High School Sports

Baxter: Lexington faces tough challenge against Byrnes

Jim Baxter of scvarsity .com answers high school athletics questions.

Question: What are Lexington’s chances against Byrnes this week in the Class 4A football playoffs, and what would have to happen for them to win?

Answer: Lexington has an outside shot at winning but it would take getting a few breaks. Despite the Wildcats’ success this season and the tremendous job that coach Josh Stepp and his staff have done, this will be the best team they have faced. There will be more speed on defense than they’ve seen, and they haven’t faced anyone with the offensive explosiveness of the Rebels. For the Wildcats to win, there would have to be a combination of defensive or special teams scores, forced turnovers that would stop drives for the Rebels, and clock management that would limit the touches that Byrnes’ quarterback Shuler Bentley gets. For that to happen, the Wildcats would have to alter what they do offensively, and that would spell disaster for them. If Lexington can keep the game close by getting its defense off of the field on third down and winning the play-count battle, it has a chance; but it is not a good chance.

Question: Will any Midlands teams compete for a basketball championship this season?

Answer: We are in for an exciting basketball season in the Midlands. Some of the top teams and players in the state are in Columbia. Irmo and Dutch Fork are going to be strong, with the Yellow Jackets as the team to beat coming off a championship year. They will be strong in the frontcourt and will be tough to beat, especially in region play. In 3A, Dreher and A.C. Flora will be strong contenders, though the team to beat, again, is Hartsville. In 2A and A, look for Keenan, Fairfield Central and C.A. Johnson to be strong.

The Midlands is loaded with talented players. Hammond’s Seventh Woods is the player many people want to see, and will sell out the 800-seat arena at Hammond weekly. Keenan’s Marcus Stroman, Irmo’s Javis Howard and Dreher’s Tevin Mack are the top senior prospects in the Midlands. C.A. Johnson’s Peter Goodman will be a force at the Class A level.

On the girl’s side, Debbie Stroman’s Lower Richland team will be the best ticket in the Midlands, followed by Dreher, Spring Valley and Dutch Fork. The top girls players are Spring Valley’s Cierra Carter, LR’s Breshay Johnson, Dreher’s Kaydra Duckett and Columbia’s Alexis Foulks.