With the final round of regular-season games in Class 3A set to begin on Friday, the playoff races in the two Midlands regions are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
In Region 5-3A, things could not be more straightforward.
Airport is set as the No. 1 seed, and will be shooting to finish with a perfect regular season record for the first time in school history when it travels to The Cage to face winless, out-of-the-playoffs Brookland-Cayce.
Elsewhere, Midland Valley and South Aiken tangle with the No. 2 seed on the line. The winner gets a first-round playoff game, the loser is relegated to the No. 3 seed. Swansea and Dreher enter Friday’s playoff showdown game at Memorial Stadium with identical 2-7, 1-3 records. The winner is in; the loser packs up the gear.
In Region 4-3A, however, there is a 15-page guide ready to sort out what could be a messy situation if A.C. Flora and Lower Richland pull off major upsets this week Flora plays at Lugoff-Elgin, while Lower Richland hits the road to face Chester. If neither the Falcons nor the Diamond Hornets win, the seeding process becomes much easier.
The big date is Chapin at Fairfield Central. If the host Griffins win, they will be the No. 1 seed even if Chester wins to finish with a 9-1 overall record and tie FC for first place in the region. Fairfield’s 28-24 win over the Cyclones in the first round of region play becomes the determining factor. Chester will be the outright league champion and the No. 1 seed if injury-riddled Chapin downs Fairfield Central.
The A.C. Flora vs. Lugoff-Elgin game is interesting in a specific scenario. Flora would make the cut and eliminate the Demons altogether if Chain and Chester also win.
Lower Richland, considered to be out in the cold after dropping its first three region outings, including one to Flora, is still a long shot to make the cut, but at least the Diamond Hornets made themselves relevant again by stunning Chapin, 36-30, last week.
John Worthy, Devante Wright and Desmond Wallace had huge offensive games for LR.
Worthy was 12-for-25 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 97 yards, one TD and one two-point conversion and even caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Wright, who had 93 yards rushing and one TD on 12 carries. Wallace caught four passes for 104 yards and two scores.
On defense, Marvin had 17 tackles, Wayshawn Burgess had three sacks and Derrick Duckett recovered two Chapin fumbles.