High School Sports

One of best ever around here

The final buzzer signaling the end of the 2007 high school football season will sound around 8:15 p.m. today at Williams-Brice Stadium.

When it does, either Chester or Wilson will be the new Class AAA state champion.

There's still the North-South Game in Conway next week and the Shrine Bowl Dec. 15 in Spartanburg.

We won't count those, but hope you are there.

The beauty of this year's championship games is that of the six title games sponsored by the South Carolina High School League, only one team -- Cheraw -- has a chance to be a repeat champion. Cheraw plays Chapman at 3 p.m. today.

As I write this, two champions have already been determined and one was played Friday -- Clover vs. Beaufort in the Class AAAA Division II game.

Class A held its two games last week in Orangeburg. The Division I championship featured a rematch of last year, but Chesterfield won this time and kept Carvers Bay from repeating.

Blackville-Hilda beat Great Falls in the Class A Division II game, taking the title that Lake View won last year.

Does this mean our teams are headed toward parity? Maybe and maybe not.

Byrnes and Summerville are playing for the Class AAAA Division I title at noon today and have annually been near the top of the heap. And they knocked off two other powers, Byrnes over Northwestern and Summerville beating Gaffney, in last week's semifinals.

In the three lower classes, most of the established powers made a run in the playoffs, but only Cheraw survived.

It was good to see Union County get back on track. Reckon the consolidation that brought in players from Lockhart and Jonesville helped? It had to.

Overall, it's been a good time to live in this area if you are an avid football fan. Chester, Clover and Great Falls playing for state championships. In my lifetime, I can't recall that many teams making it to the finals in the same year.

Working with the area coaches and their players, they are saying this season was what they have dreamed of. As a reporter, I can throw myself into the category -- three teams in the same year.

While the teams set a goal to make it to the championship game, my goal is for at least one team to make it. It doesn't matter which team as long as we have one in Columbia with a chance to raise the flag for area teams.

In my years in this business, I've been to and written about championship football games with Great Falls, Lancaster, Lewisville, Northwestern and Rock Hill. My record is 9-6.

This year Chester and Clover was added to the list and by tonight, it would be nice to add two more wins.

Only 12 teams made it to the championship round. For the players, coaches and fans, playing in one is a memory that lasts forever. Think of all those teams, all those players and all those coaches and fans who were so close last week but didn't make it.

Hats off to those guys, too, because this state is becoming a football hotbed.

It doesn't get any better and remember, football practice starts again in late July.