Lou Bezjak

Lexington ‘D’ coming up big

Blythewood Bengals quarterback David Isreal (2) is sacked by Lexington Wildcats defensive lineman Mason Mauldin (52) in the first half of the game between the Blythewood Bengals and the Lexington Wildcats at Lexington High School.
Blythewood Bengals quarterback David Isreal (2) is sacked by Lexington Wildcats defensive lineman Mason Mauldin (52) in the first half of the game between the Blythewood Bengals and the Lexington Wildcats at Lexington High School. jblake@thestate.com

Lexington’s offense got its share of attention this year, but the Wildcats’ defense has done its job, especially over the last month.

The Wildcats’ defense has allowed 14 points or less in three consecutive games, including the first two games of the playoffs. Despite giving up more than 400 yards of offense Friday, Lexington kept Blythewood out of the end zone over the final 2 ½ quarters in a 30-13 win.

“Phenomenal,” Lexington coach Josh Stepp said. “All the credit goes to coach Will Newell (defensive coordinator) and the defensive staff. That group plays extremely hard from the front, to the linebackers, to the back half. They gave up some big plays but when it mattered most they bowed up and got it done.”

The Wildcats picked off three passes, had four sacks and senior Nick Graves also blocked a pair of kicks.

“When the defense shuts them down, it takes a ton of pressure off the offense,” Lexington quarterback Brandon Blake said. “They have been doing a great job all year.”

Lexington will need a strong game from the defense this week when it travels to Spartanburg in the Class 4A, Division II semifinals. Led by quarterback Austin Scott and Clemson commit Tavien Feaster, the state’s top recruit, the Vikings are averaging 480.5 yards and 44.7 points per game.

Scott’s completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 4,683 yards and 60 touchdowns. Feaster has amassed 1,978 all-purpose yards and Tavaris Scott has 1,549 yards receiving.

Lexington’s looking to go to its first state championship game since 2000.

Title game rematch

Newberry will get another crack at Dillon in the Class 2A, Division I championship game on Friday at Benedict College.

Dillon defeated Newberry 49-27 in last year’s title game for its third straight championship and is trying to become the fifth team in state history to win four titles in a row – joining Florence (1916-19), Woodruff (1975-79), Byrnes (2002-05) and Christ Church (2011-14).

Newberry coach Phil Strickland is in search of his own history. Strickland’s trying to become the fourth coach in state history to win championships at three difference schools.

Strickland, who won two titles at Batesburg-Leesville and three at Gaffney, is trying to join Shell Dula, Jerry Brown and Joe Turbeville as other coaches who have won championships with three schools. He also will be going for career win No. 300 against Dillon.

The Dillon-Newberry matchup features a pair of Division I quarterbacks in the Bulldogs’ Yafari Werts, a Georgia Southern commit, and Avery McCall, a Coastal Carolina commit. McCall’s trying to become the first player in state history to win four titles as a starting quarterback.

Bailey’s career comes to a close

Quarterback Logan Bailey’s record-breaking season came to a close Friday in Chapin’s 51-21 loss to Union County.

Bailey had 288 yards passing and three scores and also rushed for 47 yards. He finished the season with 67 touchdowns.

Unofficially, Bailey threw for 3,043 yards and had 1,287 rushing this year. He’ll suit up one more time, Dec. 12 in the Touchstone Energy North-South All-Star game.

Silver Foxes’ streaks end

Two of Dutch Fork’s streaks ended in the 49-19 loss to Dorman.

The Silver Foxes’ bid for four straight state championship appearances ended, and so didi its mark of consecutive 10-win seasons. Dutch Fork finished 9-4, the first time it had won less than 10 games since 2009.

The Silver Foxes scored 21 points or less in all four of their losses this season.

Mitchell misses out on milestone

Westwood running back Rudy Mitchell came up just short in his bid for 2,000 yards this season.

Northwestern held Mitchell to 93 yards Friday and the junior finished with 1,962 yards and 23 touchdowns this season.

Playoff Schedule

All games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

Friday

Class 4A, Division I

Dorman at Byrnes

Goose Creek at Fort Dorchester

Class 4A, Division II

Lexington at Spartanburg

Nation Ford at Northwestern

Class 3A

Union County at South Pointe

Myrtle Beach at Midland Valley

Class 2A, Division I

At Benedict College

Newberry vs. Dillon, 7 p.m.

Saturday

At Benedict College

Class A, Division I

Southside Christian vs. Allendale Fairfax, noon

Class A, Division II

Lamar vs. C.E. Murray, 3 p.m.

Class 2A, Division II

Abbeville vs. Silver Bluff, 6 p.m.

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