IT WAS COLD Friday but the playoff gridirons were hot.
River Bluff pulled off the state’s biggest when coach David Bennett’s No. 16 seed toppled top seed Goose Creek on the road, 22-21. The Gators were the first 4A team to make the playoffs in its first year of varsity competition, and the first No. 16 to knock off a top seed.
River Bluff is well-coached and fundamentally sound, which makes them tough in each game. It travels to York for the next round and a different kind of challenge. The Cougars are more physical on defense and more explosive on offense.
The Gators will have a chance if they play their game and execute.
OTHER MIDLANDS TEAMS
DUTCH FORK (4A, DIV. I): Will face Dorman, the only state team to beat the Foxes this year, but this time it is at home. A win puts the Silver Foxes in the semis against either Byrnes or Northwestern.
LEXINGTON (4A, DIV. I): Will travel to Simpsonville to take on Hillcrest. The Rams will have more team speed than the Wildcats have seen this year. The ground game relating to play count will be important.
AC FLORA (3A): Taking on an Emerald team that will be physical in the trenches.
FAIRFIELD CENTRAL (2A, DIV. I): Taking on a Newberry team that it beat 33-8 in the opening of region play.
NEWBERRY (2A, DIV. I): Coming off a 42-28 win over Woodruff.
KEENAN (2A, DIV. II): The Raiders are one game from the title tilt but must get through a strong offensive team, Ninety Six, this week.