Thursday, November 28, 2013

Week 14 preview/Wk 13 review

Hard to believe, but we are nearly to the end of the season. I am writing this post from Athens, OH, where I am visiting family. It is snowy there, and it barely got above freezing today. Most of y'all have eaten your turkeys and your stuffing. I hope you're ready for very important games.

Last week, one of the more stunning outcomes of the last several seasons occurred. Goose Creek lost at home to South Pointe. They hadn't lost a game on the field since September of 2011. In this high school football climate we are in now, that's almost unbelievable. South Pointe went in and beat them 30-27, but Goose Creek added a late TD. South Pointe led most of the game. South Pointe is now on to the state semis.

Stratford upset South Florence in a grudge match of a game earlier in November. Bishop England also lost.

This is the full schedule from the Post and Courier, and my picks to win for each game in bold.
All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
State championships
at Benedict College, Columbia
Division II-A
Hunter-Kinard-Tyler vs. Timmonsville, noon
Division I-A
Carvers Bay vs. Christ Church, 3 p.m.
State semifinals
Division I-AA
Fairfield Central at Cheraw
Timberland at Dillon
Class AAA
Chapman at Daniel
Marlboro County at Myrtle Beach
Division I-AAAA
Dutch Fork at Byrnes
Sumter at Summerville
Division II-AAAA
South Pointe at Stratford
North Augusta at Northwestern
Enjoy the games!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Week 13 preview/wk 12 review

The nights are starting earlier. The games are getting fewer and fewer. The playoffs are getting to be very important. 4A teams start the second round of playoffs this week; other schools start their third game. SCISA schools are done after this weekend. Last week was one which was interesting throughout the Lowcountry.

By far the biggest surprise (which many of the pundits picked) was Marlboro County going into Hanahan and ending their perfect season by a score of 7-6, on a defensive touchdown. Hanahan was picked by many to be the state champion in 3A. They didn't make it past their second game in the playoffs. Anything is possible when turnovers dilute the home field advantage.

The 4A teams did well last week. Goose Creek blew out a 3-8 Wade Hampton team 76-0. Stratford beat up Nation Ford 41-6 in a game that was looked at as an upset possibility. Summerville beat Ashley Ridge in a 21-7 final which was very competitive, just like their previous battle which ended 39-33 in favor of the Greenwave. Beaufort beat Blythewood by a 23-15 final. All four teams that were expected to win won last week.

In 2A, Timberland shut out Aynor 41-0, while Lake Marion did away with Waccamaw locally. BE shut out Andrews 30-0 while Garrett lost to Bamberg-Ehrhardt. Those two face off this week in a big game. Woodland travels to top-seeded Silver Bluff.

In 1A, we are in the state semis, as Carvers Bay hosts Allendale-Fairfax, and Lamar hosts Christ Church in D1, while all local teams are out of the D2 bracket. SCISA finishes up this weekend. Colleton Prep and Hilton Head Christian are the only local teams playing for state titles at that level. Both title games are Saturday at Benedict College. HHC plays at Noon, Colleton Prep at 3:30.

Here is the schedule for everyone:

4A: Boiling Springs (8-4) at Summerville (10-2): The Green Wave host Boiling Springs from the Spartanburg area in the second round of the playoffs. Boiling Springs upset Gaffney last week, spoiling a Gaffney match-up that many were predicting. Boiling Springs is good in its own right. They have one of the best offenses in the state. They've scored 528 points on the year, including 70 against Mauldin, 34 against Byrnes, 54 in a regular season game against Gaffney, and 45 against York.

The problem is all those games were losses. Summerville has their usual grind-it-out style under Coach John McKissick. Amazingly, it has been six seasons (2007) since Summerville made the state semifinals in 4A, back when A.J. Green was still playing. That year they made it to the state finals. Can Summerville stop their later-round playoff blues?

