With five high school football teams in the state semifinals, the Midlands are guaranteed to send at least one team to the "Weekend of Champions".
This is the case in Class 3A as undefeated Gilbert (8-0) and Camden (8-0) will meet at Zemp Stadium for the Lower State title.
The Indians earned their first trip to the state semifinals since 1992 following a 37-6 win over Dillon this past Friday at Leonard Price Field. Quarterback Izayah Whiteside threw three touchdowns, running back Colton Mason had 230 yards on the ground and the defense held the Wildcats to their lowest point total in four years.
Camden earned a home game in the Lower State final after second round opponent Oceanside Collegiate was forced to forfeit due to COVID-19 positive tests.
In Class 5A, four-time defending champion Dutch Fork won a 56-42 shootout with Carolina Forest.
Quarterback Will Taylor rushed for five scores and 224 yards and threw for 131 yards and a score in the victory.
The first half featured four ties as the two teams exchanged touchdowns. The Panthers’ Kyle Watkins answered Taylor’s scores with three rushing touchdowns of 74, 6 and 38 yards and a 32-yard touchdown pass to DJ Admil.
With the score tied at 28-28, Taylor found Elijah Spencer with a 55-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left to put Dutch Fork ahead 35-28 at halftime.
A 47-yard touchdown run by Taylor was the lone score of the third quarter. The kick failed, leaving the Silver Foxes up 41-28.
In the fourth quarter, Trace Danley returned a fumble 95 yards to extend the lead to 49-28 after the two-point conversion. Watkins added two more scores and Jarvis Green and Marcus Taylor added two rushing scores for Dutch Fork (8-0).
It was the 48th consecutive game without a loss, the 47th straight in-state win and 22nd consecutive post-season victory for the Silver Foxes.
Standing in the way of a fifth straight trip to the state finals is Sumter, which defeated River Bluff 25-13 at home.
Carrying the Midlands banner in Class 4A is AC Flora. The Falcons rolled past South Pointe 41-14 as Matt Pack rushed for 281 yards and three touchdowns and Markel Townsend added 136 rushing yards and three scores.
AC Flora (8-0) will play host to Catawba Ridge at Memorial Stadium in the Upper State final. The Copperheads defeated Irmo 41-21 at WC Hawkins Stadium as Quinton Jackson had two receiving touchdowns and two interceptions on defense.
Dedrick Starkes rushed for two touchdowns and Jayon Chambers had a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Yellow Jackets.
Another Midlands team playing in an Upper State final in Class 2A is Gray Collegiate. The War Eagles (8-0) set up a playoff rematch with top-ranked Abbeville with a 33-0 win over Christ Church.
KZ Adams rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Tre Robinson rushed for two scores in the win.
The winners of the state semifinals will play at either Harry Parone Stadium at Spring Valley High School or Charles W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College Friday or Saturday for the championship.