Baxter’s Blitz

New high school football playoff ideas are in talks

scvarsity@sc.rr.comDecember 17, 2012 

TWO YEARS AGO, I drafted a proposal for a five-classification system for football realignment and sent it to administrators and coaches. I wrote about that topic again in October, and it seemed to be well-received among the state’s fans and coaches.

This month, I was approached at the Weekend of Champions and the North-South All-Star Football game by several coaches active in the S.C. Football Coaches Association who told me that they were “taking a serious look at the proposal.”

An email sent by SCHSL executive director Jerome Singleton to the state’s public high schools this past week laid out the concepts of a five-class system and asked for feedback from Executive Committee Classification representatives.

While this is only a “concept for consideration,” it at least gets parties thinking, “What we’ve got needs to be improved.”

Some of points mentioned: an 11 game regular season, which would allow more games to be scheduled for financial gain than playoff implications; 16 team brackets for the playoffs; only region winners and runners-up in the playoffs; and one state champion per division. All of these things were part of the proposal that I published two years ago.

Bravo, all who are in on this. By doing away with the points system that is being used, we will create opportunities for natural geographic rivalries between larger-classification teams and smaller-classification teams without penalty in terms of playoff implications. By encouraging natural rivalries to occur, it will make for good gate receipts.

I encourage all fans, parents, coaches and administrators to get behind this. Let’s make sure decision-makers know that we feel that they are on the right track.

Let’s get this done so we can solve the transfer eligibility problem next!

TOP WRESTLERS

The Lexington Wildcats lead the Midlands with five wrestlers ranked on SCVarsity.com among the best in their weight divisions. Three are juniors: Jackson Myers, returning 4A champion at 106 pounds; Andy Szalwinkski, the returning 4A state runner-up at 113; and Daniel Bannister, who was a 4A state qualifier as a sophomore.

Of the seniors, Walker Barfield was a third-place finisher at state at the 138 class last season, and Nate Meagher is the defending state champions at 220.

Bamberg-Ehrhardt has four wrestlers in the rankings: Malcolm Jones (A-2A state runner up as a junior last season); senior Landis Heirs (defending A-2A champion at 126); senior Player Long (defending A-2A champion at 145); and senior Mark Moody (defending A-2A champion at 170).

Columbia senior Michael Nelson is the returning A-2A champion at 120.

Other wrestlers who could find themselves in the rankings with a good start to the season: Gilbert seniors Nathan Brazell and Madison Leitner, a former A-2A state champion. Lexington junior Blake Risinger placed at state in 4A last season at 120; Chapin senior Chandler Owens was a 3A state qualifier last season; Dutch Fork junior Parker Grizzle was a 4A state qualifier at 132. Brooland-Cayce senior Chris Lott was a state qualifier in 3A at 160; Bamberg-Ehrhardt senior Jeremy Davis was a state qualifier in A-2A at 182; A.C. Flora senior Donato Pelzer was a 3A qualifier at 220 last season.

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