THREE THINGS WE KNOW
Dillon’s dynasty will continue
Led by Hall of Fame coach Jackie Hayes, the Wildcats secured the program’s first undefeated season on Friday and won its fifth Class 2A championship in seven seasons. The squad that beat Newberry 49-27 returns 19 starters next season, including junior quarterback Avery McCall, who put up 230 passing yards in the title game, and sophomore tailback Johnny Allen, who led Dillon’s scoring with three rushing touchdowns. Hayes said next year’s Wildcats could be the best squad Dillon has had, and we believe him.
Dutch Fork is rolling
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The Dutch Fork Silver Foxes steamrolled Byrnes 41-6 in the semifinal game of the Class 4A, Division I tournament. With eight sacks, four from Dominique Scott, Dutch Fork held Byrnes (12-2) to negative yardage on the ground, while putting up more than 250 yards with its own running game. The Silver Foxes have outscored opponents 117-19 in the playoffs and can safely be called the favorite in Saturday’s state championship game against Hillcrest.
Waiting is agony
The Class A, Division I championship game is still on hold while the South Carolina High School League investigates whether Bamberg-Ehrhardt, the Lower State champion, used an ineligible player. Meanwhile, Christ Church, which will be vying for a second consecutive title, must maintain the excitement of a championship atmosphere for up to another week.
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW
Could Avery McCall be the first QB to win four titles?
According to Palmetto’s Finest record book, 14 South Carolina teams have won three consecutive titles – this year’s Dillon team being the most recent addition to the list. Three teams – Byrnes, Woodruff and Florence – have won four in a row. As the Wildcats attempt to join that list next season, McCall has the chance to become the first player to quarterback four consecutive state championship games.
What’s Keenan’s next move?
After contending for the program’s first state championship – a bid that fell short 35-12 to undefeated Timberland on Friday – Keenan loses some key contributors, including big playmaker Kendrick Gathers, lineman Justice Worley and a big chunk of its secondary. Quarterback D’Marco Zeigler and running back Tyreick Davis-Newton are chief among the returners. How will the Raiders rebuild for the 2015 season?
Is anyone as good as Hartsville?
The unbeaten Red Foxes have managed a 30-point average margin of victory this season. The only team standing between Hartsville and its second undefeated season in three years is South Pointe. The Stallions (11-3) will face Hartsville in the Class 3A title game this week. Do they have what it takes, or is Hartsville unbeatable?
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
Dominique Scott, Dutch Fork
Made four sacks in semifinal win
Kendrick Gathers, Keenan
Posted 143 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders
Matt Colburn, Dutch Fork
Rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns
THREE TO WATCH
Dutch Fork vs. Hillcrest
The Class 4A, Division I title match pits the defending champion Silver Foxes against a 14-1 Hillcrest squad that has won nine in a row and outscored opponents 644-125. Dutch Fork (12-2) has won 10 straight, while outscoring opponents 614-231.
York vs. Spartanburg
In the Class 4A, Division II championship game, 13-2 York takes on the 11-3 Vikings. Spartanburg beat South Florence, 63-30, in the semis. York beat Greenwood. The teams will meet at noon Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. Tavien Feaster rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns.
South Pointe vs. Hartsville
Hartsville comes into the game with a 14-0 record. South Pointe has a strong defense, led by linebacker/safety Marveon Mobley.
WHAT THEY SAID
“We told them that No. 8’s a player. We probably told them some things that weren’t even true, just so they know how good he was. They knew that, so when he went down, I think it pumped them up.”— South Pointe coach Strait Herron, on the Stallions’ response to A.C. Flora’s Denzel Johnson leaving the game with a concussion
“Coming into this season, there was a great feeling of uncertainty about this position. I just wanted to help this team anyway I could.”— Dutch Fork quarterback Tate Fant, whose team earned a second consecutive Class 4A, Division I championship berth
“We’re trying to establish a program, and this is part of the growing pains. I think we’re going places, though.”— Keenan coach Quin McCollum, after the Raiders’ loss in the Class 2A, Division II championship game
Akilah Imani Nelson