Barry Byers

Barry Byers: Time to size up some intriguing high school playoff games

Bluffton begins play tonight; all others face off on Friday night

bbyers@heraldonline.comNovember 7, 2012 

Good to be back after missing some time with medical issues, but I’m back and it couldn’t be at a better part of the high school football season.

The Class AAAA playoffs start on Friday (Bluffton plays on Thursday) and there are some very intriguing scenarios.

Take the Class AAAA Division I lower bracket, for example. There are four teams in it from Region 3-AAAA and each is matched up against outside competition. If they all win, the second round will have York playing at South Pointe and Fort Mill playing at Nation Ford.

Wow. that would be football heaven to us who really love the game.

Look at the upper bracket and you will find Northwestern, the region’s other qualifying team.

The Trojans have Easley in the first round and should have a free pass to the bracket championship game in the second round with a matchup against either South Florence or Wade Hampton.

If so, and the Trojans are a heavy favorite in the first two rounds, either Goose Creek or Bluffton should the team Northwestern has to beat to get to the state championship.

It would be the Trojans’ fourth trip to the title game in five years.

South Pointe is not far behind. In just their sixth season, the Stallion have a Class AAAA Div. II state championship and won the Class AAA title last year.

If they go back, it will be their fourth trip in six years.

The two Class AAAA games will be played at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, as well at the Class AAA game on Dec. 1. The Division II game is scheduled at noon, followed by the Division I game at 3 p.m. and Class AAA at 7.

Chester is still alive in Class AAA and has the weapons to make it back for the third time in the last six seasons.

The two Class AA championship games will be played at Columbia’s Benedict College on Nov. 3o. Benedict will host the two Class A title games next Friday.

I followed the teams closely while out and there were some final scores that caught me by surprise. But it’s football and any team can win.

It’s time for BB’s annual playoff predictions for Class AAAA.

I’ll likely eat crow or have egg on my face but I’ve been close in recent years. The picks are made on football only, not on personal preferences.

My goal every year is to have at least one team in the state championship, and y’all guys have not let me down.

So here we go.

Class AAAA Division II

Round 1 upper bracket: Goose Creek over Conway; Bluffton over South Florence; West Florence over Wade Hampton; Northwestern over Easley.

Round 2: Goose Creek over Bluffton; Northwestern over West Florence.

Bracket championship: Goose Creek over Northwestern.

Class AAAA Division II

Round 1 lower bracket: South Pointe over Cane Bay; York over Laurens; Greenwood over Fort Mill; Nation Ford over North Augusta.

Round 2: South Pointe over York; Greenwood over Nation Ford.

Bracket championship: South Pointe over Greenwood.

State championship: Goose Creek over South Pointe.

This one was hard. South Pointe will have a tough time beating York, which won the meeting in the regular season. If York wins, it will be no surprise.

Northwestern will have a tough time beating Goose Creek, a team filled with DI prospects and the No. 1 player in the state in wide receiver Tramel Terry.

The Gators also have the No. 7 player in linebacker Gerald Turner and No. 8, defensive end Jalen Stevens.

Class AAAA DI

Round 1 upper bracket: Gaffney over Ashley Ridge; Stratford over Dorman; Summerville over Spartanburg; Byrnes over Spring Valley.

Round 2: Gaffney over Stratford; Byrnes over Summerville.

Bracket championship: Byrnes over Gaffney.

Round 1 lower bracket: Dutch Fork over Hillcrest; Blythewood over Boiling Springs; Irmo over Ridge View; Wando over White Knoll.

Round 2: Dutch Fork over Blythewood; Wando over Irmo.

Bracket championship: Dutch Fork over Wando.

State championship: Byrnes over Dutch Fork.

That’s right. A Columbia-area team in the Class AAAA state finals. Doesn’t happen often. The last time I can remember is when Rock Hill beat Irmo in the 2002 Big 16 game.

Let the messages begin. I’m sure there will be plenty and I appreciate differing opinions. After all, that’s what columns are about.

Let the playoffs begin and good luck to your team.

bbyers@heraldonline.comBarry Byers 329-4099

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