IT IS WITH a heavy heart with which I write this column.
Tragedy struck the high school football community with the death of Ronald Rouse, a senior defensive lineman at Hartsville, who died of a heart attack during a game Friday. My thoughts and prayers go to the Rouse family, his friends and coaches.
CLASS 4A, DIV. I
The division is deeper in strength than it has been in several years. Byrnes is the class, scoring 325 points in seven games and allowing 13 points per game.
The next best team in this division is Dorman. The Cavs are 5-2 with losses to No. 5 Greenwood and Gaffney. They can win with time-of-possession football, and have a defense that has allowed 13 points per game in their wins.
CLASS 4A, DIV. II
The top team is the defending champs, Goose Creek. The Gators are unbeaten and averaging 50 points per game and has allowed 11.5.
Defending 3A champions South Pointe is unbeaten, with wins over Northwestern and Blythewood. The Stallions have showcased one of the best defensive fronts and are a big second-half time.
The cream of the crop is Daniel. The Lions allow six points per game, and in six straight wins they’ve given up three points per game with two shutouts.
In the Lower State, Hartsville is the clear favorite at 454 yards rushing per game. It still has a tough region schedule remaining.
Look for Manning, Marlboro County and Swansea to be contenders. Myrtle Beach has to be mentioned but its defense is suspect.
There are three teams in this division that I feel are clearly the favorites: Abbeville (6-1), coming off a win over Newberry; Dillon, with an offensive line that averages 250 pounds per player; and Timberland, which has one loss, and that was to Berkeley by one point.