South Pointe (10-2) at Goose Creek (12-0): A juicy game from John Fulmer Field in Goose Creek. Goose Creek dominated out manned Wade Hampton last week 76-0. A newspaper report said that the Gators used over 100 players in this game. Coach Chuck Reedy basically went through the JV rosters and played everyone. It will be different this week. South Pointe does not have Jadeveon Clowney (like they had in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs) but they still have a lot.

South Pointe has gone a perfect 6-0 on the road this year. Their best road win was at former Stallions coach Bobby Carroll and York, 27-10. They have a very balanced offense. Anthony Johnson has scored 12 TDs as a WR, but four other players have at least three on the year. Marveon Mobley leads the defense with seven interceptions. Can South Pointe make it a game and perhaps pull a major upset?

Stratford (10-2) at South Florence (12-0): Ray Stackley has been known as a good scheduler for several seasons to try and boost up points for playoffs. Scheduling South Florence in the regular season was big. Both teams came in perfect for the November 1 game in Florence. South Florence came out on top in the rain, 26-14. Three weeks later, they will meet again.

Stratford QB Jacob Park had his worst game of the year there, only completing 11 of 35 passes for just 130 yards. The Knights are coming in three weeks later with a game plan, having just practiced for the Bruins a few weeks ago. Can South Florence's potent defense shut down Stratford like they did three Fridays ago? That's the key.

Beaufort (9-3) at North Augusta (11-1): Beaufort draws one of their longest road trips of the year for their second-round playoff battle at North Augusta. This year they've already beaten Aiken and Carolina Forest on very long road trips. It will be different against a North Augusta team that only lost to Lexington 18-14 October 11.

Last week, they beat Laurens 42-11, as WR Keyon West had 147 receiving yards and two TDs. They rushed for 177 yards and passed for 204. Beaufort has been a surprise for a lot of the season. Can they pull an upset? It's possible.

2A: Loris (9-2) at Timberland (9-2): Timberland heads into this third-round game in the 2A playoffs with a lot of confidence. They have found their stride in their first two playoff games, winning by a combined score of 92-0. They have won six games in a row after starting 3-2. Loris is a better team than the two previous ones they've faced. They shut out Ridgeland/Hardeeville last week. Amazingly, five of their last six games have been shutouts. The only non shutout was a 28-12 win over Aynor the final game of the regular season. This will be a good one in St. Stephen.

Woodland (10-1) at Silver Bluff (10-1): This will be a battle as the Wolverines make the trip to the east side of Aiken to face Silver Bluff. This will be a good game to watch, as Silver Bluff hasn't lost since their opener against Strom Thurmond, and has been known as one of the best teams in the state in 2A. Can Woodland upset the Bulldogs and head to the state semifinals?

Bamberg-Ehrhardt (6-5) at Bishop England (9-2): Bamberg-Ehrhardt beat Garrett 43-0 last week, but they face a tougher challenge against Bishop England. They got a bye in the playoffs due to their good region record. Bishop England has won nine straight this year, not losing since the second game of the year. Except for 26 against Garrett, in their last 7 games they've allowed 0, 0, 0, 7, 13, and 0 points respectively. That's pretty good at any level. Can the Battling Bishops hold serve at home?

We will find out a lot this Friday. Prayers to John F. Kennedy and his family as this Friday is the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas. I hope everyone enjoys the games.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week 12 preview/wk 11 recap

The weather has gotten colder. Snow was falling in parts of South Carolina on Tuesday night. It's playoff time for everyone. Smaller schools had their first round of playoffs last week. The 4A schools now are getting in the act.

Last week, Summerville clinched their region title, and Ashley Ridge along with Fort Dorchester earned playoff berths. Goose Creek beat Stratford 14-7 in front of a crowd of about 8,000; while West Ashley clinched a winning season (while Cane Bay went to 0-11) and Wando lost at Sumter.

In 3A, Hanahan beat Southside, but all other Region 8-3A teams lost (including Berkeley getting shut out by Myrtle Beach). In 2A, Bishop England and Woodland had byes in the playoffs; along with Timberland; Garrett upset Lee Central, while North Charleston lost at Barnwell. In 1A, St. John's lost to Hemingway at home; Baptist Hill lost at Carvers Bay. Cross blew out Lincoln 69-0, while Branchville beat Timmonsville and Military Magnet beat Creek Bridge.

