Round Two 5A Preview
Only two teams from our area remain alive in the playoffs. The Spartanburg Vikings and the Gaffney Indians. Here’s is a look at the round 3 matchups.
I’ll begin with our Spartanburg Nutrition Game of the Week – Gaffney at Northwestern. Gaffney stayed alive with a 34-26 win over T.L. Hanna, while Northwestern dominated Byrnes 42-3.
Gaffney stayed unbeaten by doing what they have done all season. Run the football, mix in a few big passing plays, and play physical defense. The Indians have been able to impose their will on opponents all season long, but they face a very difficult challenge this Friday. Northwestern comes in with one of the most explosive offenses in the state, led by quarterback Will Mattison who has 49 total touchdowns on the season. The Trojans have also been playing great defense as they held a very good Rebels team to just three points in round 2. I think the Indians will try to grind out long drives when they have the ball to try and keep Northwestern’s offense on the sideline as much as possible. If Tyler Smith can find some running room on Friday, the Indians will be in good position to win this game.
This should be one of the best games of the season, featuring two teams that come in a combined 23-1. I’m looking forward to a very physical game that will probably come down to the wire. Gaffney has been great in the fourth quarter of the few close games they’ve played, and they’ll need to do it again if they want to knock of the Trojans on the road. I’m leaning towards Northwestern winning this game, but if Gaffney can limit the big plays early and not let the crowd involved, they have a great chance of pulling out the victory.
Also, this Friday the Spartanburg Vikings will host the Ridge View Blazers. Spartanburg knocked off Spring Valley 37-29, while Ridge View beat Hillcrest 47-41 in round 2.
Despite the final score, Spartanburg dominated their game with Spring Valley. They led 37-7 before pulling their starters in the fourth quarter. The Vikings haven’t lost since the game against Dutch Fork, a span of six straight wins. The Blazers also come in hot, having won four straight. This game will feature two offenses that have been clicking at the right time of the year. Vikings quarterback Raheim Jeter was excellent again last Friday, connecting with receiver Tiheim Richardson for three scores in the win. While Ridge View put up 47 points on a talented Hillcrest defense.
This game has the makings of a shootout, as the Blazers have topped 40 points in each of their last three games, while the Vikings continue to impress on that side of the ball as well. Spartanburg is peaking at the right time, and if they can limit their penalties and turnovers, I think they will extend their win streak into the upper state finals. With a balanced offensive attack, I believe the Vikings will jump out to an early lead and never look back. The starters will probably have to play all four quarters, but I think Coach Hodge will lead this team back to the semi-finals for the first time since 2016.