Baxter’s Blitz

Baxter: Picking all-stars is a difficult task

scvarsity@ sc.rr.comOctober 31, 2013 

Spring Valley's John Miller was left off all-star rosters despite having an impressive season.

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com Buy Photo

Jim Baxter answers high school football questions:

QUESTION: Why didn’t Spring Valley’s John Miller make the North-South All-Star game or the Shrine Bowl. He’s probably going to lead the state this year among running backs.

ANSWER: I don’t know. The Shrine Bowl selections were pretty good, and they took three guys. Miller is deserving of all-star status. Selecting the all-star players is a tedious task. There are many players deserving who don’t make it, but the players who are on the roster also are deserving. Miller should have made it, but I would not want to have been the coach to have to decide which kid would not have made it to make room for him.

QUESTION: You said earlier in the year that Dutch Fork had the best chance at getting to the state title game of any Midlands team. Do you still think they are the best hope we have?

ANSWER: I said that, among 4A teams, Dutch Fork was the best shot. I still think that they, along with Spring Valley, are strong contenders. But the teams that have the best chance at getting to the state title game are Batesburg-Leesville and Fairfield Central. When I look at the 2A-DII bracket for the Upstate, I see Chesnee and, maybe, Chesterfield challenging Batesburg-Leesville, but I like the Panthers against either team. As for Fairfield Central, I’m not sure there is a team in the Upstate 2A-DI that will challenge it. Crescent could possibly give it a game, but the Griffins would be favored there. There is a strong possibility that both the Panthers and Griffins could be playing for the title in their respective divisions.

QUESTION: Among the new coaches in the Midlands this year, which coach has done the best job at his new school?

ANSWER: None of the situations that the coaches walked into was similar. Reggie Shaw at A.C. Flora has seen the most improvement in his team from week zero to this point, though it is struggling in terms of wins and losses. Dean Howell at White Knoll has done a good job with the situation he had, including revamping the type of schemes the team runs. But it is difficult to argue against the success of Lexington’s Josh Stepp. He has the Wildcats at 8-1 and playing Dutch Fork this week for what could be the region championship. This team has been able to overachieve at times because of the attitude he has instilled in those kids and the foundation laid by their previous coach.

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