Lou Bezjak

Bold predictions for SC high school football playoffs

Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts and the Silver Foxes will look to win their third state championship in a row Friday against T.L. Hanna.
Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts and the Silver Foxes will look to win their third state championship in a row Friday against T.L. Hanna. online@thestate.com

The high school regular season is over, the playoff brackets are released and it’s time to begin the postseason.

Here is my attempt to pick who will be playing in the first week of December for the SCHSL championships and third week in November for SCISA title games:

Class 5A

The Midlands put five teams in Class 5A Lower State, led by Dutch Fork and Spring Valley, which have been in the top 10 of the state for much of the year.

The Silver Foxes are the defending state champions and playing like it, since the loss to Fort Dorchester. Dutch Fork has home field throughout the postseason.

Spring Valley will be in the mix on the bottom of the bracket with possible trips to Conway and Fort Dorchester ahead.

Lexington gets a first-round game at home but a win would have them head to Fort Dorchester for round two. Irmo and White Knoll will have to do their damage on the road.

Upper state is wide open in Class 5A with five or six teams capable of being there. T.L. Hanna comes into the playoffs unbeaten. Gaffney and Dorman also are riding late-season surges.

Upper State Championship: Gaffney vs. Dorman

Lower State Championship: Dutch Fork vs. Fort Dorchester

Title Game: Dutch Fork vs. Dorman

Winner: Dutch Fork

Class 4A

Four Midlands teams made the playoffs in the Lower State and three in the Upper State.

Lower Richland has been one of the top stories in the Midlands, going from a long losing streak to No. 1 seed from Region 5-4A.

The Diamond Hornets have Myrtle Beach and Hartsville in their part of the brackets.

Chapin and Dreher are on the bottom of the bracket, with the Eagles trying to make it to their second straight title game.

Dreher faces Lugoff-Elgin in the only first-round matchup involving Midlands teams. The Blue Devils haven’t won a playoff game since 1994, while L-E’s last postseason win came in 2009.

In the Upper State, Ridge View, Airport and Westwood all start the playoffs on the road. The Blazers get South Aiken, which knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Airport is at York and Westwood at North Augusta. Both York and North Augusta have good chances for deep postseason runs.

But it is going to take a special effort knock off No. 1 and nationally ranked South Pointe, which is going for its fourth straight state title.

Upper State Championship: South Pointe vs. Greer

Lower State Championship: North Myrtle Beach vs. Hartsville

Title Game: South Pointe vs. North Myrtle Beach

Winner: South Pointe

Class 3A

There are Midlands teams in both Upper and Lower State with chances to make it to the championship game.

In the Upper State, Newberry and Fairfield Central have played for championships recently and might meet in the second round of the playoffs.

In the Lower State, Gilbert notched its first perfect regular season and has home field. Possible stumbling blocks against Bluffton and Dillon might be on the horizon.

Brookland-Cayce and Swansea are in the lower half of the bracket. The Bearcats are looking for a second trip to the Lower State title game.

Upper State Championship: Chapman vs. Newberry

Lower State Championship: Timberland vs. Dillon

Title Game: Chapman vs. Dillon

Winner: Chapman

Class 2A

Batesburg-Leesville went on the road to make it to the state championship last year and will have to do the same this year. Gray Collegiate is in the playoffs for the second straight year and hosting Cheraw in its first home playoff game. Keenan is at Lee Central.

Upper State Championship: Abbeville vs Lee Central

Lower State Championship: Carvers Bay vs. Barnwell

Title Game: Abbeville vs. Carvers Bay

Winner: Abbeville

Class A

No Midlands teams in Class A but it should be pretty competitive bracket. Lamar and Hemingway appear to be on collision course for title game.

Upper State Championship: Lamar vs. Lewisville

Lower State Championship: Lake View vs. Hemingway

Title Game: Lamar vs. Hemingway

Winner: Lamar

SCISA 3A

All signs point to a Ben Lippen-Hammond rematch in the SCISA 3A championship team.

Both teams have byes in the first round and have steamrolled the competition. Trad Beatty didn’t play in first matchup between two teams.

Title Game: Ben Lippen vs. Hammond

Winner: Ben Lippen

  Comments