In SCISA, Northwood Academy beat Spartanburg Christian; Porter-Gaud lost to Hammond; Hilton Head Christian won over Thomas Sumter; Palmetto Christian upset Calhoun Academy; Colleton Prep beat St. Andrews, Holly Hill lost; and Dorchester Academy beat Trinity-Byrnes. In 8-man James Island Christian lost to Clarendon Hall; Beaufort Academy lost to W.W. King; and Cathedral lost to Carolina Academy locally.

That runs down last week. This week's schedule:

I will run down all the local games for y'all here.

I-AAAA (upper): (16) Wando (4-7) at (1) Byrnes (10-1): Byrnes has been a juggernaut for the last decade or more in South Carolina high school football, having won two of the last three state championships in their 4A division. Wando is 4-7, and suffered a ton of injuries during the season, having to move a lot of players around. Wando did win two of their four region games, and played a good schedule, leading to the 16th seed. They used two QBs for most of the season, but now rely on sophomore QB Bailey Hart.

Anything can happen in the playoffs. Stranger things have happened. Undefeated Rock Hill lost in the 2009 playoffs, first game. Byrnes though looks to have an edge at most positions, with QB Shuler Bentley leading the Rebels.

(12) Fort Dorchester (7-4) at (5) Dutch Fork (8-3): Fort Dorchester is a team that has gotten better throughout the season. The Patriots finished winning three of their final four contests, including a 14-0 shutout of Ashley Ridge in the regular season finale. They finished 7-4 on the year, and junior QB Kobe Garrett has steadily improved. Against Beaufort in a 24-21 loss, he ran for 202 yards and a TD.

He is also the leading ball carrier with over 1100 yards rushing. D'Monte Bailey and Corey Rawlings are the leading WRs. Junior Myles White is the leading tackler with 70. Dutch Fork is led by QB Derek Olenchuk, who has thrown for 29 TDs this year. They gave Goose Creek a very tough fight before falling 35-21 in late September. This will be an interesting game. Can the Patriots pull off the upset, or will Dutch Fork hold serve?

I-AAAA (lower): (14) Ashley Ridge (4-7) at (3) Summerville (9-2): This game will continue a rivalry which went Summerville's way, but by just 6, 39-33 two weeks ago at McKissick Field. They will play again with everything on the line. In 2011, it was Summerville and Fort Dorchester with everything on the line, this time it is the Green Wave and Swamp Foxes. QB Sawyer Bridges has led Summerville to this 9-2 record, becoming a capable field general through the season.

Ashley Ridge is led by Chandler Avenel, a junior. Through a rainy night two weeks ago, the two QBs battled tooth and nail before Summerville eventually ran out the clock. As is the potential in any rivalry playoff game, anything can happen. Coach John McKissick will have to have his Green Wave ready to play from the start against upset-minded Ashley Ridge.

II-AAAA (upper): (16) Wade Hampton (3-8) at (1) Goose Creek (11-0): Goose Creek begins its playoffs with a game against 3-win Wade Hampton from Greenville. The Gators had a very emotional game last week against Stratford, winning 14-7 to finish the regular season undefeated. Now, they begin the playoffs against the Generals.

The Generals won just one region game, 14-6 against Riverside. They have allowed 405 points on the season. As I said about Byrnes, anything can happen in these games, but Goose Creek looks like the better team. This site has more about their roster and some highlights from previous games:

(12) Nation Ford (7-4) at (5) Stratford (9-2): Nation Ford makes the long trip from the Charlotte area down to the Lowcountry to face Stratford, who has dropped their last two contests after starting the year 9-0. Nation Ford is 4-1 on the road this year, but have lost three games to South Pointe, York and Northwestern by at least 42 points. Last week they beat Fort Mill.

Jacob Park will be hoping to improve his performance during the playoffs, as Stratford is trying to better their performance from the last two years, when they've fallen in the second round. Nation Ford has a shot in this one if they stop Stratford's offense.

