Three things we know
The Westwood Redhawks got the program’s first playoff win on their first try, defeating Woodruff 38-10 in Class 3A’s first round. For a second-year program, that’s some feat. Locally, only Blythewood has gone farther in the playoffs earlier in its program history — winning the Class 3A championship in its first varsity season. The 7-5 Redhawks continue their precedent- setting performance at Greer in the Nov. 15 second round.
Despite earning their first region title in two decades, the Chapin Eagles saw their season end in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs for the second consecutive year. On their home field, the Eagles suffered a 10-point loss at the hands of Chapman, the fourth seed out of a tough Region 3. With turnovers and penalties, the finale was not Chapin’s best effort, and the Eagles are left to ponder what could have been.
Dutch Fork must find its mojo
The Silver Foxes’ regular season ended on a low note, a 9-point loss to North Augusta that saw Dutch Fork’s lowest offensive output of the season — 411 yards. It was the second time the Silver Foxes have scored fewer than four touchdowns in a game. And it was not the way a team wants to head into the postseason, especially not when looking for a return to the championship game. Dutch Fork will be more spirited next week, as it begins the Class 4A Division 1 playoffs with a No. 5 seed and a date with Fort Dorchester at home.
Three things we don’t know
What’s next for Swansea
After a long season that saw the Tigers looking to restore the program’s postseason dominance of yesteryear, Swansea saw a setback. The Tigers were bounced from the Class 3A tournament in the first round, dropping a 42-14 decision to Marlboro County. In the offseason, the Tigers will have big shoes to fill — on the offensive line, defense and most notably in the backfield, as they lose leading rusher Travis Loadholt among their graduating class.
Can Keenan topple Fairfield Central?
Led by first-year coach Quin McCollum, the Keenan Raiders get a second chance against Region 3-2A opponent Fairfield Central in the second round of the Division 1 tournament. Keenan’s normally productive offense — which averages 38 points and 359 yards per game — was scoreless in the first game. Will the Raiders crack the code to the Griffins’ defense this time around? Undefeated Fairfield Central has posted three shutouts and allowed fewer than 10 points per game this season.
Is it basketball season?
It was a big week for offense, with several high-scoring games. In at least two, more than 100 points were scored. The Gaffney-Spartanburg game produced 108 points, the 3A playoff result between Greenville and Wren totaled 131. Wren’s Kelly Bryant scored seven touchdowns to lead the Hurricanes to the 70-61 victory.
Three top performers
Christian Brown, Westwood
Posted 249 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries.
Keelo Norris, Lexington
Made 10 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Marquis Taylor, Eau Claire
Passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns.
Three to watch
Crescent at Pelion
Pelion (6-4) got a bye into the second round, while Crescent used a 2-point conversion to win against Mid-Carolina to advance.
By the numbers, Crescent (8-3) has a 2-point scoring advantage over the host Panthers, but running back Ervin Green and Pelion’s ball control offense will try to limit the Tigers’ offensive opportunities.
Westwood at Greer
The only local team remaining in the Class 3A tournament, Westwood has its work cut out with the 9-2 Yellow Jackets. Greer edged Emerald in the first round by four points, but has held opponents to a touchdown or less five times this season. Westwood averages 26.3 points, led by running back Christian Brown.
Spartanburg at Spring Valley
Despite a high-powered offense, Spartanburg lost its final regular season game and enters the 4A Division 1 tournament at 6-5. The host Vikings are undefeated, and have run roughshod through Region 4. Running back John Miller drives the Vikings offense; linebacker Christian Miller leads a defense that held region opponents to 15 points per game. That defense will be tested by Spartanburg, which averaged 38 points in its region.
What they’re saying
“We worked through a lot to come to where we came to be and I’m so proud; I just wish we could’ve pulled through at the end.”
Cardinal Newman quarterback Garrett McNerney, after the Cardinals’ season ended at Laurence Manning
“This is a different place than our place. It’s wide open. We have fireworks and music and all this kind of stuff and we didn’t have that here.”
Marlboro County coach Dean Boyd, whose team did without the pageantry at Swansea
“We knew it was going to be like an Oregon-Baylor game, and we were going to have to keep scoring if they kept scoring.”
Gaffney running back Hylek Foster, on the Indians’ 61-47 win against Spartanburg
Akilah Imani Nelson