Round 3 high school football playoffs preview, by Tyler Cupp
By Tyler Cupp
EMERALD (9-3) AT FAIRFIELD CENTRAL (7-3)
The Griffins of Fairfield Central put Class 3A on notice last week when they knocked off Newberry. In a slight upset, they defended home field by knocking off the Bulldogs 14-7. Emerald is up next for Fairfield and comes to Winnsboro after blowing out Broome 49-21 in the second round. Emerald was 1st place in region 2-3A. The Vikings give up 22 points per game while the Griffins allow just 15 per contest. It does not get any easier for Fairfield on defense as they contained Amir Abrams a week ago, and now face another great back from Emerald. Keshawn Settles ran for nearly 400 yards on the ground last week.
Fort D won last year 28-21 which was the first round of the playoffs in 2016. If the Vikings want another crack at Dutch Fork, they are going to have to take down the #1 team in class 5A. University of South Carolina commit Dakereon Joyner has been sensational accounting for 44 total touchdowns this year. Here’s the interesting thing on this game. Preparing for a triple option/double wing offense is hard to do this late in the season. The only team I see on Fort D’s schedule that I believe runs that type of attack is Goose Creek (a team that’s way down this year). So if any team has a chance to knock off Fort D, its a team like Spring Valley who plays great defense, and runs a very tricky offense. Could be a real run game here.
Spring Valley is going for win number 13 on the season, which hasn’t happened since 2013.
Second straight year these two teams have met in the playoffs. The War Horses of Barnwell won last year 44-41 in a shootout. Barnwell is also equiped with two 1,000 yard rushers. Even though Batesburg has lost 5 games this season, they have all been pretty close. They are certainly one of the hottest teams in the state, looking to make a run back to the state championship. Barnwell allows just 11 points a game whereas Batesburg has been scoring 29 per game.
The Bearcats are looking to get back to the Lower State title game for the second straight year. Timberland has been on a roll as of late. After losing 2 of their first 3 to start the season, they have won 7 in a row. Coach Rusty Charpia has done a phenomenal job getting this team so deep in the post season. They got a good draw but still have battled a rash of injuries midseason including the QB. Reed Charpia has been healthy for this run at Quarterback and by looking at the box scores has played very well. Rasheed Taylor has produced on offense too. Hopefully BC can represent the Midlands once again and get a win playing the role of Road Warriors.
Can the dream season continue for the Diamond Hornets? LR rallied from 24 down to defeat Myrtle Beach last week and finished it off with a hail mary pass for a score. This team might be playing on house money, but they also believe. This is a dangerous team of emotion and all kinds of talented athletes here. They are making football matter at LR. This is the first match up between the teams since 2005. Hartsville is disciplined offense and will give LR all kinds of fits. I think the defensive ends of the Diamond Hornets vs the tackles of Hartsville. Its going to be all about if those ends play their assignments and not allow the big play. Tyion Evans for Hartsville is maybe the best junior running back in the state.
These teams were supposed to play on September 8 but the game was cancelled due to the hurricane Irma. Silver Foxes have won the previous two meetings which were both last year. Per Scfootballhistory.com Tom Knotts is going for his 90th win with Dutch Fork High School. He is close to 400 in his career which dates back to Independence High in Charlotte, NC. Dutch Fork has been a different team since they lost to Fort D early in the year. They have also been way more dominant and efficient on offense since Bryce Thompson has been the starter at running back. The D-1 prospect has scored at least 3 touchdowns each game in the last 8 or so weeks.
What a game and atmosphere this is going to be here. Two undefeated clubs. Only one can move on to the Lower State Championship. This is the deepest run for the Indians in football since 1992. Dillon has been one of the most dominant programs in high school football in SC. They have appeared in 5 straight state championships. Gilbert is averaging nearly 500 yards per game while Dillon only allows 11 per contest. So something has gotta give here.