II-AAAA (lower) (11) Blythewood (7-4) at (6) Beaufort (8-3): Blythewood heads down to the Lowcountry to face off against an improving Beaufort team. After missing the playoffs last year, Coach Mark Clifford had a much improved squad this year. Beaufort won eight ball games, with the three losses Goose Creek, at Summerville and a surprise on a Thursday night at Ashley Ridge.

They will face off against a 7-4 Blythewood team led by a sophomore QB, David Israel. Since being the starter, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns. He is mostly a drop back passer. Hassan Belton is their leading tackler with 80 on the year. The Bengals won three of their last four games heading into the second season. Can Beaufort hold serve at home?

3A: Marlboro County (9-2) at Hanahan (11-0): Hanahan held serve last week as they dominated Southside, which was expected. This week though is a tougher challenge. Marlboro County comes into town, having beaten Swansea on the road last week. They finished 8-2 in the regular season but an early loss in region play to Hartsville forced them to travel in the playoffs.

Hanahan has allowed just 94 points on the season, but Marlboro County will be one of the tougher challenges they've faced in a while. They have a very good offense led by QB London Johnson. The Bulldogs could be a tough out for this Hanahan team, holding the Region 8-3A hopes singularly now.

2A: Andrews (7-4) at Bishop England (8-2): Bishop England has steadily improved throughout the season, having won eight straight since they started only scoring six points in their first two games. BE had a first round bye last week, and now face an Andrews side who beat Calhoun County last week.

Kingstree (4-7) at Woodland (9-1): Kingstree last week came in at 3-7, the #12 seed in their playoff bracket (lowest you can be) but upset fifth-seeded Mullins 50-34. Woodland is fresh off a bye, and except for their loss at Bishop England, have been a dominant team throughout the season, winning every game by at least two TDs.

Garrett (6-5) at Bamberg-Ehrhardt (5-5): Garrett surprised Lee Central last week in Bishopville with a 14-6 upset, while Bamberg had a bye last week. Bamberg-Ehrhardt is led by South Carolina commit Kevin Crosby, finally a senior this year after having been looked at his entire high school career.

1A: Timmonsville (5-6) at Cross (6-5): Cross won last week against out manned Lincoln 69-0, but face a tougher challenge this week against the hometown of former NASCAR driver Cale Yarborough. Cross has lost just once at home this year, while Timmonsville is 3-2 on the road. Something has to give.

SCISA: Palmetto Christian at Hilton Head Christian is the best game. After losing their first two games Hilton Head has won their last eight. QB J.T. Waters of Palmetto Christian, even after missing two games, still has thrown for 1,748 yards and has rushed for 2,278 yards. That's 4,026 yards, or 447 yards of total offense in just nine games.

Enjoy the playoffs all!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Todd Christensen dead

Former BYU football player and football television announcer Todd Christensen died this morning due to complications from a surgery.

A report on Twitter is that he died this morning from complications to a liver transplant.

The story hasn't been confirmed yet, but former BYU football player Reno Mahe posted this on his Facebook. A post on a BYU message board also says this:

Reno Mahe: 
Thoughts and prayers out to a BYU legend and his family. My heart is saddened for my former teammate. Nothing but love for you Toby and the Christensen family. RIL Todd!
Christensen was 57 years old. This is him pictured with Marcus Allen.

Christensen was a BYU RB from 1974-1977. He led the team in receiving for three consecutive years. He began his NFL career with stops in Dallas and New York, before moving to the Oakland and eventually Los Angeles Raiders. He caught 92 passes in 1983, when the Raiders won the Super Bowl, 82 in 1984, and 80 in 1985.

In his career, Christensen caught 461 passes for 5,872 yards and 41 touchdowns. After Christensen's football career, he eventually became a TV announcer. He was best known for teaming with Charlie Jones on NBC from 1990-94. He then went to ESPN to do college football, and he had been announcing college football since. He was a color guy on CBS Sports Network doing Navy games.

