For more than a decade the old Region 2-AAAA was recognized as the strongest in the Palmetto State. ESPN went as far as calling it the best in the nation.
Back then it was an eight-team juggernaut with Gaffney, Spartanburg, Dorman and Boiling Springs to the west, and Rock Hill, Northwestern, Lancaster and Chester in The Herald's coverage area. From 1989 to 1999 the region sent 13 teams to state title games and came away with seven championships.
The region was dismantled with realignment but the teams from that region continued to dominate and reach the state finals. Since 2000 there have been 13 more title-game appearances by the group and another eight championships.
Flash forward to 2010.
The region is close to being restored to its former self. Now called Region 3-AAAA, five teams are reunited.
Dorman is in Region 2 with Boiling Springs. Chester was moved to Class AAA and has played for two state championships in the last three years.
Clover, a longtime AAA school, is a perfect fit for Region 3-AAAA both geographically and competitively. The Blue Eagles won the 2007 Class AAAA Division II championship.
It is region time at last and two Region 3-AAAA teams will put their undefeated records on the line.
Northwestern takes its 6-0 record on the road to 3-3 Spartanburg. The game is a rematch of the 2001 championship game. Spartanburg came out on top in that one but what's interesting is that the final four teams in the playoffs - Northwestern, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Dorman - were all part of that power region from the 90s.
The Trojans have played for three championships this decade (2001, 2008 and 2009).
Clover is also unscathed through the non-region portion of the schedule. It seems like the Blue Eagles, 6-0, played a long time ago and a long way from home. In reality the team played its last game on Sept. 24 at Fort Walton Beach, Fla. They've had two weeks to prep for Gaffney, which enters the game with a 4-2 mark.
The Indians have three state titles on their resume this decade (2003, 2005 and 2006).
Lancaster plays at Rock Hill tonight. The Bruins last trip to State was in 1989 under coach Johnny Roscoe. Lancaster fell to Northwestern in that game.
Rock Hill, 5-1, won championships in 2002 and 2004.
Region 3-AAAA is a bit smaller than its predecessor but the parity of its current inhabitants remains the same and should make for an entertaining final five weeks of the regular season.