High School Sports

Baxter: High school football | commentary

EPIC MATCHUPS in the S.C. playoffs are not uncommon. The Palmetto State usually climbs to the elite level by the second round.

But this Friday will be like Christmas morning. This is the first time I can recall two career 10,000-plus yardage quarterbacks facing off in the Lexington-Byrnes game.

Lexington QB Will Hunter has 10,082 yards while the Rebels’ Shuler Bentley has 12, 622 yards.

Another early Christmas present will be the Midlands matchup between Dutch Fork (9-3) and Spring Valley (12-0). This will be a matchup between the powerful Dutch Fork offense and an immovable object: the Spring Valley defense.

Some questionable calls marred the opening week. In the Spring Valley-Spartanburg game, the Vikings scored on an option pitch that went 75 yards and an apparent score. “Apparent” because the officials set the ball for the PAT and set the play in motion.

The PAT was good, but a discussion took place and the points were removed from the board. The call? Illegal forward lateral by the Vikings on the scoring play. How does a crew backtrack two plays to make a call on a play that was never flagged in the first place?

There were several questionable calls in the Marlboro County-Hanahan game, which took place in Hanahan. Two calls cost the Bulldogs touchdowns and one cost them possession of the ball on the Hanahan 3-yard line.

Marlboro County held on for a 7-6 victory.

Here’s a look at some of the playoff matchups for Midlands’ teams this week:

Lexington at Byrnes: The Wildcats have done an amazing job this season but I fear it will end as they face the most explosive offensive power in the state.

Dutch Fork at Spring Valley: Incredible matchup and could go either way. I like defensive teams this deep in the playoffs. The Vikings punished the Spartanburg skill position players last week. I choose the Vikings at home.

Pelion at Cheraw: The Panthers have been impressive late in the season but Cheraw is playing its best football of the season. And Cheraw is a tough place to play on the road.

Newberry at Fairfield Central: Fairfield-Central is the team to beat in this 2A bracket, but this will be a big test against a Bulldog squad capable of an upset.