Greg Wrubell of KSL in Salt Lake City posted this statement: In message to former BYU players, Todd's family expressed gratitude "for the wonderful outpouring of love and prayers they have received."


Monday, November 11, 2013

How does the Braves move to Cobb County impact regional fans?

The Braves announced today (November 11) that they are building a brand new stadium in Cobb County, NW of downtown Atlanta, to replace Turner Field starting in 2017. The new stadium will be just inside the perimeter, at I-75 and I-285 on the northwest side of town.

The new stadium will most likely seat about 41,000.

This is where the new stadium will be:

This is where the stadium will be in relation to where Turner Field was in metro Atlanta, with 2012 ticket holders overlayed.

Many are complaining about how far the new stadium is from downtown Atlanta. A thing that hasn't really been discussed yet is how the new stadium will impact Braves fans coming from other parts of the Southeast. The Braves have one of the largest fan bases of any team in baseball, and much of it comes from other areas not in the metro area.

I will run down major metropolitan areas where the Braves have a lot of fans and compare how it will impact fans.

Northwest Georgia: The new stadium is a boon for Braves fans in northwest Georgia. The site of the new stadium is only 58 miles from Rome (where their low-A farm club is), compared to 71 miles from Turner Field. The stadium is 13 miles closer to the northwest Georgia Braves fans, which is important for weeknight Braves games. Dalton is only 77 miles from the new stadium. This will help the Braves in that area.

Athens: Many people think that Athens Braves fans will be hurt by the move. In fact, Turner Field and the new stadium are almost the exact same distance from downtown Athens (72.5 to 72.3 miles). You have Perimeter traffic to deal with, but it is a straight shot for fans down 316 to 85 to 285. Some parts of the Athens area are closer to the new stadium.

Chattanooga: The new stadium will be a big help for Chattanooga area fans. It will be just over 90 minutes and 13 fewer miles to the new stadium (1:47 to 1:34). With Reds games being televised in Chattanooga, plus a Dodgers farm club, the Braves needed this move to get closer to their fans in that area, where they've been a stronghold since 1966. You also won't have to deal with downtown traffic.

Birmingham: For most of the Birmingham area, another major metro area with a lot of Braves fans, it is about 3-5 miles more to go to the new stadium than it is to go to Turner Field. It is not that big of a difference there, but as you get into northeastern Alabama that changes. It will be as much as 15-20 miles closer for places like Guntersville and Fort Payne. It is 3 miles farther from the Tuscaloosa area.

Upstate South Carolina: For Braves fans in the Upstate of South Carolina (where they dominate) it is almost the exact same distance that it will be to the new stadium. Instead of going on 85, you'll have to go 285 on the north side of town. Even to Spartanburg and Gaffney, it will be almost the exact same distance.

Augusta: A place where the new stadium will hurt is Augusta, long a stronghold of Braves fans. Now it will be 14 miles farther to go to the new stadium than it is to go to Turner Field. It still will be under 2 1/2 hours from most of the area.

Macon: It will also be 14 miles farther to the new stadium from the Macon area. It is still a straight shot up I-75 for most of the area though, so there won't be as much of an impact there as the Braves have dominated for generations.

Columbus: It will be just 8-10 miles farther to go to the new stadium from metro Columbus. Columbus. It will also be about the same amount farther from the Auburn area.

Knoxville: The new stadium is a boost to Knoxville. Now, the area will be 13 miles closer to Major League Baseball. It will now be under a 3 hour drive while you had to drive through the downtown traffic to get to Turner Field, often making commutes long. The Braves and the Reds both have followings in the area.

Huntsville:  The new stadium will have the same impact on fans in the Huntsville area as it did for Chattanooga. It will be 13 miles closer to the new stadium than it is to Turner Field.

Nashville: This is a boost to Middle Tennessee Braves fans (which there are a lot of) but it hurts the cause of Nashville getting a MLB expansion team. The team is 13-15 miles closer to most of Middle Tennessee. Nashville is an area which in the past few years has not been a strong baseball area. The Braves hope that moving closer will provide more attendance for folks from that area.

