THREE THINGS WE KNOW
Accentuating the positive
With the unfortunate draw of facing Byrnes in the first round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs, Spring Valley (8-4) made an early exit on Friday. But not without a fight. The Vikings got off to a strong start against the Rebels (11-1), posting three touchdowns and holding Byrnes scoreless in the first period. It was the third time Byrnes had been scoreless in the first period, and the second game in which the Rebels trailed after the first quarter. In their only loss against Gaffney, the Rebels trailed by six after one quarter. And Spring Valley was the only team this season to score more than two touchdowns on Byrnes in the first quarter. That’s no small feat.
The Falcons are building their own tradition
In the third round of the Class 3A playoffs for the second consecutive year, the A.C. Flora Falcons can add to their budding tradition by advancing to the state semifinal. Opponent Union County is 7-5 under first-year coach Steve Taneyhill and upset a region-champion Greer team to set up this matchup. Although Flora’s history as a playoff contender is short, the Falcons are no longer a postseason long shot. The Falcons do not need the underdog tag to motivate them. They are driven to establish A.C. Flora as a state championship-contending program.
White Knoll’s rushing duo is key
Running backs Lamar Ray and Quin Jones combined for 270 yards of rushing offense to lead the Timberwolves past Wando in the first round of the Class 4A Division 1 playoffs. Ray, with 16 carries for 137, and Jones, who had 134 yards on 19 carries, will again be key when the Timberwolves take on Irmo in the second round. White Knoll’s commitment to the ground game has paid off with a 9-3 record and a 306-223 scoring advantage. The Timberwolves have a three-game winning streak.
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW
What’s next for Blythewood?
Looking to improve on last year’s surprise run to the third round of the playoffs, the Bengals fell to Boiling Springs when their offense could not get started in their first-round game. With their offense held to 122 yards in their finale, and quarterback Kylen Binn among a large group of seniors set to graduate, how will Blythewood adjust in 2013?
How far will Hammond push it?
The Skyhawks defeated Wilson Hall 27-6 on Friday to advance to their seventh consecutive state championship game. Hammond won its state-record sixth consecutive title in 2011 — also defeating the Barons — and look to push the record to seven when they face the Augusta Christian Lions on Saturday at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium. The only loss for the Skyhawks (12-1) came at the hands of Augusta Christian by one point. Hammond has not lost more than one game in a season since 2005.
Who’s a better kick returner than Peter Easaw?
Keenan’s season ended Friday with Peter Easaw posting the Raiders’ lone score with a 70-yard kickoff return. It was Easaw’s fifth kickoff return touchdown and seventh kick return touchdown of the season. Easaw posted more than 1,000 yards on kick returns this season, helping the Raiders to a 7-5 record.
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
Jake Lewis, A.C. Flora quarterback
Completed 7 of 13 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns
Derek Olenchuk, Dutch Fork quarterback
Threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns
Quayshon Myers, Hammond running back
Rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries
THREE TO WATCH
Hammond vs. Augusta Christian
(at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium) The six-time defending champion Skyhawks look to avenge their Oct. 12 loss and set a state record for title wins when they face the Lions in the SCISA Class 3A championship game. Led by quarterback Jake Nidiffer and running back Quayshon Myers, Hammond has outscored opponents 446-178. Undefeated Augusta Christian has outscored opponents 484-215.
White Knoll at Irmo
The Timberwolves have won three in a row heading into this matchup and have an advantage in the running game. Irmo has a tough defense and strong special teams to counter White Knoll.
Boiling Springs at Dutch Fork
The Bulldogs overcame No. 7 seed Blythewood in the first round with passing from Tyrecous Garrett to set up a showdown with a more balanced Dutch Fork squad. Averaging over 400 yards of offense the past three weeks, Dutch Fork has the upper hand in this Class 4A Division 1 matchup.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“We brought that offense in four years ago. We believe in it and stuck with it.”
“This was a good defensive football game. It’s a shame somebody’s got to lose.”
“I thought we had it.”