Week 10 Recap
All good things must come to an end. Yes.. With last night’s games, the 2021 high school football regular season has come to an end. But.. Lucky us.. Something even better is coming next week! The Playoffs are here! *Insert Jim Mora here*
The final week of the regular season was not without it’s drama with another region championship up for grabs in our area and playoff seeding still to be finalized. So, let’s dive on into the action.
Spartanburg 28 Dorman 24
*Spartanburg Region 2-5A Champions*
If there was ever a game that puts a Mark Hodge coached football team in a nutshell, this was it. Spartanburg’s offense was dead. Really. There were egregious dropped passes, they could not run the ball. Spartanburg had absolutely nothing going for them. The Vikings only had 5 first downs over the first 2 quarters of the game.
Conversely, Dorman once again showed their identity on offense and established a ground game from the early going. They ran the ball at will on the Vikings through the first 3 quarters before Spartanburg’s defense went full Coach Yoast (“Remember the Titans”). “I don’t want them to gain another yard! They cross that line of scrimmage and I am taking every one of you out…” I don’t know if that is what Mark Hodge told them or not. But, it worked out all the same.
This Spartanburg team made a furious comeback, absolutely shutting Dorman’s offense down in the 4th quarter. They held Dorman to just 8 yards in the final quarter while Raheim Jeter managed to find his stride. The Vikings did not panic, but rather moved the ball efficiently, taking long drives that ended in TDs. They started the 4th with a 4 minute 75 yard TD drive capped by a 2 yard TD run by Raheim Jeter. Their next drive was an 11 play 58 yarder that ended with a 1 yard TD run by Drek Carter. With only 1:24 to play in the game, the Vikings started their last drive at their own 28 yardline. It took only 3 plays for Raheim Jeter to hit Andrew Dantin along the near sideline, who broke a tackle and took off 62 yards for the go-ahead TD.
Dorman got the ball back down 28-24 with :59 to play in the game. But, once again, the Viking defense came up big as Hudson Talley was picked off by Jacob Mattison to seal the comeback win and the region championship.
So, how was this a Mark Hodge team in a nutshell? This kind if gutsy, come-from-behind win reminded me a lot of his 2016 Chapman team that came back to beat Dillon to win the 3A state championship. We have seen his teams consistently not give up and fight to the end. That was exactly what happened last night.
Congratulations to the Vikings, the Spartanburg fans, and to Coach Hodge/his staff. The turnaround since he took over as head coach has been tremendous. This Spartanburg program was in the same shoes as South Carolina is right now, having won 6 games in 2 years prior to him coming along. Last year, he won 4 and the improvement was evident. But, Spartanburg fans could not possibly have dreamed that they would win the region and go undefeated in region play, losing only to Dutch Fork in the regular season in only his 2nd season. Mad props to Mark Hodge and his staff and even more mad props to this team. Next week, the Vikings will host Woodmont in the first round. Look out! This team very well could make a deep run if they play with the same grit and heart they did last night throughout the playoffs.
Dorman is still in the playoffs, locked in as the 3 seed. The thing for them going forward is how they respond to this tough loss tonight. Ideally, you’d hope for a potential rematch between Spartanburg and Dorman in the playoffs, but if the Cavs let this get in their heads (which I don’t think Dave Gutshall will let happen), they could struggle to get back on their feet and find themselves eliminated, since the Cavaliers will go on the road to take on a very good and very tough TL Hanna next week.
Byrnes 56 Wade Hampton 8
Nothing to really see here, in all honesty. This game was chalk. So I won’t even spend any time breaking it down (since I don’t have any stats to use anyway). Byrnes went and hung a crooked number on the Generals early and blew them out. Just as you would expect.
With Spartanburg beating Dorman outright to win the region, Byrnes is cemented as the number 2 seed from 2-5A. They will host Mauldin in the first round next week.