Montgomery: The new stadium will be 9 miles farther away from the Montgomery area than it is now. It is a straight shot up 85 to 285 to go to the new stadium. 

Savannah: The new stadium will be 14 miles farther away from the Savannah area than it is now. Most fans in the Savannah area tend to trek in for weekend games, so it won't be as big of an impact for those folks, but it still will be about 15 minutes longer than it is now. It is 15 miles farther from the Brunswick area

Columbia: The new stadium will also be 14 miles farther from most of the Columbia area than it is now. Columbia is an area which has long rooted for the Braves. For northern parts of the Columbia metro area (places like Newberry and Chapin) it will be about the same distance to the new stadium as Turner Field. You will have to go through Greenville now.

North Carolina: The new stadium is exactly the same distance (246 miles) from Charlotte as it is now. It won't have a large impact on the possibility of Charlotte getting a MLB expansion team down the road. The new stadium is actually a mile closer from Greensboro and Winston-Salem. It is also about the same distance for those from the Asheville area.

Charleston: Most Charleston area Braves fans make the long trek to Atlanta for weekend games. It will be 14 miles farther to go to the new Cobb County stadium than it is now. It already is close to a 5 hour drive, but as the Braves have lost a few fans in the past few years (not having a radio affiliate there this year), it will hurt some.

Jackson: Jackson, Mississippi, where the Braves double A farm club is (Mississippi Braves) has become a Braves area in the past few years. It is still a very long trek (5 1/2 hours) from the area, but it will only be 3 miles farther with the new stadium.

The new stadium is also about 9 miles farther from most Northwest Florida towns, such as Panama City, Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola.

Comment here on what you think about the move.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 11 preview/Wk 10 recap

Hard to believe, but we are here. The final week of the regular season. For smaller schools, playoff time is here. The season has flown by. Stratford, Goose Creek and Hanahan have been the three dominant teams in the Lowcountry throughout the season. All entered last week with perfect records. Only Goose Creek and Hanahan escaped.

In other news, James Island football coach Randy Hilyer has stepped down after three seasons at the school. The Trojans finished 2-8 this season after losing to Orangeburg-Wilkinson last week. The news was announced Tuesday night. They will begin searching for a coach after the playoffs. In 2014, the Trojans are moving back up to 4A to play in a region with Cane Bay, Goose Creek, Stratford, Wando and West Ashley. Hilyer will still teach at the school.

Last week, South Florence beat Stratford in a quagmire in Florence. Jacob Park did not play well, but he still has great stats so far this year: 27 touchdowns, 4,200 yards, and a 60% completion rate. South Florence stayed undefeated at 10-0 with the 26-14 win. Now they face West Florence to try and complete the undefeated season. Summerville clinched their region with a win over Ashley Ridge. Goose Creek took care of business against West Ashley. Wando beat win-less Cane Bay.

Beaufort got the win against Fort Dorchester last Friday night, creating a four-team tie at 2-2 for second place in 8-4A headed into the final week. Beaufort hosts Colleton County; Fort Dorchester travels to Ashley Ridge; while Bluffton hosts Summerville. A lot will be decided in this final week, with one biggie game that will be the best so far in the Lowcountry this year.

In 3A, everything's decided for regular season. Hanahan beat plucky Stall to finish a perfect 10-0 regular season. Orangeburg-Wilkinson beat JI to take second place. Berkeley upset Hilton Head at Hilton Head to take third. Hilton Head, who was in the running for winning region a few weeks ago, now is fourth in the region and have to make the long trip to Socastee Friday.

Things were less clear-cut in 2A; Bishop England though went to Ridgeland-Hardeeville and won, clinching their region. They had to win, or they could risk not even hosting their first round game. They earned a bye in the playoffs, along with Woodland. Timberland and Lake Marion also earned byes in the 2A playoffs locally.

