Discerning what needs to happen Friday night for certain teams to make the South Carolina Class AAAA high school football playoffs can be a challenging endeavor. Fans across the Rock Hill area want to know if Northwestern will be a Big 16 school, or whether Rock Hill is in danger of missing the postseason, or if a Fort Mill win could vault the Yellow Jackets into the playoffs?
It’s significantly easier to determine the teams that have already clinched places in the postseason. Among the 20 biggest schools in the state, the following 11 have sewn up qualification in the Big 16 playoffs: Wando, Summerville, Sumter, Boiling Springs, Byrnes, Dutch Fork, Hillcrest, Gaffney, Spring Valley, Rock Hill and Lexington. That leaves five spots in Class AAAA Division I.
Teams that could join the Big 16 but haven’t yet clinched postseason qualification include Dorman, Mauldin, Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester and Spartanburg. Ashley Ridge and Fort Dorchester play Friday night in a game that will certainly impact the Big 16 picture, while Dorman and Mauldin seem sure bets to make the Big 16 playoffs.
According to the enrollment numbers from the South Carolina High School League, Northwestern is the 24th largest school in Class AAAA. Spartanburg is the 20th, followed by Stratford (qualified for the playoffs), Goose Creek (qualified) and T.L. Hanna (eliminated from postseason contention). The Trojans should miss the cut-off and enter the Division II playoffs, though Goose Creek and Stratford are in wholly more uncertain situations. Those two schools play each other Friday night.
Teams like Goose Creek, Stratford and Northwestern are in, but there are a number of schools whose coaches and fans will be undertaking the brain-spraining exercise of trying to tally up theirs, and opposing schools from across the state’s, season point totals. Fort Mill’s chances of making the postseason are thin, and if the Yellow Jackets don’t beat rival Nation Ford on Friday night, all the permutations were for naught. Twenty-seven teams make the postseason automatically, but Ed Susi’s team has no shot at one of those positions; Northwestern, South Pointe, York and Nation Ford tied up Region 3-AAAA’s four automatics. Five wild cards make the playoffs in Class AAAA (Big 16 and Division II), and though Rock Hill appears to have an inside track on one, Fort Mill still has a sliver of a chance too.
Region 8 will have a say in the matter. Summerville is safely qualified with a 4-0 region record, but Fort Dorchester, Beaufort, Bluffton and Ashley Ridge are all knotted in second place at 2-2. Beaufort, facing 2-8 Colleton County, likely has the best shot, while Bluffton has to tackle first place Summerville. Undoubtedly, one of the teams that doesn’t grab that region’s two remaining automatic bids will go into the wild-card pool. Likewise in Region 2-AAAA where Spartanburg still has some work to do against Gaffney on Friday to earn a wild card spot.
Clover-York ninth grade game canceled
The Clover-York ninth grade football game scheduled for York on Thursday night has been canceled. York athletics director Steve Boyd adds that the York-Clover junior-varsity football game scheduled for Thursday night will be played at 6 p.m. at York instead of 7:30 p.m.
Five questions with Fort Mill’s Jesse Horine
Q: What kind of fishing do you like to do?
A: I’m a huge outdoorsman. I love water, anywhere it is, no matter the temperature. I love fresh water, going up to the mountains, fishing streams for trout. I also love fly fishing; I love to fly fish off the coast, mostly in the inlets and waterways.
Q: What got you into fishing?
A: My uncle got me into fishing. He lives at Lake Norman. He put a rod in my hand when I was a little kid – I caught my first fish at Lake Murray – and I haven’t put a rod down ever since.
Q: What do you like about fishing with light tackle and fly rods?
A: I like using fly rods more than conventional spinning rods because it’s more of a challenge. Anything that’s more of a challenge to me, that the risk is a little higher of not catching fish, makes me want to get out there and do it and actually succeed at what I’m trying to do.
Q: How long did it take you to get a handle on something tricky like fly fishing?
A: Well, fly fishing is always a challenge. There’s always new casting maneuvers, a ton of different techniques, and I’m still trying to figure it all out. I just started in the last couple of years and I’m starting to move up the list. Hopefully one day I’ll master it, but that’s a long way from now.
Q: Here’s my cheesy segue for this week: you guys will be fishing for a win on Friday against Nation Ford. How excited are you for this chance to graduate from Fort Mill with four wins in four years against your rival?
A: We’re definitely fishing for a win (laughs). Anyway you put it, we’re trying to get the win. I really want to finish out with four wins. It means a lot. These guys really try hard in the offseason, probably harder than most teams around here. It means a lot to see the wins, and the expressions on people’s faces when we accomplish good things.
Visit Heraldonline.com to see the full video interview with Jesse Horine.
Limestone stages Blue-White football scrimmage
Limestone held its first ever Blue-White football scrimmage last Saturday in Gaffney, and locals figured prominently in the proceedings that took place in front of well over 1,000 fans.
According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, former York quarterback Spencer Carroll led the Saints to touchdowns on both of his possessions under center, one at the start of each half. Carroll was one of six quarterbacks who saw action during the scrimmage, as was former Lewisville standout Qua Walls.
Limestone will hold a spring game at the end of spring practice in April 2014, before beginning an independent schedule next fall. Bobby James’ program will ultimately join the South Atlantic Conference of NCAA Division II.
McClure named Big South defensive player of the week
Former Rock Hill Bearcat Mike McClure continued his strong senior campaign in the Chanticleers’ linebacker corps with the Big South’s defensive player of the week award. McClure, who ranks fifth in the league in tackles, registered 11 total stops (five solo, six assisted) and 2.5 tackles-for-loss for the Chanticleers during their win over Charlotte. Saturday’s game was McClure’s third this season with double-digit tackles; he ranks fifth in the Big South in tackles with 63.
Warner named to Big South cross country all-academic team
Former Fort Mill runner Seth Warner, a senior at Presbyterian College, was named to the Big South’s all-academic team for cross country. The 5-foot-9 senior is one of the Blue Hose’s top runners this season, and ran a collegiate-best 5K time of 17:31 for fourth place finish at the Francis Marion Invitational Oct. 18. Warner is majoring in English, with a minor in art history.
Moore named honorable mention all-South Atlantic Conference for women’s soccer
Former Northwestern women’s soccer standout Helena Moore was named honorable mention all-South Atlantic Conference as a freshman at Anderson University. Moore, who saw started in all of Anderson’s 17 matches, earned her first SAC honor. She ranked second on the team in goals (four), in shots (45), shots on goal (19), and her 10 points was also second best. Moore also notched two assists,and highlighted her rookie campaign with a five-point match against Brevard on Oct. 22.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T