Three questions answered; three things we don't know; top performers; top games for next week.
THREE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Batesburg-Leesville's playoff aura lives
It does not seem to matter what the Panthers (8-4) do in the regular season. They are a tough out in the postseason no matter what. Batesburg-Leesville went on the road to one of the toughest venues in Class 2A Friday and left with a 24-17 win over No. 1-ranked Woodruff. Up next is a trip to Abbeville (11-1).
Class 3A Lower State is unforgiving
When a bracket contains five of the state's top seven teams, anyone expecting an easy run is foolish. Even after a 10-0 regular season, No. 4 Airport knew what it was in for. Friday's night 33-22 loss to Lake City, when the Panthers rolled up 442 rushing yards, showed a weakness in any area of the game will doom you in the Class 3A Lower State.
Irmo is diversified
The Yellow Jackets showed even when one area of their attack is weak they are still strong overall. Playing without Shrine Bowl running back Mustafa Greene, capable backup Dawan Scott and leading receiver David Frazier, Irmo recorded 176 yards of offense. But smart quarterbacking from David Olson and a stingy defense allowed Irmo to win 28-0 and advance in the Class 4A Division I bracket.
THREE THINGS WE DON'T KNOW
Can Heathwood Hall beat Hammond twice?
Everyone gets to find out Friday at Benedict's Charlie W. Johnson Stadium with the SCISA Class 3A state championship on the line. Heathwood Hall (12-0) won the regular-season meeting 10-7, handing Hammond (11-1) its first home loss since 2005. The three-time defending Class 3A champion Skyhawks get a chance at revenge in what should be a classic.
Does Calhoun County have enough to beat Chesterfield?
Steve Taneyhill's top-ranked Rams (12-0) have won the past two Class A Division I state championships but face a talent-stacked Calhoun County squad in a semifinal game Friday night. The Saints (11-1) were impressive in beating Bamberg-Ehrhardt 20-0 Friday night. Chesterfield has outscored it opponents 541-32 this season and has won two playoff games by a combined 100-0.
How many jobs will the coaching carousel claim?
We've already seen two jobs come open in Columbia as Bill Bacon left Dreher (3-8) after 11 seasons and Quay Farr resigned at Spring Valley after going 3-30 in three seasons.
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
Mac Whalen, Heathwood Hall
Senior quarterback kept the Highlanders unbeaten by rushing for four touchdowns and throwing for another in a 35-28 victory against Laurence Manning in the SCISA 3A semifinals.
K.J. Johnson, Batesburg-Leesville
Quarterbacked the Panthers to the upset at Woodruff. Johnson rushed for 128 yards and his two second-half touchdown runs proved the difference in a 24-17 win. He also threw for 79 yards.
SaVonn Wingate, Camden
Junior finished the season strong, rushing for 162 yards on 18 attempts in a 52-22 Class 3A playoff loss at North Charleston.
THREE TOP GAMES FOR NEXT WEEK
Dorman (11-1) at Irmo (11-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Dorman's lone loss came to top-ranked Byrnes last month, while Irmo lost at Fort Dorchester in September and have reeled off 10 consecutive wins. The winner gets either Gaffney or Summerville in the 4A Division I semifinals Nov. 27.
Heathwood Hall (12-0) vs. Hammond (11-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
There is no greater matchup in the SCISA Class 3A playoff bracket. Private schools located less than 10 miles from one another in Columbia meet with the state championship up for grabs. Heathwood Hall has posted two narrow playoff wins this month. Hammond has taken care of its two postseason foes easily. But none of that will matter when they line up.
Batesburg-Leesville (8-4) at Abbeville (11-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Playoff-tested Batesburg-Leesville has reached the third round (quarterfinals) of the Class 2A bracket for the fourth time in five years. They are seeking their first trip to the semifinal since they won the state championship in 2005. Abbeville presents a solid rushing attack that ended Keenan's season. Abbeville's lone loss came to Woodruff, which Batesburg-Leesville eliminated.
THREE SOUND BYTES
"Up and down. Up and down. They got off to a great start and we responded like we were supposed todo. That showed us what kind of character we had." - Heathwood Hall coach Rip Blackstone, after his team fell behind 14-0 but rallied to beat Laurence Manning 35-28.
"It was an option. All I could do was read it. I saw (running back) Rick (Adams) get hit at the line, so I hit the hole. I had to step on a few people, but I got there." - Batesburg-Leesville quarterback K.J. Johnson on his 1-yard touchdown run that lifted the Panthers over top-ranked Woodruff 24-17.
"We accomplished a lot but are very upset. But don't take anything away from these guys. We're proud of them and they put up numbers that might not ever be matched at this school." Airport coach Kirk Burnett, after the Eagles perfect season ended with a 33-22 Class 3A playoff loss to Lake City.