Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week 12 preview/wk 11 recap

The weather has gotten colder. Snow was falling in parts of South Carolina on Tuesday night. It's playoff time for everyone. Smaller schools had their first round of playoffs last week. The 4A schools now are getting in the act.

Last week, Summerville clinched their region title, and Ashley Ridge along with Fort Dorchester earned playoff berths. Goose Creek beat Stratford 14-7 in front of a crowd of about 8,000; while West Ashley clinched a winning season (while Cane Bay went to 0-11) and Wando lost at Sumter.

In 3A, Hanahan beat Southside, but all other Region 8-3A teams lost (including Berkeley getting shut out by Myrtle Beach). In 2A, Bishop England and Woodland had byes in the playoffs; along with Timberland; Garrett upset Lee Central, while North Charleston lost at Barnwell. In 1A, St. John's lost to Hemingway at home; Baptist Hill lost at Carvers Bay. Cross blew out Lincoln 69-0, while Branchville beat Timmonsville and Military Magnet beat Creek Bridge.

In SCISA, Northwood Academy beat Spartanburg Christian; Porter-Gaud lost to Hammond; Hilton Head Christian won over Thomas Sumter; Palmetto Christian upset Calhoun Academy; Colleton Prep beat St. Andrews, Holly Hill lost; and Dorchester Academy beat Trinity-Byrnes. In 8-man James Island Christian lost to Clarendon Hall; Beaufort Academy lost to W.W. King; and Cathedral lost to Carolina Academy locally.

That runs down last week. This week's schedule:

I will run down all the local games for y'all here.

I-AAAA (upper): (16) Wando (4-7) at (1) Byrnes (10-1): Byrnes has been a juggernaut for the last decade or more in South Carolina high school football, having won two of the last three state championships in their 4A division. Wando is 4-7, and suffered a ton of injuries during the season, having to move a lot of players around. Wando did win two of their four region games, and played a good schedule, leading to the 16th seed. They used two QBs for most of the season, but now rely on sophomore QB Bailey Hart.

Anything can happen in the playoffs. Stranger things have happened. Undefeated Rock Hill lost in the 2009 playoffs, first game. Byrnes though looks to have an edge at most positions, with QB Shuler Bentley leading the Rebels.

(12) Fort Dorchester (7-4) at (5) Dutch Fork (8-3): Fort Dorchester is a team that has gotten better throughout the season. The Patriots finished winning three of their final four contests, including a 14-0 shutout of Ashley Ridge in the regular season finale. They finished 7-4 on the year, and junior QB Kobe Garrett has steadily improved. Against Beaufort in a 24-21 loss, he ran for 202 yards and a TD.

He is also the leading ball carrier with over 1100 yards rushing. D'Monte Bailey and Corey Rawlings are the leading WRs. Junior Myles White is the leading tackler with 70. Dutch Fork is led by QB Derek Olenchuk, who has thrown for 29 TDs this year. They gave Goose Creek a very tough fight before falling 35-21 in late September. This will be an interesting game. Can the Patriots pull off the upset, or will Dutch Fork hold serve?

I-AAAA (lower): (14) Ashley Ridge (4-7) at (3) Summerville (9-2): This game will continue a rivalry which went Summerville's way, but by just 6, 39-33 two weeks ago at McKissick Field. They will play again with everything on the line. In 2011, it was Summerville and Fort Dorchester with everything on the line, this time it is the Green Wave and Swamp Foxes. QB Sawyer Bridges has led Summerville to this 9-2 record, becoming a capable field general through the season.

Ashley Ridge is led by Chandler Avenel, a junior. Through a rainy night two weeks ago, the two QBs battled tooth and nail before Summerville eventually ran out the clock. As is the potential in any rivalry playoff game, anything can happen. Coach John McKissick will have to have his Green Wave ready to play from the start against upset-minded Ashley Ridge.

II-AAAA (upper): (16) Wade Hampton (3-8) at (1) Goose Creek (11-0): Goose Creek begins its playoffs with a game against 3-win Wade Hampton from Greenville. The Gators had a very emotional game last week against Stratford, winning 14-7 to finish the regular season undefeated. Now, they begin the playoffs against the Generals.

The Generals won just one region game, 14-6 against Riverside. They have allowed 405 points on the season. As I said about Byrnes, anything can happen in these games, but Goose Creek looks like the better team. This site has more about their roster and some highlights from previous games:

(12) Nation Ford (7-4) at (5) Stratford (9-2): Nation Ford makes the long trip from the Charlotte area down to the Lowcountry to face Stratford, who has dropped their last two contests after starting the year 9-0. Nation Ford is 4-1 on the road this year, but have lost three games to South Pointe, York and Northwestern by at least 42 points. Last week they beat Fort Mill.

Jacob Park will be hoping to improve his performance during the playoffs, as Stratford is trying to better their performance from the last two years, when they've fallen in the second round. Nation Ford has a shot in this one if they stop Stratford's offense.

II-AAAA (lower) (11) Blythewood (7-4) at (6) Beaufort (8-3): Blythewood heads down to the Lowcountry to face off against an improving Beaufort team. After missing the playoffs last year, Coach Mark Clifford had a much improved squad this year. Beaufort won eight ball games, with the three losses Goose Creek, at Summerville and a surprise on a Thursday night at Ashley Ridge.

They will face off against a 7-4 Blythewood team led by a sophomore QB, David Israel. Since being the starter, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns. He is mostly a drop back passer. Hassan Belton is their leading tackler with 80 on the year. The Bengals won three of their last four games heading into the second season. Can Beaufort hold serve at home?

3A: Marlboro County (9-2) at Hanahan (11-0): Hanahan held serve last week as they dominated Southside, which was expected. This week though is a tougher challenge. Marlboro County comes into town, having beaten Swansea on the road last week. They finished 8-2 in the regular season but an early loss in region play to Hartsville forced them to travel in the playoffs.

Hanahan has allowed just 94 points on the season, but Marlboro County will be one of the tougher challenges they've faced in a while. They have a very good offense led by QB London Johnson. The Bulldogs could be a tough out for this Hanahan team, holding the Region 8-3A hopes singularly now.

2A: Andrews (7-4) at Bishop England (8-2): Bishop England has steadily improved throughout the season, having won eight straight since they started only scoring six points in their first two games. BE had a first round bye last week, and now face an Andrews side who beat Calhoun County last week.

Kingstree (4-7) at Woodland (9-1): Kingstree last week came in at 3-7, the #12 seed in their playoff bracket (lowest you can be) but upset fifth-seeded Mullins 50-34. Woodland is fresh off a bye, and except for their loss at Bishop England, have been a dominant team throughout the season, winning every game by at least two TDs.

Garrett (6-5) at Bamberg-Ehrhardt (5-5): Garrett surprised Lee Central last week in Bishopville with a 14-6 upset, while Bamberg had a bye last week. Bamberg-Ehrhardt is led by South Carolina commit Kevin Crosby, finally a senior this year after having been looked at his entire high school career.

1A: Timmonsville (5-6) at Cross (6-5): Cross won last week against out manned Lincoln 69-0, but face a tougher challenge this week against the hometown of former NASCAR driver Cale Yarborough. Cross has lost just once at home this year, while Timmonsville is 3-2 on the road. Something has to give.

SCISA: Palmetto Christian at Hilton Head Christian is the best game. After losing their first two games Hilton Head has won their last eight. QB J.T. Waters of Palmetto Christian, even after missing two games, still has thrown for 1,748 yards and has rushed for 2,278 yards. That's 4,026 yards, or 447 yards of total offense in just nine games.

Enjoy the playoffs all!

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