High School Sports

November 18, 2012

High school football playoff rewind

Three things we know, 3 things we don’t know, 3 top performers, what they’re saying

Three things we know

A field goal won’t do it

With its 3-0 win over Irmo, White Knoll advanced to the Class 4A Division I third round and earned a rematch with Region 4 rival Dutch Fork. The Silver Foxes dealt the Timberwolves a 28-0 loss in the regular season and are coming off a 63-point performance in the second round. Their second meeting is not likely to be decided by three points.

Newberry could go all the way

With their win over Central, Newberry (10-3) demonstrated a strong big-game poise. As they head to Fairfield Central for this week’s Class 2A Division I Upper State championship, the Bulldogs are as strong as they have been all season. The Griffins will be a big hurdle for Newberry to clear. Fairfield has outscored opponents 465-145, so its defense will have to step up.

Byrnes is rolling

Defending Class 4A Division I champion Byrnes hung 54 points on Spartanburg on Friday to advance to the third round, where it will meet Gaffney. The Indians, who handed Byrnes its only loss of the season, must be prepared for a much different Byrnes team than they faced in early October.

Three things we don’t know

Will Goose Creek be eligible?

After Goose Creek was eliminated from the Class 4A Division II playoffs by the S.C. High School League for using an ineligible player, a judge threw out the decision allowing Goose Creek to play against Bluffton on Friday. The Gators won 35-25, but the SCHSL Executive Committee, as ordered by the judge, must hear and vote again on the Gators’ appeal. Goose Creek again could be booted from the playoffs, which would allow Bluffton to advance in spite of the loss.

When will Flora break through?

A.C. Flora was looking for the program’s first state semifinal appearance when it took on Union County at home on Friday. Stymied by the Yellow Jackets and troubles in the kicking game, the Falcons must look to next year to complete their transition to playoff power. While the Falcons will lose several key seniors, including quarterback Jake Lewis, they also have strong athletes on a highly successful junior varsity squad.

Who can stop Hartsville?

The Red Foxes have run through several strong offenses to advance to the Class 3A Lower State final, topping ranked teams Swansea and Socastee to set up a showdown with Strom Thurmond (12-1), which has outscored opponents 578-157. The Rebels are the squad that best matches up with Hartsville, but will they be a stumbling block for the top-ranked Red Foxes?

Three top performers

Derek Olenchuk

Dutch Fork quarterback

Posted 254 passing yards, pushing his season total to 3,184 yards

Shelton Whitaker

A.C. Flora receiver

Made four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown

Lucas Bowerman

White Knoll kicker

Kicked a 23-yard field goal in 3-0 win

What They’re Saying

“This is going to sting, but we’ve been rebuilding the last two years. And I hope this is just another step to be a good football program.”

Socastee coach Tim Renfrow, after his Braves finished 12-1

“I kept begging to come back, and that’s the only way they would let me play.”

South Pointe receiver Anthony Johnson, who suffered a concussion in a car accident four weeks ago and wore a helmet wrapped in padded cushion Friday night

“Just like last year, I’m going to lose sleep because we should have won the ball game, and we didn’t.”

A.C. Flora coach Dean Howell, whose Falcons missed three extra-points and a field goal and lost by three points in the Class 3A playoffs

Akilah Imani Nelson

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