Three questions answered; three things we don't know; three top performers; and next week's top games.
THREE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Sumter is rolling
The Gamecocks posted their eighth consecutive win since an 0-2 start with a 55-14 pasting of Conway. That means the Gamecocks (8-2, 4-0) will play at Hartsville on Friday night for the Region 6-4A championship.
Airport achieved perfection
Behind quarterback W.T. Murden and running back Ryan Smith, Airport (10-0) earned its first unbeaten regular season in school history with a 39-17 victory against rival Brookland-Cayce . The Region 5-3A champions are set to have home games in each of the first three rounds of the Lower State playoffs.
Fairfield Central takes the title
Their roster depleted by the loss of 24 seniors, the Griffins lost to Blythewood and Newberry in early September. But coach Reggie Kennedy kept his team focused and Fairfield Central won six of its next seven games on its way to the Region 4-3A championship.
THREE THINGS WE DON'T KNOW
How much can Irmo expect from Mustafa Greene?
The Shrine Bowl running back, after missing most of October with a high-ankle sprain, had 129 yards rushing in a 14-6 victory against Richland Northeast that gave the Yellow Jackets the Region 5-4A championship. But he was injured again in the second quarter, leaving Irmo with a lingering question for the Class 4A playoffs.
Can C.A. Johnson be road warriors?
The Green Hornets have a winning record for the first time since 1986 and will play in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Finishing third in Region 4-A, they will play on the road when the Class A Division I playoffs begin on Friday. The Green Hornets are 2-1 on the road so far this season.
Can Heathwood Hall survive playoff challenges?
A perfect regular season accomplished and celebrated, Heathwood Hall (10-0) carries the No. 1 ranking into the SCISA Class 3A playoffs. Three-time defending champion Hammond (9-1) is on the opposite side of the bracket, meaning a regular-season rematch could be on Nov. 27 at Orangeburg for the championship.
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
Joey English, Heathwood Hall
Wide receiver caught 10 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns as the Highlanders beat Cardinal Newman 28-0 to complete a perfect regular season.
W.T. Murden, Airport
Murden threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one in a 39-17 victory against Brookland-Cayce. Murden rushed for 171 yards while throwing for 199.
Stephen Curtis, Sumter
Senior completed 13 of 22 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-14 rout of Conway.
THREE TOP GAMES FOR NEXT WEEK
Sumter (8-2) at Hartsville (9-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The winner gets the Region 6-4A championship. Sumter enters on an eight-game winning streak, while Hartsville has won five in a row. Sumter has scored 379 points in 10 games, while Hartsville has 370 points.
Darlington (4-6) at Airport (10-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Darlington lost its first three games without Vic Hampton. Now the former Florida commitment, a transfer from Charlotte's Independence High, is playing on offense and defense. Airport has momentum, a host of playmakers on both sides of the ball and the home field for this Class 3A first-round playoff game.
Newberry (6-4) at Keenan (8-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
For the second consecutive year, Keenan opens the Class 2A playoffs at home. It will not be easy against a Newberry team that owns a victory against Region 4-3A champion Fairfield Central. But the Bulldogs enter having lost two in a row.
Three Sound Bytes
"I'll be honest, winning the region championship this year after losing 24 seniors is a surprise. But they've been an overachieving group all season and made progress each and every week to get here." Fairfield Central coach Reggie Kennedy, after the Griffins beat Chapin 19-10 to claim the Region 4-3A championship.
"Trying to stop (Mustafa) Greene with 10 guys, we didn't have a chance. Of course, even if we had 11 it might not have made a difference. Once he gets going, it's hard to stop him." - Richland Northeast coach Jay Frye, after Greene ran 52 yards for a touchdown when the Cavaliers only had 10 defenders on the field Friday night.
"We're disappointed but not dejected. We told the guys we were real proud of them, loved them and we've done some good things this year and don't let this dampen it. We still have a chance to play next week and beyond." - C.A. Johnson coach Jerry Jackson, after the Green Hornets ended their regular season with a 30-14 loss to Hunter-Kinard-Tyler.