Playoff Preview – Round 2
By Tyler Shugart
Wow. What a great first week in the High School Football Playoffs. There were a couple of upsets, one huge, a couple of close calls, and a lot of points. However, not all the news was good for local teams, as we said goodbye to three Spartanburg County teams this past Friday Night. Woodruff, Chesnee, and Landrum all saw their seasons come to an end on Friday on the road. I know that trip back to those schools was a tough one especially for the seniors. I was truly impressed with all three teams at different points this season for different reason, and I think the future is bright.
The biggest shock of the night, and probably of the season so far, came in class 5A as the Gaffney Indians, who barely made the playoffs, went up to Rock Hill and beat the Northwestern Trojans. A good number of folks, myself included, had Northwestern as a favorite to win it all. Shows what we know. Games are not won or lost on paper. That’s why we play the game. Injuries are part of the game and one injury in the playoffs, to the right player, could end a team’s season. I think the road to state got a little easier Friday Night with the Trojans departure.
Dorman @ Westside
The Westside Rams are 10-1. That being said I question their strength of schedule. Of the teams they have played this season only two teams on the schedule made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Those teams were 4A South Aiken, who they beat, and 5A Spartanburg, who they did not beat. This team scores a lot of points. They do it mostly through the air. They average over 200 ypg passing, and 135 on the ground. We saw last week that Dorman can go toe to toe with a good passing team. I believe Nation Ford is a better team than Westside.
Pick – Dorman
Spartanburg @ Laurens
The Vikings couldn’t have gotten a better draw in the Class 5A bracket if they had drawn the bracket themselves. The Laurens Raiders are a notoriously sub-par football team. They won their region this year for the first time in 20 years. They did that by going 4-1 in region play. In non region play the story was completely opposite. Losses to Clinton, Chapman, Boiling Springs, Dorman, and a win over Irmo. I don’t think this game will be close. However, if Laurens can establish a running game the Vikings may be in trouble. I just don’t think Laurens has the athletes to stop the Vikings passing attack.
Boiling Springs vs Greenwood
Greenwood is 10-2. Again I question the toughness of the schedule. Their two loses came to TL Hanna and Laurens. Boiling Springs beat both of those teams and beat them pretty convincingly. I look for the Bulldogs to keep rolling right along.
Gaffney @ Hillcrest
Gaffney Indians—Shocking the World, or at least Class 5A
Hillcrest is 7-5. They lost to Gaffney 31-10 in September. I honestly can’t find one stat that tells me why this game should be any different than that one.
Union vs Ridgeview
Union County defeated Aiken Friday night 43-20, but it never even really felt that close. Jackets were just too talented especially at the skill position for the Green Hornets. Week two of the playoffs has the Jackets hosting Ridgeview, a team they lost to earlier in the season 33-30. Jackets lost that game on a last second play. They won’t forget that. Look for Shi Smith and the Jacket offense to put them away and not let them hang around to do it again.
Chapman @ Seneca
Last year Chapman got eliminated from the playoffs in the second round by Seneca. Earlier this year Chapman avenged that lost by defeating Seneca 47-34 back in late August. After losing to Chapman the Bobcats lost their next two games before winning 8 straight. Seneca can score points, but so can Chapman. Look for another offensive shootout. In the end I think the Panthers have a little more help on the offensive side of the ball. Colton Bailey accounted for 8 touchdowns this past Friday. I don’t know if this week’s number will be that big but it could be close.