THREE THINGS WE KNOW
Extra possessions make all the difference
Against Landrum, Batesburg-Leesville’s six takeaways were key to the Panthers’ 36-point victory.
Batesburg’s defense snagged five interceptions in the game, turning one of them into a touchdown return.
Limiting the opposing offense to three-and-out is good. But momentum-killing, offense-interrupting, quarterback-intimidating interceptions are better.
The Panthers are good at taking care of the ball, and with the turnover margin in their favor, those possessions could add extra games to their season.
He’s not doing it alone
In Friday’s win against Fort Dorchester, Dutch Fork’s Matt Colburn produced 406 all-purpose yards, more than many teams’ offensive output that night. And though the numbers — 372 yards rushing, 22 carries, six touchdowns — show up by his name alone, the junior workhorse has a lot of help.
Besides the Silver Foxes’ stellar offensive front — which has given up five sacks this season — Colburn gets strong blocking from fellow backs Walter Roberson and Marquis Spearman and tight end K.J. Williams.
That’s quite an accomplishment
Lexington’s Will Hunter surpassed the 10,000-yard passing mark for his career with his 212 yards in Friday’s win at Dorman.
Hunter, who hit 9,000 yards six weeks ago, has thrown for 2,634 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.
He also ran for 149 yards in the game, which nearly doubled his season total.
The Wildcats senior averages right at 200 passing yards per game, and will put his arm up against Byrnes in the second round of the Class 4A Division 1 playoffs.
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW
Does Lexington have the juice?
The Lexington Wildcats have rushing and they have passing, but against the Byrnes Rebels, they may need more.
Byrnes has not lost a second-round playoff game since 2006 — when the Rebels fell to eventual champion Gaffney. Lexington is 6-1 on the road this season, but the atmosphere at Byrnes’ home stadium is intense. Focus and strong nerves will be key for the Wildcats.
Who can top Socastee?
Against Hartsville, the state’s top defense, Socastee posted a 21-20 victory to advance in Class 3A. Socastee remained undefeated by getting three touchdowns past a defense that allowed five points per game and had posted five shutouts.
Up next for the Braves is Marlboro County (10-2) and, possibly, a meeting with Strom Thurmond or Myrtle Beach in the semifinals.
Is Goose Creek finally headed for the Class 4A title game?
The Goose Creek Gators, undefeated on the field for two seasons, have been fighting for 11 months for the privilege of playing at Williams-Brice Stadium. Now they are two games away from the 4A Division 2 title game, but facing 10-2 South Pointe in the second round may be a bigger test than expected. The Stallions offense, led by Zaylin Burriss, may not be as productive as Goose Creek’s, but their defense is just as staunch.
A Goose Creek win this week is far from a given.
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
Made two interceptions, returning one 43 yards for a touchdown
Posted 173 yards and two touchdowns
Completed four passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns
Three to watch
Central (8-3) is coming off a 17-point victory to challenge the No. 2 seed Panthers (9-2). Central averages 25 points per game to Batesburg- Leesville’s 38. The Panthers are on a seven-game win streak, fueled by smart defense and a balanced offensive attack. Batesburg is led by quarterback Jac’Quiel Chandler.
Undefeated Spring Valley’s defense will be put to the test against the big offense of Dutch Fork (9-3). The Vikings will need smart play-calling as their defense must determine whether to stuff the box and attempt to stop Silver Fox rusher Matt Colburn, or drop back and disrupt Derek Olenchuk’s passing game. Dutch Fork’s defense has a clearer target in Spring Valley’s John Miller and Chris Adams, who average a combined 219 yards rushing.
In the SCISA Class 3A championship game, Hammond (9-3) will try to deal Wilson Hall its only loss of the season. The undefeated Barons are led by quarterback William Kinney and average 405 yards per game, and their defense has produced 17 sacks. Hammond’s offense, led by quarterbacks Nick Garrett and Davis King and running back TJ Brady, has the skill to run through that defense. With two strong offenses on the field, turnovers may prove the deciding factor.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Sometimes, you have to take a few risks in the playoffs.”
“Christian (Brown) just put the offense on his back.”
“We know they’re good and we don’t care.”