Tonight's top Midlands playoff games

November 6, 2009 

Class 3A: Darlington vs. Airport

WHERE: Eagles Stadium at Mooneyhan Athletic Complex, West Columbia

WHEN: 7:30 tonight

RECORDS: Darlington (4-6), Airport(10-0)

THE SKINNY: Airport is ranked No. 5 in Class 3A after winning the Region 5 championship. Darlington lost its first three games but has gone 4-3 since. A 41-15 victory against Wilson last week earned the Falcons a playoff spot.

Players to watch

(AIRPORT) W.T.MURDEN - The Eagles quarterback, a North-South game selection, has 21 touchdown passes against a single interception this season. That is leadership. Rushing for 1,031 yards isn't bad, either.

(DARLINGTON) VICTOR HAMPTON - One of the top prep players in North Carolina last season, Hampton transferred to Darlington for his senior year and didn't gain eligibility until midseason. A former Florida commitment who has reopened his recruiting, this defensive back is a game-changer.

AIRPORT WILL WIN IF ... Murden, Ryan Smith and the rest of the Eagles offense continue to pile up points as they have all season.

DARLINGTON WILL WIN IF ... Hampton and the Falcons defense forces Airport into turnovers, something the Eagles have avoided.

PREDICTION: Airport 38, Darlington 20

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Class 2A: Columbia vs. Batesburg-Leesville

WHERE: Panthers Stadium, Batesburg

WHEN: 7:30 tonight

RECORDS: Columbia (7-3), Batesburg-Leesville (6-4)

THE SKINNY: Both spent numerous weeks in the Class 2A poll this season only to see October losses drop them out. Batesburg-Leesville enters the playoffs on a two-game winning streak. Columbia dropped its final two regular-season games.

Players to watch

(COLUMBIA) KEVIN DAVIS - The last time the Capitals won - Oct. 16 at Andrew Jackson - Davis threw seven touchdown passes. He has been injured since but there's hope he'll be healthy for the postseason. He has 18 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

(BATESBURG-LEESVILLE) JAMAL BRYANT -The senior defensive back has eight interceptions in 10 games. He is the kind of player who can turn the game around if he can interrupt the Capitals offense a few times.

COLUMBIA WILL WIN IF ... Davis is back to his old self and the Capitals establish a running game to keep the Panthers defense honest.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE WILL WIN IF ... Quarterback K.J. Johnson doesn't add to his interception total (13) and he gets the ball to Elliott Jeffcoat, the big-play threat in Batesburg-Leesville's offense.

PREDICTION: Batesburg-Leesville 27, Columbia 12

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Class A playoffs: C.A. Johnson vs. Calhoun County

WHERE: Saints Stadium, Saint Matthews

WHEN: 7:30 tonight

RECORDS: C. A. Johnson (7-3), Calhoun County (9-1)

THE SKINNY: The visiting Green Hornets play their first playoff game in 14 years after posting their first winning regular-season since 1986. Calhoun County holds the No. 3 ranking in Class A and looks for a deep playoff run after being ousted in the second round last season.

Players to watch

(C.A. JOHNSON) JONATHAN GOODMAN - The junior quarterback is the unquestioned leader of the Green Hornets, having thrown for 13 touchdowns this season. His toughness under pressure has led C.A. Johnson to unexpected heights this fall.

(CALHOUN COUNTY) DONTE STEWART - A North-South selection as a defensive back, Stewart also leads the Saints in rushing with 594 yards (6.7 yards a carry) and six touchdowns. He can affect the game on both sides of the ball.

C.A. JOHNSON WILL WIN IF ... Goodman leads the offense on long, sustained drives to keep the ball away from the Saints' deeper offense.

CALHOUN COUNTY WILL WIN IF ... Its defense pressures C.A. Johnson into numerous mistakes and the Saints offense uses it's size and depth to pound away at the Green Hornets defense all night.

PREDICTION: Calhoun County 34, C.A. Johnson 20

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SCISA: Porter-Gaud vs. Heathwood Hall

WHERE: Heathwood Hall School, Columbia

WHEN: 7:30 tonight

RECORDS: Porter-Gaud (5-5), Heathwood Hall (10-0)

THE SKINNY: The Highlanders finished the regular season perfect for the first time since 2005 and look to win the school's first state championship since 2004. Heathwood Hall beat Porter-Gaud 14-9 in the season-opening game on Aug. 28.

Players to watch

(PORTER-GAUD) STANTON SECKINGER - Steady receiver had eight catches for 107 yards in last week's 26-19 overtime loss to Laurence Manning.

(HEATHWOOD HALL) MAC WHALEN -Any Whalen would do here. But Mac , the Highlanders quarterback, has scored 19 touchdowns and thrown for 11 more. That's serious production.

PORTER-GAUD WILL WIN IF ... An offense that averages 24.9 points per game, can get big plays from Seckinger and running back Galen Givens-Rolin, who has four touchdowns in the Cyclones past two games,

HEATHWOOD HALL WILL WIN IF ... Defensive coordinator Brad Coleman's schemes shut down Porter-Gaud and the offense, which averages 27.2 points per game, displays its usual efficiency.

PREDICTION: Heathwood Hall 27, Porter-Gaud 8

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