Batesburg-Leesville – The Panthers (7-3) have made the postseason cut for the 23rd consecutive season. The last time B-L failed to make the grade was in 1987 The Panthers lost 31-0 last week to Strom Thurmond in the showdown game for the No. 1 seed in Region 3. B-L finished in a toe for first place, but is the No. 2 seed and will likely be on the road in the second round if its gets by 3-7 Cheraw in the first round on Friday Since 1992, the Panthers are 16-2 in first-round games.
Columbia – The Capitals (6-4) ended a two-game losing streak with a 35-6 win over Keenan and enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in Region 3 Columbia travels to face a 9-1 Indian Land team qualified for state for the first time since 2005 by finishing second in Region 4 behind undefeated Central in its first season at the Class 2A level The Capitals has lost two straight first-round games.
Mid-Carolina – The Rebels enjoyed their finest regular-season showing in 21 years, winning nine of 10 games Pendleton (5-5) finished in a three-way tie for first place in Region 1 with Palmetto and Chesnee, but drew the short straw in the tie-breaking procedure. By being relegated to a No. 3 seed, the Bulldogs from Andertson County open the playoffs on the road for the first time since 2002 – the first season in the program’s revival under coach Paul Sutherland.
Gilbert – It’s been a trying campaign for the Indians, but things brightened up considerably in the final outing of the regular season. Gilbert put it all on the line in a 34-24 win over Eau Claire. The verdict left the Tribe with a none-too-impressive 2-8 record, but a state playoff invitation The reward is a dubious one – a first-round road trip to Pageland to face unbeaten Central. The Eagles are 36-4 over the past three season and have claimed back-to-back Upper State championships. The only trouble has been Central’s inability to beat Dillon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Newberry – The Bulldogs (4-6) made the cut as the No. 3 seed in Region 2 in Phil Strickland’s first year in charge. No Strickland-guided team has ever failed to advance to the state playoffs. It all started at Ridge Spring-Monetta in 1987, and continued through stints at Brookland-Cayce (1991) Batesburg-Leesville (1992-2002), Gaffney (2003-09) and now Newberry Chesnee (7-3) finished in tie for first place in Region 1 with Pendleton and Palmetto. The Eagles earned its first opening-round home date this season for the first time since 2004.
Swansea – The planets had to be in perfect alignment for the Tigers to earn the right to return to the state playoffs for the first time 2005. And that’s just the happened on Friday night. Swansea (5-5) did its part by beating Edisto, and Wade Hampton completed the equation with a 35-0 romp over Pelion. As a result, Swansea, Pelion and Barnwell finished in a three-way tie for third place and two available playoff invitations. When the tie-breaking method was applied, Swansea and Barnwell were in, Pelion out The Tigers, back in 2A after four fruitless seasons playing up in 3A, return to the postseason in Byrds (near St. George) against 8-2 Woodland – the runner-up in Region 6.