Three questions answered; three things we don't know; top performers; next week's top games; and more.
THREE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Hammond rules in November
The Skyhawks won their fourth consecutive SCISA Class 3A championship by mauling rival Heathwood Hall 50-20 at Benedict College's Charlie W. Johnson Stadium. Hammond avenged its lone loss, 10-7 to the Highlanders in the regular season, with a display of offense that was unexpected considering how the last meeting went.
Irmo's injuries too much to overcome
Playing a determined Dorman defense, Irmo failed to score in a 14-0 loss. A hobbled Mustafa Greene played through a nagging high ankle sprain to gain 82 yards in his final game with the Yellow Jackets. Irmo, which averaged 33.3 points per game this season, was shutout for the first time.
The Midlands are a step behind
Losses by Irmo, Batesburg-Leesville, Calhoun County and Sumter on Friday night mean the rest of the state gets to enjoy the rest of the season. Spartanburg County is the state's epicenter with Byrnes, Spartanburg, Dorman and nearby Gaffney making up the Class 4A Division I bracket.
THREE THINGS WE DON'T KNOW
Has Chesterfield already faced its toughest test?
The Rams advanced to their fourth consecutive Class A championship game with a 35-21 victory against Calhoun County. Chesterfield only led 14-13 in the third quarter. In Friday's Class A Division I final at S.C. State, Chesterfield plays Lamar, which beat Hemingway 6-4.
Will Willston-Elko continue its point-scoring barrage?
The Blue Devils (13-0) are in the Class A Division II state final for the second consecutive year. They enter averaging 51 points per game, having scored 24 points or more in every game. Williston-Elko has topped the 60-point mark five times and cleared the 50-point mark three other times.
Can Northwestern survive South Pointe?
The Rock Hill rival schools met for the Class 4A Division II state championship last December, with South Pointe completing a perfect season in a 35-14 win. The Stallions beat Northwestern 30-7 on Oct. 2 on their home field. Northwestern has not loss since. On Friday, the teams will meet at Northwestern with a berth in the championship game at stake.
THREE TOP PERFORMERS
David Nidiffer, Hammond
In his biggest game as quarterback, the junior came up big by completing 14 of 20 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-20 victory against Heathwood Hall.
Everett Golson, Myrtle Beach
The junior quarterback, who led the Seahawks to the Class 3A state championship last December, threw eight touchdown passes and passed for 444 yards to lead Myrtle Beach over North Charleston 55-13.
Sergio Johnson, Chesterfield
The Rams all-sate receiver scored on a 3-yard touchdown run, returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown and caught a 21-yard scoring pass in a 35-21 victory against Calhoun County.
THREE TOP GAMES FOR NEXT WEEK
Gaffney (10-3) at Dorman (12-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
These teams met in August when Dorman blasted Gaffney 42-17 at Dorman. The teams meet again in the Class 4A Division I semifinals on the same field. Gaffney has won seven of its last eight games. Dorman has won four in a row.
Scott's Branch vs. Williston-Elko (13-0)
Friday, Noon (at S.C. State)
The Class 4A Division II championship game is a rematch of last season, when Scott's Branch won 14-6. Given that Williston-Elko is averaging 51 points per game this season, a replay of that defensive struggle is unlikely.
Marlboro County (13-0) at Myrtle Beach (12-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
This is a rematch of last year's Class 3A Lower State final, which Myrtle Beach won 51-50 in overtime; it beat Chester for the state championship eight days later. The Seahawks only loss this season is to Class 4A powerhouse Byrnes. Top-ranked Marlboro County advanced to the semifinals with a 26-21 victory against Lake City.
THREE SOUND BYTES
"I think we exceeded our expectations this season. Losing four right there in the middle (of the season) and not even knowing if we were going to make it to the playoffs ... these kids did a good job this season." -Batesburg-Leesville coach Courtney McInnis, after the Panthers lost 37-26 at Abbeville in the third round of the Class 2A playoffs.
"I was looking for something, but I knew he was going to be open. I knew he was going to burn by him." -Hammond quarterback David Nidiffer, on his game-opening 68-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Walters that triggered a 50-20 victory against Heathwood Hall.
"We came up short on two fourth-down plays in the first half, and maybe things might have gone a little differently had we made them. But the bottom line was Dorman had a good defense." - Irmo coach Bob Hanna, after the Yellow Jackets lost 14-0 to Dorman.