SOME CLASS A FOOTBALL teams began region play last week. Some Class 4A schools get into the action on Friday.
When October's first games are played next week, the rest of the state will be involved in the season-defining chore of determining region champions and playoff positions.
But it was just over a month ago that The State published region predictions in our annual prep football preview. Back then, everyone had hope.
Now, the glare from the real games has exposed who is weak, who is strong and who lies somewhere in the middle.
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So, in the spirit of the era of accountability our first-term president is attempting to bring to the federal government, here's a quick look back at how we thought the regions involving Midlands schools would play out - and an update on how its going so far.
Preseason favorite: South Pointe
Reality: Rock Hill is unbeaten and No. 2 in Class 4A. South Pointe already has two losses. Blythewood, picked fifth, appears to be far better with a 3-1 record.
Preseason favorite: Irmo
Reality: Irmo (3-1) is still the favorite to win the league. The Yellow Jackets have a potent offense with Mustafa Greene, David Olson and David Frazier. Lexington (1-3), picked to place second, has lost three in a row. Oops.
Preseason favorite: Sumter
Reality: Ok, the Gamecocks lost their first two games, but they've rebounded to win their past two. I'm still not counting Stephen Curtis and the Gamecocks out yet. But keep an eye on Hartsville, which was pick to finish fourth but is 4-1 behind a high-powered offense.
Preseason favorite: Chester
Reality: Chester is unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. So far, so good. But picking Chapin fifth was an underestimaton of new coach Scott Earley's impact. The Eagles are 4-0 and ranked No. 8 in Class 3A.
Preseason favorite: Airport
Reality: Airport is still the prohibitive favorite to win it. The Eagles (4-0) are ranked No. 6 in Class 3A. The mistake was picking Brookland-Cayce to place second. The winless Bearcats have been outscored 173-28.
Preseason favorite: Marlboro County
Reality: The Bulldogs look strong and are ranked No. 2 behind Chester in Class 3A. Crestwood, which owns a victory against Sumter, was picked fourth. Might be time to revisit that.
Preseason favorite: Strom Thurmond
Reality: Still too soon to say the Rebels (2-2) won't win it, although Batesburg-Leesville (3-1) and Mid-Carolina (3-1) are strong. Gilbert (3-1) doesn't look like the last-place team it was predicted to be.
Preseason favorite: Central
Reality: Still the case. The Eagles were ranked No. 1 before last week's loss to rival Cheraw. Columbia and Keenan appear more likely to place ahead of Andrew Jackson, which was picked to place second.
Preseason favorite: Silver Bluff
Reality: Silver Bluff (3-1) is a threat to win it all in Class 2A. The surprise is Ridgeland (3-1), which was picked to finish last.
Preseason favorite: Williston-Elko
Reality: Williston-Elko has outscored its opponents 231-42. Any questions? The surprise is C.A Johnson (3-1). Picked to finish last, the Green Hornets have an outside shot of making the playoffs.