The first two state champions in South Carolina were crowned last week in different types of games.Scott's Branch (Summerton)
won a squeaker to earn the 1A Division II title, while Abbeville
had a blowout win to claim the 1A Division I championship.
For the third straight year, it was Scott's Branch and Williston-Elko playing for the title. Two years ago Scott's Branch won and last year Williston-Elko won the title. Last Friday, Scott's Branch got a 34-32 win even though Williston-Elko had three chances to tie the game.
Dexter Staley broke off a 69-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left to cut Scott's Branch lead to two points. The Blue Devils got the 2-point conversion, but an illegal shift negated it. On the next play, a pass interference call on Scott's Branch stopped the play and moved the ball back to the 4. An incomplete pass on the next play ended their chances.
"Fate," Scott's Branch coach Leonard Johnson told the Sumter Item. "We were fortunate. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."Traven Parker
threw, caught and ran for a touchdown for Scott's Branch while teammate Jerrell Adams
had two scoring runs as the Eagles ran for 342 yards in the win. Staley ran for three scores for Williston-Elko.
In the 1A Division I game, Abbeville ran for 426 yards in the 42-13 win over Bamberg-Ehrhardt. It was the Panthers' first season back in 1A and their first state since 1996.
The Panthers were led by Ashton Heard, who had 230 rushing yards and two scores on 25 carries, and La'Quavas Watt, who had 167 rushing yards and two scores on 26 carries. Watt also caught a touchdown pass.
Quarterback Tyler Boyles threw two passes and both went for touchdowns.Click here to view MaxPreps' South Carolina football playoff brackets.IT'S DORMAN-BYRNES AGAIN
For the second straight year, two Spartanburg County rivals will travel to Columbia to determine the 4A Division I state championship.
Last year it was the Dorman (Roebuck)
Cavaliers who brought the trophy back up I-26, as they knocked off Byrnes (Duncan)
28-17. This is the third straight year the region foes will have played in the playoffs. Two years ago, Dorman won the regular season game and lost in the playoffs. Last year, Byrnes won in the regular season and lost in the playoffs.
Byrnes is hoping to continue that trend while the Cavaliers hope to end it.
"We hope that will change," Dorman coach Dave Gutshall told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. "But, it shows how close the rivalry is. I promise we're not overconfident. We know who we're playing."
Byrnes coach Chris Miller understands how big the rivalry is becoming.
"It's a great rivalry and has been building and building every year," Miller told the paper. "It's also a friendship. We're out there to fight each other, but shake hands when it's over."NORTHWESTERN BACK IN TITLE GAME
The Northwestern (Rock Hill)
Trojans have lost the last two state title games but have a third chance this season. The Trojans, led by Tennessee-bound quarterback Justin Worley
, will face Greenwood
for the title.
Northwestern lost last year in the state finals to Berkeley and two years ago to South Pointe. While Northwestern has been in the title hunt in recent years, the Greenwood Eagles haven't played for a title since winning the school's eighth in 2006.
The Eagles have four rushers with more than 500 yards, including quarterback D.J. Dunlap, who has run for a team-high 734 yards and thrown for 1,319 yards and 11 scores.
The Eagles defense, led by Shrine Bowler Quinn Backus, will try to slow down a Trojan team that has scored 577 points this season. Backus has 126 tackles this season.
He and the rest of the Eagles will try to stop Worley, who has thrown for 5,052 yards and 59 touchdowns, from hurting them too much.Video of Justin WorleyDILLON-CENTRAL No. 3
The 2A title will again be decided between the Dillon
Wildcats and Central (Pageland)
This will be the third straight meeting for the teams in the state finals, with Dillon winning the last two crowns.
In August, the teams faced off in a jamboree, with Central earning a 14-7 win in that brief game.
"I wanted them to be here," Central running back Mardu Smith
told the Florence Morning News. "They took something from us two years in a row. I wouldn't want to play anyone else but them."
Dillon, which is on a 24-game winning streak, is trying to earn its first undefeated season in school history.
The Wildcats are also trying to become the 15th team to win three straight and the last since Chesterfield accomplished the feat by winning Class 1A Division I titles from '07 to '09.
"It would be great to win three titles," Dillon coach Jackie Hayes told the newspaper. "To just have the opportunity is great. We have been on a tremendous ride here. It just speaks about commitment and says a lot about our players. They have been unbelievable."LOTS OF STAR POWER IN 3A GAME
Two of the state's top college prospects will play in the 3A game and one will be chasing the other.South Pointe (Rock Hill)
defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
garnered a couple of No. 1 rankings on national recruiting lists before the season. He hasn't disappointed, as the uncommitted player has 155 tackles and 26.5 sacks. He's also run for 274 yards (a 9.1 yards per carry average) and nine touchdowns.
He'll be trying to drag down Myrtle Beach
quarterback Everett Golson
, a North Carolina commitment. Golson missed most of the season, but was still highly regarded enough for his talent to make the Shrine Bowl team.
Golson, who has been limited to just six games all season, has thrown for 1,590 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's thrown 18 touchdown passes and just one interception in four playoff games.Video of Jadeveon ClowneyRECRUITING NEWS
The South Carolina Gamecocks are getting a second Jeffery. Calhoun County quarterback Shamier Jeffery
committed to the Gamecocks on Monday and will join his brother, wide receiver Alshon, on the team. "In high school I loved playing with him," Shamier told Palmetto Recruiting. "We know what each other is doing on the field." Shamier, a Shrine Bowl selection, threw for more than 3,200 yards and 41 scores this season.Jason Gilmer is an award-winning writer who has covered football in South Carolina for more than a decade. He does a statewide high school football blog on GoUpstate.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.