Greenwood 45 Boiling Springs 21
Boiling Springs finally broke through to the win column and locked themselves in to play at least 1 playoff game last week with a win at Fort Mill. They did not have much time to enjoy it as they had to wrap up their regular season with the best team in the upstate in 4A. The Bulldogs hosted Greenwood, and things actually got off to a great start. The Dogs drew first blood as Carmelo Martin took off for an 80 yard TD on the very first play of the game. It was short-lived as Greenwood scored 21 unanswered to go up 2 TDs at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Bulldogs would manage 2 more scores in this one. Qb Ketrone Adams had a 17 yard TD run late in the 2nd quarter, and last week’s Player of the Week, RB Kam Williams added a 1 yard TD rush with 7:37 to play in the game.
The Bulldogs were simply overmatched as they have been all this season, but still, they show flashes of potential to build on for 2022. Next week, the Bulldogs will travel to District 3 Stadium in Rock Hill, where they will face a familiar first round playoff foe to play for some added reps and pride. They will go to take on the Northwestern Trojans, who are arguably the best 5A team in the upstate right now.
Gaffney 48 Fort Mill 14
This game was chalk, just like Byrnes-Wade Hampton. The Indians hosted the Yellow Jackets from Fort Mill for their final region game, and they didn’t break much of a sweat. Gaffney’s stifling defense continued to do their thing, as they held Fort Mill to 129 total yards and only 6 first downs. They also forced 3 turnovers (2 picks, one from Landon Bullock and another from Tre Smith, as well as a turnover on downs). Fort Mill’s 2 scores came in garbage time.
Offensively, the Indians put up 368 yards of total O and only turned the ball over once. Tyler Smith and Ken Littlejohn both had 2 rushing TDs. JaDarius Littlejohn (the certainties of life.. Death, taxes, & a couple of guys named Littlejohn playing for Gaffney) had a TD reception as well.
Gaffney is locked in as the 1 seed, having won region 3-5A last week. They will host the Rock Hill Bearcats in first round action next week.
Laurens 49 Greer 35
The Raiders didn’t waste any time jumping on top in this one. The Raiders got a big return on the opening kickoff and scored on their first play from scrimmage. Greer responded with a 6 play 69 yard drive capped by a LaDainnian Martin 2 yard TD run to tie it. But, that would be the only score the Jackets mustered until the 4:24 mark in the 3rd quarter, when Hollis Crosby found Malakhi Saunders down the sideline for a 48 yard catch and run for a TD.
Laurens had built up a 35-7 lead prior to that point, and went to the 4th quarter trailing 42-14. But, the Yellow Jackets didn’t just lay down. Greer outscored Laurens 21-7 with a pair of Izzy Rhodes TD runs and a 3 yard TD pass from Crosby to Peytan Diggins over the final 10:00 of the game, but they were just in too deep a hole to dig out of.
Greer will have a tough test on the road to open the 4A playoffs as the 4 seed. The Yellow Jackets will travel to Anderson and take on Westside.
Chapman 48 Broome 41
The Chapman Panthers clinched region 3-3A last week on the road with a 38-35 overtime win at Union. So, tonight they would have been well within logic to take it easy and rest their key players. But, that is not the way of the Chapman football teams we have become accustomed to over the last 10 years. Chapman rode a big night from running back Derrick Miller, who broke the single game school rushing yard record with 318 yards and 4 TDs on 31 carries to a hard-fought win against a talented and scrappy Broome. Drew Settle was also stellar passing the ball as usual, going 15 for 22 with 249 yards and 3 TDs.
The Centurions traded blows with Chapman all night long, and were tied at 41 with 10:00 left in the game before Chapman went on a long drive to put it away.
In spite of the loss, the Centurions may still be in the playoffs as the 4 seed, but I cannot get confirmation of that until tiebreakers are settled and the brackets are finalized. If they are in, they will travel to Southside.
Chapman will host Palmetto next week.
Clinton 39 Woodruff 17
This game was dominated by Clinton, which was actually somewhat surprising. Woodruff has had issues on defense all season, but they have had the offense to hide it and overcome it with the outstanding play of running back Demarian Elmore and QB Carson Tucker.
