Three things we know
Kendrick Gathers is a star
Keenan senior Kendrick Gathers was selected for the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl two weeks ago, and in the games since, he has proven the merit in his selection. Gathers has posted more than 1,500 all-purpose yards for the Raiders this season, and had two touchdowns and an interception in the squad’s 29-26 first-round playoff win. The Raiders face Chesnee on Nov. 14 in their second Class 4A Division 2 game. But Gathers’ football future extends beyond this postseason. The North-South game will be played on Dec. 13 and a college football will not be far behind.
The Falcons let their haters be motivators
A.C. Flora faced a staunch opponent in Daniel for the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, but the Falcons were confident. Trash talk over the Internet in the days leading to the game gave A.C. Flora an extra edge in its Friday night win. The Falcons charged to a 24-0 lead, and their defense kept Daniel scoreless in two quarters. Who needs bulletin board material when there is social media?
We do not envy River Bluff
The River Bluff Gators have had a stellar first season in Class 4A. The Gators put up a 7-4 record, winning the regular season finale, 31-24, at Irmo, and go into the playoffs with the No. 16 seed in the Class 4A Division 2 tournament. For the program’s first playoff game, River Bluff will travel to Goose Creek (10-1) to face the Gators, who have won 10 in a row to earn the No. 1 seed.
Three things we don’t know
Is Westwood back on a roll?
After seeing their win streak end two weeks ago, the Westwood Redhawks were back to their winning ways on Friday at Spring Valley. With a No. 4 seed in the Class 4A Division 2 playoffs, the Redhawks will host Colleton County. Is Westwood at the start of another winning streak?
How dominant will Dutch Fork be?
In the opening round of the 2013 playoffs, Dutch Fork posted a 56-28 win against Fort Dorchester. This season, the 9-2 Silver Foxes have the No. 2 seed in the Division 1 bracket, and host No. 15 Mauldin (4-7), which has been outscored by an average 14 points per game this season. The Silver Foxes have an average 26-point margin of victory.
Will Blythewood overcome?
The Blythewood Bengals have had a rough season, but with consecutive wins to close the season, secured the No. 15 seed in the Class 4A Division 2 tournament. Blythewood (5-6) faces second-seeded South Florence in the first round. The Bengals fell to South Florence 38-13 in a non-conference game on Oct. 2. Have they found the groove they need to avenge that loss and advance?
Three top performers
Aaron McGuire, Ben Lippen
Rushed for 209 yards on 23 carries
Osei Thomas, Blythewood
Scored four touchdowns and posted 216 total yards
Kendrick Gathers, Keenan
Scored a receiving touchdown, a kickoff return touchdown and made an interception
Three to watch
Ben Lippen at Hammond
Their regular-season match-up ended with Hammond winning by three on a last-second field goal. This time, the Falcons (9-3) take on undefeated Hammond for a spot in the SCISA Class 3A final. Hammond is led by quarterback Nick Garrett and senior running back TJ Brady. The Falcons get their offensive steam from quarterback Robert Barrow, who passes for about 300 yards per game.
Lancaster at A.C. Flora
A.C. Flora posted a 23-point victory to advance to the Class 3A second round. The Falcons are on a four-game win streak and have outscored opponents 334-124. The Falcons are led by quarterback Brendan Greene, and have a strong kicking game powered by future Gamecock Joseph Charlton. Lancaster (8-3) has won two in a row, edging Chapman by six points to advance.
Lexington at White Knoll
In a strange twist of bracketing fate, crosstown rivals Lexington (6-5) and White Knoll (8-3) face each other for the second week in a row. In the Region 5-4A finale Lexington defeated White Knoll 50-33 at home. This time, region champion White Knoll hosts as the No. 4 seed. The Wildcats, seeded No. 13, are led by quarterback Donny Baker. Pressure is on White Knoll’s defense, which has given up 100 points to Lexington in its past two games.
What they said
“Our boys could have tucked their tails. They were down early, and I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there.”
Chapin coach Justin Gentry, after the Eagles fought to overtime in a 40-37 first round playoff loss
“We didn’t win the region, but we won the district, so that is good for our kids.”
Lexington coach Josh Stepp on beating Lexington District 1 rival White Knoll
“This was a good win, a signature win, but there is still a lot left for us to accomplish. In the playoffs, the next game is the most important.”
A.C. Flora coach Reggie Shaw, on a 37-14 win over Daniel in the Class 3A first round
Akilah Imani Nelson