The new five-class system will have six teams from the Midlands in Class 2A, with no Midlands teams in Class 1A. Here’s a look at the Midlands 2A breakdown.
In the Region 3, four teams from the Midlands will join Fox Creek and Saluda. Keenan will have returning talent in the skills department and should be in the mix for one of the top four spots, possibly as high as second behind Saluda, which should be the team to beat. Gray Collegiate will enter its first year of official “region” play in the SCHL and should be competitive. Returning experience at quarterback, and dangerous skills players at wide receiver, should make it intriguing in the preseason. I look for C.A. Johnson and Eau Claire to continue to struggle as the teams enter the 2016 campaign. Last season, Eau Claire faced C.A. Johnson and got a narrow 21-20 win, but both will struggle in the new region.
How I think the region will finish: 1. Saluda 2. Keenan 3. Gray Collegiate 4. Fox Creek 5. CA Johnson 6. Eau Claire.
In Region 5, Batesburg-Leesville and Calhoun County will join a very tough group, including Allendale-Fairfax, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Barnwell and Silver Bluff. Look for Batesburg-Leesville to have a slight drop from last year with the graduation of Terrence Wilson, but don’t expect the team to roll over. Batesburg has solid skills players returning and will be very competitive again. Calhoun County returns one of the most productive quarterbacks in the state and is loaded with talent at every spot. Look for them to compete, despite the move up to 2A. Both should compete for a playoff spot.
How I think the region will finish: 1. Silver Bluff 2. Batesburg-Leesville 3. Calhoun County 4. Bamberg-Ehrhardt 5. Allendale-Fairfax 6. Barnwell
MIDLANDS 2A OFFSEASON PROJECTIONS and QUESTION MARKS
1. Bateburg-Leesville – Replacing a big-time playmaker will be a big question mark.
2. Calhoun County – How it adjusts to playing quality 2A competition will be a factor.
3. Keenan – Filling some holes in the trenches and on defense will be key.
4. Gray Collegiate – Competing in the trenches and on defense against a different type of speed.
5. C.A. Johnson – Facing low numbers against the 2A teams it will face.
6. Eau Claire – Same problem as C.A. Johnson; low numbers decreasing its ability to compete.