ROCK HILL — Ask South Pointe assistant football coach Justin Hardin which unit on the team has improved the most and he doesnt have to dig for an answer.
Its in the trenches, an offensive line that is taking shape and he said is improving each day.
And it wasnt easy for Hardin, the teams offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, to get to where he wanted to be. It can be termed a field test, one that until the latter part of this season hadnt been completed.
We were running people in and out early in the year, looking for the right combination, Hardin said. We finally found it and Ive been proud of the way those guys have played. Its a great group, the one were looking for.
It comes at a good time. The Stallions host Greenwood at 7:30 on Friday, with the winner advancing to the Class AAAA Division II state championship game. And like York, the team South Pointe beat 31-28 last Friday, Greenwood has a very good defense.
South Pointes front five have allowed the Stallions to roll up 4,975 yards, 2,853 rushing and 2,122 passing.
Our linemen believe in our run-first scheme and know thats what we are going to do, Hardin said. They have a good attitude about it, and they have given us good protection when the running game opens up our passing game.
And we are strong believers in our linemen getting down the field after their initial blocks and look for secondary blocks that might free up our running backs. Its something we talk about a lot.
The leader of the pack is Dakota Mozingo, a returning starter at center. He is the rock for the other four linemen, keeping them calm after a bad play or a missed block.
Mozingos dad, Lee, and his uncle, Chuck, were outstanding linemen on championship teams at Lewisville High School. Mozingo is interested in playing at Newberry, where his father played.
He is flanked on the by right by guard Armon Lindsay and tackle Colton Hunter. To his left are guard Alex Simms and tackle Spencer Strong.
The best known is Simms, who was chosen to play for South Carolina in this years Shrine Bowl Game of the Carolinas in December.
Simms, 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, is ranked 83 nationally and No. 2 in South Carolina by MaxPreps.com.
He has a firm offer from Youngstown State, but his choice is Brigham Young because of his Mormon faith.
Simms was born in Charlotte but his family moved to Rock Hill before he started school. His dad, Aaron, was a quarterback at Charlottes Garringer High School.
The good thing about our offensive line is we have become a tight-knit group, Simms said. And we stay on our game because Dakota is a great motivator and keeps us up.
I feel fortunate to play here. I have great teammates, coaches and booster club that raises money for us. They are dedicated to our football team, just like all of our coaches and fans.
That offer from Brigham Young could be on the way. Simms said he recently applied and expects to hear back the week after the state championship games, whether or not the Stallions are there.
Im waiting to hear back from them because I really want to go there, Simms said. They said they will get back with me to let me know if they will offer a scholarship.
Whats really good about BYU is that they hold your scholarship when you go on your mission. Its a great place to be.
Come Friday night, college will be tucked away in the back of Simms mind. Hes got a hungry team of Eagles coming to town that need to be blocked. If he and his teammates continue the way they have been playing South Pointe will be returning to the state championship game.
The Stallions won the Class AAA title last year before being moved back up the Class AAAA this season.
Barry Byers 329-4099