Teams in the two Midlands Class 2A football regions are facing different scenarios in the final week of the regular season.
In Region 3-2A, the four playoff qualifiers are set but final postseason seeding is not. In Region 4-2A, all six teams enter Week 10 with a shot at making the playoff cut.
Let’s examine the more convoluted situation first.
There is a possibility of a three-way tie for first place and a three-way tie for fourth place and the final postseason invitation. Currently, Central stands alone in first place at 4-0, followed by Keenan and Columbia at 3-1. The top three teams are qualified. Eau Claire (1-3), Andrew Jackson (1-3) and Lee Central (0-4) are all in play for the last spot, mathematically at least.
Things will be made simple if Central beats Columbia Thursday at Memorial Stadium, and Andrew Jackson downs Lee Central on Friday in Kershaw. In that case, Central, Keenan, Columbia and AJ would be the order of playoff qualifiers.
If Columbia and Lee Central win, however, things revert to a tie-breaking system based on defensive points allowed just in games involving the deadlocked teams. There are any number of outcomes from there, but in such a case Columbia conceivably could wind up as the No. 1 seed. Lee Central could win and still not make the grade.
Eau Claire (1-8, 1-3) could get in by upsetting Keenan on Thursday at Bolden Stadium, but the odds are against the Shamrocks even in the case of a Lee Central win. The only way in for EC then would be if LC beats AJ, allows more than 15 points and scores more than 23.
The Shamrocks at least stayed alive last week by rallying from a 14-0 first-half deficit to beat Lee Central, 25-20. Eau Claire hasn’t been to the playoffs since last making the grade in 1992.
In Region 3-2A, Strom Thurmond (7-2, 4-0) is locked in as the No. 1 seed thanks to a 27-20 win in its showdown with Newberry last week. Newberry (6-3, 3-1), Batesburg-Leesville (5-4, 2-2) and Mid-Carolina (5-4, 2-2) all have a chance at grabbing the No. 2 seed. Gilbert and Saluda are out of the picture.
The key games in the seeding puzzle are Friday’s country showdown between Newberry and Mid-Carolina in Newberry and Batesburg-Leesville’s home date against last-place Saluda.
If Mid-Carolina and B-L win, there is a three-way tie for second place and the points-against tiebreaker goes into effect. If Newberry wins, the Bulldogs are the No. 2 seed with B-L No. 3 and M-C No. 4.
Batesburg-Leesville nailed down a playoff spot last week with a 38-8 win over Mid-Carolina as Elliott Jeffcoat ran for 111 yards and one touchdown and K.J. Johnson had 139 yards passing and one scoring toss. The other Panthers highlight was a 55-yard return of a free kick for a touchdown in the first quarter by Isaiah Langford just seconds after B-L picked up two points on a safety.