High School Sports

Midlands to have several postseason contenders

For every level of high school football but Class 4A, the regular season ends this Friday.

Many teams have locked up region championships and playoff berths. Others have work to do to ensure a place in the postseason or home-field advantage.

Unlike some seasons, the Midlands are covered with teams capable of making an impact in the playoffs starting Nov. 6.

Teams like Airport and Chapin have been regulars in the Class 3A rankings. Others such as Camden, Fairfield Central and Lugoff-Elgin have posted enough impressive wins that they willl be feared.

With the pairings to be unveiled on Saturday, here is a look the most intriguing teams in the Class 3A, 2A, A and SCISA playoff fields.

Airport (9-0) has steamrolled everyone in its path and need only to dispose of winless Brookland-Cayce for a perfect regular season.

Airport has playmakers on offense (QB W.T. Murden, RB Ryan Smith) and averages 44.8 points per game. Don't sleep on Airport defense, allows 17 points a game.

The bracket sets up so Airport would have home games over the first three rounds. They wouldn't face a trip outside of West Columbia until the Lower State final on Nov. 27.

There is a good chance that third-round game, if things play out as expected, will be the Region 6 champion. No. 1-ranked Marlboro County hopes it is that team, but the Bulldogs must beat Camden for the third time in the past two years on Friday to make that a reality.

If Camden can break its frustration against Marlboro County, it will be the Region 6 champion and get home games the first two rounds.

But no matter what happens Friday, Camden will be tough to deal with in the postseason.

The Bulldogs advanced to the third round of last year's playoffs before losing by a touchdown at Marlboro County. The players still around have playoff experience on their side this time around.

When experience meets talent and drive, good things happen. Something tells me Camden will have fun again in November.

Newberry lost 27-20 at Strom Thurmond last week to put the Rebels in the driver's seat for the Region 3-2A championship.

With a victory against Mid-Carolina, Newberry will host a first-round playoff game. Expect the Bulldogs to do so, and launch themselves on a fine playoff run.

Newberry (6-3), with a stout running game, owns a non-region victory against Class 3A Fairfield Central and had won four in a row before losing at Strom Thurmond.

That result notwithstanding, Newberry has shown the ability to win on the road. The Bulldogs won 16-7 at Batesburg-Leesville on Oct. 16.

Hammond has the past three SCISA Class 3A championships, but Heathwood Hall will be the favorite entering the playoffs.The Highlanders' 10-7 win at Hammond means the playoffs will be wide open.

Heathwood Hall, Hammond and Ben Lippen are all capable of winning the championship. The Highlanders have beaten both teams this season.

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