Things in this one got off to a slow start, as neither team would crack the scoreboard until Clinton finally took the lead with 3:42 to play in the 1st. From there, things snowballed on Woodruff. The Red Devils built up a 31-0 lead that held until the 4th quarter. They outscored Clinton 17-7 in the final quarter, but obviously, they had dug themselves into too big a hole to get out of.
Clinton will go to Berea for their first round matchup whereas Woodruff will go to Powdersville.
Union County 44 Emerald 20
The Yellow Jackets very nearly pulled off the upset of the season a week ago when they hosted Chapman. This week, they not only were looking for their first win of the season, but they were playing for a chance to still make the playoffs. They had to rely on point differential tie breakers to try to get the 4 seed. The Jackets also had a favorable matchup for it with an Emerald team that has struggled.
Unfortunately for Union, only one of the 2 was meant to be last night. Union managed to get their first win. But, they ended up giving up too many points in the first 3 quarters, where they were in a back and forth shootout. They led by 15 going to the 4th, up 35-20.
Ja’Bryson Hunter finished the regular season strong with 3 passing TDs. Ben Black had 2 more passing TDs for Union in the game. Lastly, Kevon Hughes contributed in a big way with 3 TD receptions.
This season was full of ups and downs for Union, starting with a 2 week delay due to covid, and then the injury bug hit them hard. But, over the last few weeks, they showed a lot of potential and improved drastically. Much like Boiling Springs. I don’t know what the future holds for the Yellow Jackets, but I believe it will be much better.
Mid Carolina 35 Chesnee 14
Perks of playing in a 4 team region where everyone makes the playoffs? Number 1, you make the playoffs. You just have to fight for seeding. Number 2, you get an extra non-region game to tune up before the playoffs. Chesnee took a trip to Prosperity, SC to take on the Mid Carolina Rebels. Chesnee had found their stride over the last 2 weeks with a couple of big region wins. They upset Landrum on a last second fieldgoal in a furious 4th quarter comeback at home 2 weeks ago and then convincingly beat Blacksburg last week. No doubt the Eagles were confident with a struggling opponent in Mid Carolina, who was 1-6 coming into last night with 4 consecutive losses.
Unfortunately, Chesnee struggled as they were in a shootout up until early in the 2nd quarter when the Rebels went on a 22-0 run, jumping ahead to a 35-14 lead.
Chesnee was led offensively by Adonis Burgess and Nick Hofer, who combined for 135 yards and 2 TDs. Burgess had 75 rushing yards and Hofer accounted for 55 yards. Tyquan Dawkins and Austin Nigford combined for 19 and a half tackles on the night for the Eagle defense.
Because the bracket is not official yet, I do not know where they will go in the playoffs next week. But, again, the Eagles are automatically in. With the right matchup, the Eagles are capable of putting on a little run.
St. Joe’s 21 Landrum 17
The Landrum Cardinals needed only to beat St. Joe’s on the road to force a 3 way tie for region 2-2A between them, St. Joe’s, and Chesnee. But, that is much easier said than done. The Knights were undefeated in region play and they were scoring points in bunches. Landrum would need to play ball control and melt the clock, scoring on long drives. (That about accurately sums up how to win any game in this region).
Landrum started off doing exactly that. They went on a long time-killing drive to start the game, taking over 6:00 to go down the field to take the 7-0 lead midway through the 1st. The Knights responded in the way you have to with a team that plays ball/clock control. Scoring quick. They answered with a 2 minute drive to tie the game at 7.
After trading scores, Landrum took their 2nd lead of the night on a 9 yard TD run by Jesse Bowers late in the 3rd quarter. St. Joe’s answered with another quick TD drive to reclaim the lead 21-17 with about 10:00 to play in the game. That would end up the final score as the Cards took their 3rd straight tough loss and the Knights wrapped up the region 2-2A title outright. But, all is not negativity and sadness for Landrum. The Cardinals are still in the playoffs, as like Chesnee, they are automatically in. But, having dropped their last 3 region games, they fell to the #3 seed. Landrum will hit the road next week to take on Newberry in the 1st round.