COLUMBIA vs. WOODRUFF
Site: Willie Varner Stadium. Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Columbia notes: The Capitals have had a season of peaks and valleys, and limped home down the home stretch to a 6-4 record at the end of the regular season and a third-place finish in Region 3 after beating eventual top seed Strom Thurmond in the region opener The good new is the Caps were healthy entering the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and have delivered two pressure-packed playoff wins on the road Last week, Columbia blew a 16-0 lead, needed a clutch late scoring drive followed by a defensive stand to escape with a 38-34 second-round win at Palmetto The winning drive feature big plays by quarterbacks McArtha Thompson and Ky Tyler. Thompson kept the drive going with a 20-yard run on a third-and-19 play. Tyler hit Casey Gladney with a 45-yard scoring pass at the back of the end zone on a third-and-10 call with 59 seconds to go Dimante Cunningham’s sixth interception of the season in the red zone was Columbia’s defensive play of the game.
Woodruff notes: The Wolverines (9-3) have yet to lose to a Class 2A team, dropping early season games to 3A powers Greenville, Union County and Clinton. Greenville and UC were region champions and Clinton won the 2009 state championship Shun Tribble is the man who makes the Woodruff attack go. In two playoff wins over Carolina (44-10) and Cheraw (48-21), Tribble has run for 282 yards and six touchdowns. To day, Tribble has 1,808 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns. He needs only 10 points to break the school single-season scoring record held by legendary Tony Rice, who led Woodruff to its last state title and Notre Dame to its last national championship The Wolverines passing game must also be respected. QB Ryan Perkins had 2,427 yards passing and 20 TD throws during the regular season, and B.J. Johnson (56-1051-11) is the top receiver.
Playoff history: Columbia is 17-20 in postseason matters since 1970, and is still looking for its first state title shot in the modern era. The Capitals have been close – reaching the Class 2A semifinals three times in five seasons (2003-07) – but have never advanced to the finals Woodruff, on the other hand, has one of the great playoff traditions in the state. The Wolverines are 63-30 in postseason play since 1970 with seven state championships on the books. However, Woodruff hasn’t ascended the 2A throne since 1984, so it’s questionable if tradition is a valid motivating factor for today’s players, who were all born well after the town celebrated its last state championship Friday’s game marks the first-ever football meeting of the schools – regular season or postseason.