The high school football playoffs are around the corner, and several Midlands teams are ready to take their shot. Here’s a look at the contenders:
SWANSEA (6-3, 3-1)
The Tigers are fighting for second place in Region 5-3A and can clinch a spot Friday with a win against Gilbert. Swansea has a leg up on competitors in the kicking game, where Arthur Myers’ range adds scoring potential for the Tigers.
BROOKLAND-CAYCE (6-3, 1-3)
With a win against rival Airport, the Bearcats would seal their spot as the No. 4 seed out of Region 5-3A. The squad is looking to snap a two-game losing streak heading into the postseason.
GILBERT (4-5, 1-3)
Gilbert needs a win against Swansea and a Brookland-Cayce loss to earn the region’s No. 4 seed. The Indians have a strong passing game, led by quarterback Mitch Spires.
CHAPIN (6-3, 4-0)
After crushing the Region 4-3A competition, the Eagles have clinched the No. 1 seed and will face one of the at-large teams. Chapin faces Camden, which is scrapping for a No. 4 seed, on the road tonight.
WESTWOOD (5-4, 3-1)
In their second year, the Redhawks have guaranteed themselves a home playoff game as Region 4-3A runner up and will host the No. 3 seed out of Region 3 — Woodruff or Clinton. Led by quarterback Nick Leveretter, the Redhawks have won three in a row.
DREHER (6-3, 2-2)
Solidly in third place, Dreher faces rival Flora looking for a win to change its momentum. After losing to Westwood last week, the Blue Devils are preparing to go on the road in the postseason.
In a three-way fight for Region 4’s No. 4 seed and an at-large playoff bid, the Falcons must beat Dreher in their regular-season finale and also have Camden lose to secure the spot.
LOWER RICHLAND (4-5, 1-3)
The Diamond Hornets close the regular season with region runner-up Westwood, and they need an upset for a chance at the postseason. Lower Richland is motivated after losing two straight games by a combined 67 points.
CAMDEN (5-4, 1-3)
The Bulldogs need an upset of No. 1 Chapin and a Lower Richland loss to earn a spot in the postseason. Camden defeated A.C. Flora by one in the region opener and has that advantage in a tie break.
BATESBURG-LEESVILLE (7-2, 4-0)
Sitting at the top of Region 2-2A, the Panthers should be a No. 1 or 2 seed in Upper State Division 2. Having played a strong non-region schedule, the Panthers are well prepped for a postseason run.
FAIRFIELD CENTRAL (9-0, 4-0)
The only undefeated team in Class 2A, the 2012 runner-up Griffins have a lock on the top seed in Division 1. Led by quarterback DeAndre Belton, the Griffins dominated their region but did not play the strongest non-region schedule.
PELION (5-4, 3-1)
Pelion can take second place with a win against Keenan. With Ervin Green and quarterback Zach Hawkins running the offense, the Panthers could chew up the field and grind down the clock against the Raiders. They will need to in order to host a Division 1 game. If they fall to third, the Panthers will go on the road, where they are 2-1.
KEENAN (6-3, 3-1)
The Raiders, with athlete Peter Easaw driving their offense, need a win against Pelion to secure the second slot out of Region 3-2A. Keenan had the No. 7 seed in Division 1 last season and lost in the second round.
COLUMBIA (2-7, 1-3)
Friday’s matchup with Eau Claire will decide who locks down the region’s fourth slot. Columbia, which defeated North Central last week, has the edge on defense — having allowed 32 points per game to Eau Claire’s 39.
EAU CLAIRE (1-8, 1-3)
The Shamrocks must rebound from last week’s loss and beat Columbia to take the No. 4 seed. Eau Claire’s offense — which averages 13.5 points — could lead it to victory. Columbia averages 10.7 points.
C.A. JOHNSON (4-6, 2-2)
The Hornets secured their spot in the Class A tournament with their win against Lewisville last week. They have an open date this week while Region 3-A sorts out. If Lewisville beats Great Falls in Friday’s finale, C.A. Johnson gets the No. 3 seed. If Great Falls wins, the Hornets will be the region’s fourth seed.