Three things we know
Dutch Fork is aiming for a playoff run
After taking down the previously undefeated Westwood Redhawks, Dutch Fork moved into the Region 4-4A lead and demonstrated its readiness for postseason dominance. The Silver Foxes scored 33 points against a squad that usually gives up 8, and held the usually prolific Westwood offense to a field goal. Not that the Silver Foxes don’t have some kinks to iron out, but their ability to rise to the challenge could add a few games to their season.
Westwood will make noise in the playoffs, too
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Despite taking their first loss of the season, the Redhawks (9-1, 3-1) have the tools to make a deep playoff run. Westwood can bounce back in this week’s regular season finale at Spring Valley. With Nick Leveretter’s passing, Andrew Plante’s rushing and the typically stingy defense back on track, the Redhawks could go into the playoffs strong. Last year, the Redhawks got the program’s first playoff win and reached the Class 3A second round. This season, with the program’s best record so far, the Redhawks should make a little more history.
The Midlands will be proud
Rosters for the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl were announced last week, and 13 Midlands players are among the players chosen for the intra-state All-star game. Jalen Williams, Lateef Robinson, DJ Padgett, Kendric Gathers, Tyler Frazier, Shadarius Hopkins, Adonus Lee and Nate Blankenship are playing on the North team, coached by Lower Richland’s Daryl Page. Dillon coach Jackie Hayes will lead the South team featuring Jakayus Leaphart, Jonathan Sutton, Whitt Warner and Alex Bray. Each of these players will be excellent representatives for their communities and schools.
Three things we don’t know
Are they in or out?
The Camden Bulldogs lost to Chapin in the regular season finale but are 3-2 in Region 4-3A. The Dreher Blue Devils also finished 3-2 after a loss to A.C. Flora. Were it not for the SC High School League imposed probation, stemming from a postgame fight, both teams would have earned a spot in the 3A playoffs, which begin on Nov. 7. Instead, they will make an appeal to the appellate panel on Monday at 10 a.m. That group has the final say on whether the Bulldogs’ or Blue Devils’ seasons continue. The playoff brackets—released on Saturday—will be adjusted on Monday, if needed.
Will White Knoll run the table?
The Timberwolves (8-2, 4-0) have won eight games in a row, heading into their regular season finale against rival Lexington. Although the Timberwolves have secured the Region 5-4A title, pitting White Knoll’s offense against the Wildcats’ defense should make for an exciting game. But will the Timberwolves go into the postseason with a nine-win streak?
Three top performers
Jakayus Leaphart, Gilbert Rushed for 353 yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries
Denzel Johnson, A.C. Flora Rushed for 171 yards, had 60 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns.
Clay Lucas, Swansea Completed 9 of 15 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns
Three to watch
Class 3A playoffs
Region 4 champion A.C. Flora hosts Daniel, Swansea’s midseason comeback and Region 5 title earned the Tigers a home game against Wilson, and Gilbert and Jakayus Leaphart go on the road to Myrtle Beach.
Class 2A playoffs
Fairfield Central goes for a 10th straight win against Abbeville in the first round of the Division 1 tournament. Last year’s Division 2 champion Batesburg-Leesville begins its title defense hosting Abbeville, and Kendric Gathers leads Keenan against Central on the road.
Class A playoffs
Three undefeated teams remain heading into the Division 1 playoffs. Hemingway (10-0) hosts Calhoun County, and Christ Church (10-0) hosts Dixie in the Upper State. In the Lower State, undefeated Allendale-Fairfax hosts East Clarendon.
What they said
“We made a good statement. We’ve had some naysayers, and I think we finally silenced them.”
—Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts
on taking the Region 4-4A lead
“Football is like life. It won’t always go your way.”
— River Bluff coach David Bennett
on losing to White Knoll in the final minutes
“We wanted to come in tonight and establish that we’re a legit 3A team.”
— A.C. Flora coach Reggie Shaw
on the Falcons’ 35-21 win over Dreher
Akilah Imani Nelson