In 1A, Cross is the top seed in Division II. They face Lincoln. They bounced back under Coach Shaun Wright. Military Magnet also gets a home game. Branchville travels on the road. In Division I, St. John's hosts a playoff game, while Baptist Hill goes on the road.

SCISA has several interesting stories this year. Porter-Gaud travels to Hammond in AAA play; Northwood Academy hosts Spartanburg Christian; Palmetto Christian travels to Calhoun Academy; Colleton Prep hosts St. Andrews, and Dorchester Academy hosts Trinity-Byrnes. James Island Christian hosts Clarendon Hall in 8-man play, while Cathedral goes to Patrick Henry and Beaufort Academy goes to W.W. King.

Here is the full schedule:

My top 5 playoff games of the week in the Lowcountry and Lower State:

5. Southside (6-4) at Hanahan (10-0) (3A): Hanahan starts their playoff quest with Southside. Many people have very high expectations with the Hawks this year. Hanahan has run through their schedule, only giving up 87 points through the entire season. Against two of their region rivals, O-W and Hilton Head, they gave up 42 combined points. The rest of the year, they've only allowed 55 points. They have the best defense of any school in the area.

Southside has limped into the playoffs with three straight losses. The Tigers started 4-0 but have lost four of their last six. But you can throw out the records in the playoffs. Everybody's 0-0. Major upsets have happened before in the playoffs. Unfamiliar opponent with a week to prepare? The Hawks don't want their season to end with the upset bug.

4. Clarendon Hall (7-3) at James Island Christian (8-1) (SCISA 8-Man): Living on James Island, it is easy to follow the fortunes of your local teams. I can hear the JI football games from my house, and only a stone's throw away is the field where First Baptist and James Island Christian play. James Island Christian has been a nice story this year. They got their coach from the Citadel, Chad Wheeler, in August.

Nobody expected much; but they have delivered with an 8-1 record and their only loss a 4-pointer to Beaufort Academy. They have some very good athletes, and light up the scoreboard in 8 man. The least amount of points they've scored in a game are 28. They face Clarendon Hall this week, a team with two guys over 1000 yards rushing; Dustin Way and Tilton McCrea. This will be a very good game to watch in this fun brand of football.

3. North Myrtle Beach (8-2) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (9-1) (3A): Orangeburg-Wilkinson has been a very good team this year in 3A football. O-W started the year with a soft schedule, not facing a larger school until Richland Northeast in late September, but since then they have played all 3A opponents. They gave Hanahan their best game of the year, only losing by seven points in Orangeburg. They dominated Stall and Hilton Head, got a big win at Berkeley, and pulled away last week at James Island to win their 9th game.

North Myrtle Beach will make the nearly 3 hour drive from the Grand Strand armed with an 8-2 record, but because of their region losses are third in their region, thus drawing a road playoff game. The Chiefs lost last week to Myrtle Beach, but were on a 3 game winning streak prior, with two of those wins shutouts. This will be a good one.

2. Baptist Hill (6-4) at Carvers Bay (9-1): Carvers Bay, one of the best teams in the Pee Dee, hosts Baptist Hill in a battle of winning teams. Carvers Bay has improved each of the past three years, to this year winning nine games. Baptist Hill started out fast, but slumped lately. They did beat Military Magnet last week to clinch a winning record. This week they head to Hemingway to face Carvers Bay.

Here is an article from the Sun-News with a little more about Carvers Bay:

1. Berkeley (5-5) at Myrtle Beach (6-4): This is a very interesting playoff game for many reasons. Berkeley improved over the past weeksafter suffering an embarrassing 18-point loss to O-W at home. They upset Hilton Head last Friday night to earn their fifth win of the season. Berkeley finished third in the region with a 3-2 mark with the win. Therefore, instead of having to play undefeated Socastee, they get to face 6-4 Myrtle Beach in the first round.

Myrtle Beach is on a three-game winning streak, but started the season 1-3. They beat North Myrtle Beach last week 30-28. QB Drayton Arnold is only a sophomore, but he's thrown for 14 touchdowns this year. The Seahawks are also led by HB Brandon Sinclair, another sophomore, who's run for over 1500 yards this year. This looks like it will be an interesting, evenly-matched game.

