s run-stopping ability is the strength of their defense. While their pass defense can be suspect at times and we have seen several teams hurt them through the air this year.
  2. Limit turnovers: Hayesvilles QB Logan Caldwell can be overly aggressive at times and sometimes it pays off. Yet in this game, he needs to be hesitant to take too many risks early.
  3. NO PENALTIES: How many times this year have we seen a holding call, a false start, or some other infraction kill a drive. Hayesville’s offense has shown it can move the ball on anyone but penalties are drive killers.

Keys to the Game Defensively:

  1. Don’t give up the big play: Swains Offense has not been great at moving the ball on long drives this year. Yet they have been great at getting big plays, whether it’s a long throw or long QB scramble. If Hayesville can force them to have long drives playing bend but don’t break defense it improves their chances.
  2. Force the pitch: Swain runs their veer offense and whether they go triple, speed, or power option they struggle to make the pitch. Their quarterback Gabe Lilliard has fumbled the pitch part of their option numerous times this year. Stealing a possession would be huge for the Yellow Jackets. 
  3. Get off the field on 3rd/4th down. Hayesville has struggled even when forcing teams into third and fourth and long this year to get off the field. Hayesville’s biggest win of the year was the Cherokee game. In that game on several occasions, they were able to successfully get a third or fourth-down stop. 

Interviews with Head Coach Chad McClure, as well as Jake Mctaggart and Logan Caldwell:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMJrYZhrNtE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScF-sdq9JGg

Prediction:

I think that Hayesville is playing their best football of the year while Swain hasn’t won a game since our last matchup with them. All things are looking ripe for an upset but don’t get yourself wrong for it to happen the Yellow Jackets are going to have to play their best game of the year. I think they are capable of doing that though, my prediction is Hayesville 31 Swain 28.

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