With one final week remaining in the high school football regular season, it’s time to catch up and see how the playoff picture is shaping up.
With one final week remaining in the high school football regular season, it’s time to catch up and see how the playoff picture is shaping up. So far, White Knoll has wrapped up Region IV-5A, Irmo clinched Region V-4A and Gray Collegiate already clinched Region IV-2A without playing a single region game due to the forfeits.
Some teams have put themselves in place to win region titles. Others need to get wins to avoid having to bank on being an at-large qualifier for the South Carolina High School Sports League Playoffs. The top four teams in each region qualify for playoff spots with three “at-large” bids awarded in 5A, four in 4A and none in 3A, 2A or 1A.
The crown of Region V-3A will be awarded after Gilbert and Brookland-Cayce square off in the season finale in Cayce Friday, Oct. 27 following a pair of blowout wins by both teams Oct. 20.
Gilbert crushed the Dreher Blue Devils in their final home game of the season to move to an impressive 9-0 on the season. The Indians got on Dreher early and often.
After only one quarter of play, Gilbert led by an impressive margin of 29-0 and by halftime, led 40-6, essentially putting the game out of reach. Gilbert won by a final tally of 53-6 and dismantled the region’s third place team.
The Indians compiled 481 yards of total offense, split pretty muchevenly between rushing and passing, and smothered Dreher on defense, allowing only six points and grabbing two interceptions.
The Bearcats took care of business early and scored 21 points in both the first and second quarters to take a comfortable 42-0 lead to the halftime break. From there, the game was a running clock and Brookland-Cayce cruised to the win.
Now the stage is set for both Gilbert and Brookland-Cayce to play for a region championship Oct. 27. Both teams are 4-0 in region play and outside of the Bearcats’ overtime win against Dreher, neither team has had to sweat out many of these games. Gilbert is 9-0 on the season and is one of only three teams in Lexington County that have yet to lose a game this season (White Knoll and Irmo are the others).
Gilbert won last year’s meeting 35-21 in Gilbert. Brookland-Cayce’s last win in this series came in 2021 with a tight 35-34 win at home. That game was also for a region championship.
Lexington travels to Dutch Fork with both teams sitting at 2-1 in region play and currently tied for second in Region IV-5A. Both teams were defeated by region champion White Knoll and the game Oct. 27 against these teams will decide who finishes in sole possession of second place in the region.
Why is second place important? Because the second place finisher is rewarded with a home playoff game in the first round and more favorable seeding. Losing this game would cause one of these teams to travel to Gaffney or Byrnes in the first round, both of which have stayed in the top ten of the 5A standings all season. The winner will get a more favorable draw by hosting Dorman (who has struggled mightily this season) and Boiling Springs.
These two teams are winless in region play but draw each other for the regular season finale. With three at-large bids being given out in 5A, it’s still possible that both of these teams play in the playoffs, but the winner of this game will secure the coveted fourth place, guaranteed spot into the 5A playoffs.
The game will be played at Chapin and will have a do-or-die feel to it. The winner punches their ticket to the playoffs and the loser will have their fate in someone else’s hands as they hope for an at-large bid.
Swansea can defeat Orangeburg-Wilkinson and still not punch their ticket to the playoffs. However, the Tigers are 0-9 on the season and have struggled to get anything going this season. The season finale against Orangeburg-Wilkinson, who is 1-7 on the season, will provide an opportunity to at least salvage a win and end the season on a high note even if it means they won’t participate in the playoffs.
After the big 35-0 win over Lexington County rival Pelion, the Batesburg-Leesville Panthers have secured a spot in the 2A playoffs. However, hosting a home playoff game is still at play as they can clinch second place with a win over Saluda and a Pelion win over Silver Bluff.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, that’s a long shot. Saluda is 7-2 overall on the season and only has one region loss to Strom Thurmond, who has clinched the Region III-2A title, so beating them on the road will be difficult. But if they do and Pelion can pull off the upset over Silver Bluff, Batesburg-Leesville can host playoff game by finishing second place in the region.
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