Now, on to the 4A ranks. Here are the games. The scenarios I have are from the wonderful bracketologists at

West Ashley (5-5, 0-3) at Cane Bay (0-10, 0-3): West Ashley has had an improved season this year, but probably won't make the playoffs even with a win at Cane Bay. The Cobras season has been very poor. They've scored just 118 points and allowed 337 going to the final game.

Wando (4-6) at Sumter (5-5): Wando makes a trip to the Gamecock city to face Sumter Friday. Wando looks likely to be in the playoffs, but as a low seed. Sumter has improved lately, winning three straight games to salvage their season. Sumter can get a winning record with a win.

Colleton County (2-8, 0-4) at Beaufort (7-3, 2-2): The Eagles look to have clinched a playoff berth with their seven wins already on the season. The concern is seeding. Beaufort with some help Friday can clinch an automatic spot in the playoffs. They need a win though, otherwise they could be a low seed having to travel.

Summerville (8-2, 4-0) at Bluffton (6-4, 2-2): Summerville has already clinched their region with a win last week against Ashley Ridge, but this week travel to Bluffton hoping to improve their playoff seed. Bluffton needs a win and a lot of help to make the playoffs. The results have to go just right for them to have a shot, but anything can happen.

Fort Dorchester (6-4, 2-2) at Ashley Ridge (4-6, 2-2): In a rare Friday night televised game, the Swamp Foxes host Fort Dorchester basically needing a win to make the playoffs. Fort Dorchester needs a win to improve their playoff position. From scenarios I've seen, a loss would make Fort D the 14th seed in their playoff bracket. A win would make them the 11th or 12th seed. With our complicated points system for playoffs, that could change though, since almost every 4A game is connected with the playoff picture.

This is still a huge game between two huge Dorchester County rivals.

Goose Creek (10-0, 3-0) at Stratford (9-1, 3-0): This is the biggest game of the season in Lowcountry high school football. For weeks, everything has been pointed toward this football game. Likely the two best teams in the area, a neighborhood rivalry, both undefeated until last week when Stratford lost to South Florence. The Region 7-4A title will be determined on the field Friday night, along with a top playoff seed, likely in front of a huge crowd.

The battle between Jacob Park and Dantez Bennamon will be interesting to see. It will be the most intriguing part of this game, even as Goose Creek's backup RBs have become an integral part of their offense. Last week, both Caleb Kinlaw and Evan McField were out. The top RB was Tyrik Johnson, a junior. All he did was run for five touchdowns. Even though Johnson only touched the ball twice in a two-game stretch, he's had twenty touchdowns on the year.

The Knights have to slow down Goose Creek's running game to have a chance to win. Goose Creek's defense also has to step up against Jacob Park. With his passing ability, he can test the Gators secondary unlike any other QB.

Carolina and Clemson are both off this weekend. Charleston Southern and SC State are the only local games. Come support your local high school team. Enjoy the games!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Former South Carolina RB shot in Irmo

Former South Carolina RB Kenny Miles has been shot in the Columbia area today. Sportstalk SC, one of the most reputable sources of sports news in the state, reported it first.

Miles was a RB for the Gamecocks for four seasons, 2009-2012. He is one of the more popular former players in the area.

Apparently, he was shot after a robbery. Just now: @sportstalksc: Richland County Sheriff department says Miles is in critical condition and his injuries are considered life threatening.

From the Kevin McCrarey story: "According to a reliable source who asked not to be identified, former USC running back Kenny Miles was shot early Monday afternoon in Columbia. The source said the injury isn’t believed to be life threating.
More details from our source: The shooting took place on or near Broad River Road. Miles was shot in the forearm. After he was shot, Miles entered a business and the people working there attempted to help to stop the bleeding. Miles initially asked that no one call the police, but the person or persons helping him insisted they call 9-11 because of the gunshot. Police arrived at the scene and collected evidence from Miles’ car."