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4A/5A Preview Playoffs Round 1

It’s round 1 of the high school football playoffs and here is what’s on tap for out 4A and 5A teams this Friday. 

I’ll start with our Spartanburg Nutrition Game of the Week which is Dorman at T.L. Hanna. Both teams enter the playoffs coming off a loss in Week 10, Dorman fell at Spartanburg while Hanna lost to Hillcrest. 

The Cavaliers dropped a heartbreaker to the Vikings last Friday, as they were outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter of the 28-24 loss. Quarterback Hudson Talley played well in the loss, but Dorman just couldn’t seem to get anything going in the final quarter against the Vikings. The fourth quarter swing meant the Cavs ended up with the three seed, giving them a very difficult opening round match up on the road. 

T.L. Hanna won their first nine games of the season before falling 44-21 to Hillcrest in a game that decided the region champion last Friday. Hanna runs an option style offense that they have nearly perfected as they outscored their opponents by an average of 20 points per game on the season. 

Both teams want to run the football and control the clock in this game. Dorman has struggled stopping good offenses late in games, as they were unable to hold on to late leads against Spartanburg, Gaffney and Byrnes. This could be a problem against the Jackets as they tend to lull their opponents to sleep with the run game, before going over the top for a big pass play late. 

This should be a fantastic game between two talented and well coached teams. In an even match up such as this, it will most likely come down to which team can limit their mistakes. Turnovers and penalties could be costly as both these teams are more than capable of taking advantage of those extra opportunities. My early lean is that Hanna will come out on top, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Coach Gutshall’s team comes out and pulls out a close victory on the road. 

The region champion Spartanburg Vikings will begin the playoffs at home, as they host the Woodmont Wildcats. The Vikings came from behind to beat Dorman, while Woodmont fell to Walhalla 64-32. 

Spartanburg earned the top seed with an impressive come from behind win over their rivals last Friday. This week I don’t think a dramatic comeback will be necessary. The Vikings offense should be able to put up plenty of points against a Wildcats defense that allowed over 33 points per game during the season. Quarterback Raheim Jeter and his talented receivers should be able to produce multiple big plays against a team that surrendered 64 points last week. 

On the defensive side, Spartanburg will be led by Judah McJempsey who finished last week’s game with 15 tackles, including several big stops late in the game. Woodmont will put up some points in this game, but I don’t think they can keep up with the Vikings for four quarters. Spartanburg should win by a couple of scores and advance to the second round. 

The Gaffney Indians will open the playoffs by hosting the Rock Hill Bearcats. Gaffney finished the regular season 10-0, while Rock Hill enters the postseason 2-6. 

I think this game will play out like many of the Indians’ games this year. They will jump out to an early lead and then use a potent run game and a stout defense to win handily. Rock Hill has been defeated by three or more touchdowns in 3 or their last 4 games, and I think this one will follow the same script. Gaffney will handle the Bearcats and move on to the next round still undefeated. 

Boiling Springs will open on the road at Northwestern. 

The Bulldogs will have their hands full facing a Northwestern team that enters the playoffs having won nine straight games. The Bulldogs have struggled on offense for most of the season, and I don’t think they will be able to keep up with a Trojans team that averages over 39 points per game. Coach Tate and his team should be proud to make the postseason, but it will be a short run as they face off against one of the top teams in the upstate. 

Byrnes will host Mauldin at Nixon Field to begin the playoffs. Byrnes rolled over Wade Hampton last week, while Mauldin thumped J.L. Mann 55-23. 

The Rebels defense has been playing much better football the second half of the season. They will need another good showing this week as they face a talented Mauldin offense. Quarterback Gabe Rogers has been fantastic all year long, and I think he continues his excellent play for at least one more week. This could be a high scoring game, but I think the improvements the Rebels’ defense have made will be the difference. It won’t come easily, but I think Byrnes does enough to get the win and advance to the next round. 

In 4A, Greer is on the road at Westside. 

Greer fell to Laurens last week, giving them the fourth seed for the playoffs. They have a tough match up taking on a Rams team that has won four straight and captured the region title. Greer had been playing good football for about a month straight but struggled in their final game of the season. Westside is a team that is now close to full strength after dealing with injuries and Covid issues for most of the year. 

I think Greer keeps it close, but the Rams are playing their best football at the right time of the season. Westside will come out on top in a hard fought, somewhat high scoring game this Friday. 

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