The Highlanders have a plus-8 turnover margin through eight games, and, along with the Nicks brothers, are led on defense by senior defensive tackle Nigale Cabell (5-11, 235), who has recovered a team-high four fumbles.
"We have to protect the football, especially if we're in the red zone," Mays said. "They hunker down. They're athletic enough to play man coverage, and they're disciplined and talented enough to make good open-field tackles."
On one hand, South Charleston possesses an ability to score from anywhere on the field, which could keep Huntington from taking advantage of its stout red-zone defense.
On the other hand, big gains often are the combination of defensive mistakes and offensive athleticism capable of exploiting those errors.
"Since I've been at South Charleston, big plays have been a big part of what we do offensively," Mays said. "You just have to sustain drives against a team like Huntington. As well as they open-field tackle, I don't think they're suspect to give up a lot of big plays."
Huntington's offense is not as flashy, but Mays said there is plenty of reason for concern.
"They run a Navy-style offense with a lot of triple-option, and that forces the defense to be disciplined," Mays said.
"If you're not going to tackle (5-11, 170-pound fullback Paden Christian, the Highlanders' second-leading rusher with 690 yards) they don't ever have to run outside.
"You have to be able to tackle the hard runs inside, and have to be able to make tremendous plays to stop guys like Charles Crawford and Nick Tubbs when they get to the outside."
Tubbs has emerged as Huntington's big-play back in the second half of the season after Crawford played that role in the first half.
Tubbs (6-1, 170) has 682 rushing yards, and Crawford (5-11, 180) has 632.
"I don't care what you do on offense, you've got to be able to run the ball successfully," Seals said. "South Charleston, Capital, Wheeling Park, they all have a great running attack that allows them to pass the ball."
Huntington has thrown for less than 400 yards this season.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.tay...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.