Baxter's Blitz

How far into playoffs can these Midlands football teams go?

Gilbert's Catriez Cook (35)
Gilbert's Catriez Cook (35) tdominick@thestate.com

Baxter’s Blitz will take a look at the teams in the Midlands who are the top contenders to go deep in the playoffs. This is not a ranking, but it’s in the order of teams with the best chance to go deep in the postseason.

1. DUTCH FORK SILVER FOXES

Clearly the class of all classes in the Midlands. This team seems to be on a very long peak, getting better each week out. While 5A is very competitive, I like the Foxes’ chances of getting to the championship and claiming the first 5A title in South Carolina.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Fort Dorchester, Northwestern, Spartanburg, and Westside

2. GILBERT INDIANS

This team wasn’t even looked at as a region contender in preseason but is now a contender for a Lower State run. Behind the rushing of the state’s best running back, Catriez Cook (who should have been a Shrine Bowler), this team is a legit threat to go deep in the playoffs.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Bluffton and Dillon

3. FAIRFIELD-CENTRAL GRIFFINS

The Griffins are playing their best football right now and this team, as I’ve stated all season, might be the best they’ve had in a long time. They’ve played a tough schedule, which will make them stronger in postseason.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Newberry and Chester

4. BATESBURG-LEESVILLE PANTHERS

Perry Woolbright’s Panthers got an impressive win Friday night over Bamberg-Ehrhardt, and this team is going to make some noise in the Class 2A playoffs. They have a very tough region, and their toughest playoff competition will come from within the region.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Barnwell

5. RIDGE VIEW BLAZERS

This team has shown it can be a very dangerous football team and it has the potential to win some games in the postseason. Unfortunately for them, they are in the upstate with region rival South Pointe.

TOP ROADBLOCK: South Pointe

6. BROOKLAND-CAYCE BEARCATS

The Bearcats have played good football all season, save a few errors in their loss to Chapin. But this team has big-play ability, and, if they can play disciplined, could win the region crown and make noise in the playoffs.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Bluffton, Dillon, Gilbert

7. BLYTHEWOOD BENGALS

The Bengals are not consistent and they have not found the ability to put opponents away. That will hurt them in the playoffs, as you can’t allow teams to stay around late in games.

TOP ROAD BLOCKS: Dutch Fork, Fort Dorchester, Northwestern, Spartanburg and Westside

8. CALHOUN COUNTY SAINTS

The Saints’ offense is strong and they’ve played well on defense most of the season. This team is in the toughest 2A Lower State region, and if they can get through that, they will be strong in the playoffs.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Barnwell, Batesburg-Leesville

9. CHAPIN EAGLES

The Eagles, despite their struggles, have found ways to win this season. I believe they are coached well enough and disciplined enough that they can find ways to win games they shouldn’t.

TOP ROAD BLOCKS: Cane Bay, Hartsville, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach

10. LEXINGTON WILDCATS

The Wildcats proved last year they are dangerous to play in the postseason by overachieving all the way to the championship game. But this team manages to find ways to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, and must overcome that to get past the first round.

TOP ROADBLOCKS: Dutch Fork, Fort Dorchester, Spartanburg, Northwestern, Blythewood, and Westside

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