High School Sports

Football: Panthers, Rebels hit the 2A playoff road on Friday

Region 3-2A foes Batesburg-Leesville and Mid-Carolina are the only Midlands teams left standing in the Class 2A state football playoffs, and both teams hit the road for demanding second-round challenges on Friday.

Batesburg-Leesville (8-3) at Woodruff (9-2): B-L went on a near-record scoring binge while dispatching Andrew Jackson 59-28 last week. It was the third-highest scoring game in the program’s long and glorious history – topped only by a 64-12 win over Wade Hampton in 1996 and a 63-0 rout of Palmetto in 1993. Ironically, the three highest scoring games on the books came in playoff games … Woodruff also had the scoreboard lighting up like a Christmas tree in a 53-20 win over Crescent. The Wolverines have not missed a beat under first-year coach Brian Lane, who rushed back to the Upstate after a one-year stint at South Florence when Freddie Brown left to take over at nearby Spartanburg. Lane is a former Byrnes assistant. Quarterback Jake Lambert was 18-for-25 passing for 228 yards and five touchdowns last week. Crescent actually had an early 16-7 lead without scoring an offensive touchdown, but the Wolverines responded with scores on six straight possessions to avoid disaster … B-L and Woodruff are two of the most storied programs in 2A. The Panthers have 60 playoff wins and four state championships since 1970, while the Wolverines have 58 state wins and seven titles since the dawn of the modern era. B-L’s last title run was in 2005, but Woodruff has not even earned a title shot since 1993 … B-L has a 5-2 edge against Woodruff in playoff encounters since beating the Wolverines in the 1979 2A championship game.

Mid-Carolina (6-5) at Abbeville (11-0): Mid-Carolina secured its first playoff win in 11 years last week. The Rebels parlayed a massing second-quarter eruption into a 21-2 triumph against host Keenan. M-C produced 228 yards and all three of its touchdowns in the second quarter, and let the defense take it from there. Tyrone Wilson was the nominal offensive star for the Rebs, finishing with 92 yards on six carries, one TD and one two-point conversion run … Big plays is the second half propelled Abbeville to a 44-20 first-round win over tough Chesnee. The score was even at 10 all at the break, but 95-yard kickoff returns by Sammy Head and Gavagio Enwright and a 44-yard TD run by Dureal Elmore turned the game decisively in the Panthers’ favor … This is a game that shouldn’t take more than two hours to complete, given the teams’ preference for running the ball. Abbeville has 3499 yards and 37 TDs by land this season, and their stable of good backs has a collective average of 6.7 per carry … Mid-Carolina is looking to get past for second round of the playoffs for the first time since playing for the Upper State championship in 1996. The Rebels one brush with glory came during its 1985 state championship run … Abbeville sports a glittering 52-24 playoff record since 1970, including title runs in 1971, 1981, 1991 and 1996. The Panthers then lost in the finals in 2000 and 2002 and haven’t made it past the third round since … The teams are hardly strangers, though they have not met since 2003. Abbeville has an all-time 16-10 over the Rebels. This will the third time the clubs have squared off in the playoffs. Abbeville is 2-0 in the postseason portion of the series.