Two Midlands teams remain in high school football playoffs, by Tyler Cupp
And then their were two. Of the large handful of Midlands teams that made the playoffs in 2018, only the Ridge View Blazers and Dutch Fork Silver Foxes remain alive in the hunt. One is a bit of a surprise while the other is business as usual. The Blazers have had one of the hottest offensive streaks the last couple of weeks and keep building and gaining confidence. Ever since a close 38-35 loss to top power South Pointe, the Blazers have scored 45, 76, and 41 points the last three weeks. The combination of JaVon Anderson at QB and Walyn Napper at WR have been lethal. Anderson is coming off a five TD effort vs. Westwood passing for 360 yards. And in this three-game stretch, he has thrown for almost 1000 yards. Napper is his favorite target too, as he has double digit touchdowns in the last four weeks. Add to that, he has 74 catches for 1400 yards. Those are pretty astounding numbers at this level. He was also part of the state championship basketball team and made people notice back in January. The triple threat athlete is getting D-1 offers for both sports from what I understand.
This will be the second trip to the third round of the playoffs in the last three seasons. I was there two years ago, the last time RV made it this deep. It was a tough loss to South Aiken where penalties were a big factor. Flags were an issue in the Westwood game last week, too. If RV can eliminate those on the road up in Greer, they will no doubt have a chance. The x-factor for RV, however may not be on offense. Deaundre Brown has 11 sacks on the year and his play along with the defensive front may be key in slowing down the Greer offense. Greer has a running back who ran for 320 yards vs York last week. Shrine Bowler Dre Williams is a talent.
It is going to be a raucous atmosphere in the upstate. I have been at Greer for a game. They do the fog for the player entrances and run down the hill. And those fans are rabid. RV is a dangerous team, and could make this very interesting.
And then we have the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes. Absolutely no one should be surprised that they are still alive and in the hunt for a title. I mean, why would you be? They have dominated each and every week and keep rising in the USA Top 25 High School football polls. But Friday poses a couple of different challenges and hurdles for the defending 5A champions. For the first time since 2013, the Silver Foxes will be on the road in the postseason. Because of how seeding works with the high school league, West Florence gets the nod due to the bracket. So not only are they on the road, which presents challenges for any high school team, but the Silver Foxes are facing one of their toughest tests yet. Aliym Ford is a Mr.Football Candidate at running back for West Florence and poses a a threat anytime he touches it. With over 2300 yards rushing, he averages close to 200 per game. Even in a loss to Camden earlier this year, he eclipsed 200 yards. This is a rematch of last year’s first round game when DF won 42-14. But with Ford at tailback and now a new coach in Jody Jenerette (from Aynor) this is a much different team. It’s the longest run for West Florence since 2003. I would like DF more if West Florence had any kind of defense.
Unfortunately the Knights have given up 24 per game. I will say this however, in recent weeks, they have played much better. And that was a huge win for them last week over Fort Dorchester. Slight upset in that one, there. As for this game itself, if West Florence can somehow limit the DF touches with the running of Ford, they can hang in there. And as I say every week with the Silver Foxes, you gotta get pressure on (Ty) Olenchuck and force a turnover. But that is easier said than done, as DF has only turned it over six times all season. Their last road loss was October of 2015. They fell to Ridge View.
Ridge View (8-3) AT Greer (11-1)
Game notes: Greer scores 46 points per game while only gives up 16 per contest. RV meanwhile has given up 18 per game.
The one loss for Greer this season was week 0 when they fell to Byrnes. It was as good a loss as you can have considering Byrnes is still in the playoffs. They play Gaffney in 5A playoffs Friday.
Dutch Fork (10-0) AT West Florence (11-1)
The Silver Foxes have scored over 600 points this season, having put up 50 on every opponent faced. WF is not too shabby either, having scored 567 points this season, which is an average of 47 per. They have scored 50 points eight times this year.
That year in 2013 when DF went on the road, they defeated Byrnes to then make it into the State Championship game. I covered that team and thought playing on the road made them that much better. Not sure how much better THIS team can get but it’s scary to think. If the Silver Foxes do advance, they would be on the road again. They would face the winner of Summerville-Berkeley.
Playoff match ups
Byrnes vs Gaffney
Summerville vs Berkeley
Wren vs Daniel
Myrtle Beach vs North Myrtle
Hartsville vs North Augusta
Chapman vs Union
Chester vs Southside
Dillon vs May River
Wade Hampton vs Hanahan
Abbeville vs Central
Southside Christian vs Saluda
Timberland vs Barnwell
Bamberg vs Carvers Bay
Dixie vs McBee
Wagener-Salley vs Lamar
Baptist Hill vs Green Sea-Floyds
Hemingway vs Lake View
For complete brackets of the action this weekend, check out schsl.org