Hard to believe, but the regular season is almost over. 4A teams have two games left in the regular season while everyone else closes the season this week. High school football season seems to move faster than any other season. We started practice in 90s heat August 1 for SCHSL schools. This Friday is Halloween. In 89 days, non-4A schools played their entire ten-game regular season schedule.
4A schools play eleven games; no other state in the nation plays as many as eleven regular season games. Some play as few as eight; 4A schools pack eleven games into eleven or twelve weeks. That is why teams have begun to play on week 0. Fort Dorchester has a bye week this week before next week's crucial game against Ashley Ridge, while Ashley Ridge has to play Summerville. It can be a major advantage.
This is the full schedule from WCBD:
Goose Creek vs West Ashley
Stratford vs James Island
Wando vs Cane Bay
Ashley Ridge vs Summerville
Bluffton vs Colleton County
Hanahan vs Berkeley
Beaufort vs Orangeburg-Wilkinson
Hilton Head vs Stall
Whale Branch vs Battery Creek
Academic Magnet vs Bishop England
Garrett vs North Charleston (Thursday, 5:30)
Cross vs St. John's
Military Magnet vs Baptist Hill
Lincoln vs Burke
Timberland vs Lee Central
Georgetown vs Wilson
Woodland vs Wade Hampton
Northwood vs First Baptist
Porter-Gaud vs Pinewood Prep
Colleton Prep vs Thomas Heyward
Dorchester vs Curtis Baptist
Palmetto Christian vs St. Andrew's
I will talk about the top 11 Lowcountry games this week, the games that mean the most on this Halloween night.
1) Hanahan at Berkeley: One of the biggest games of the year in high school football in Lowcountry. The winner will win the Region 8-3A title, and earn home field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Both teams are on winning streaks of four games leading up to this battle of the final night of their regular season. Fagan or Dress? What QB plays best will probably win this game.
2) Summerville at Ashley Ridge (TV game): Very important game for Summerville tomorrow night. The region could be determined with this game. Fort Dorchester wins the region with a Summerville win, and Summerville most likely finishes second. With an Ashley Ridge win, their game against Fort D next week is for the Region 8-4A title, and Summerville probably would finish 3rd in their region after being looked at as one of the top teams in the state preseason. This has turned into a pretty good little rivalry over the past few years, and don't expect anything less.
3) Goose Creek at West Ashley: Goose Creek puts their perfect region record on the line against a game West Ashley team. West Ashley has suffered some very tough luck in their last two region games. They led James Island much of the second half on the road, and missed two extra points last week in a one-point loss at Stratford. Instead of being right in the middle of the playoff hunt, West Ashley is 3-6 and playing for pride. Goose Creek can't let up before Stratford next week.
4) James Island at Stratford: 6-3 James Island has had a resurgent season this year. Last week, they lost at Cane Bay 14-7. Many James Island fans say it was a disputed game because they think Cane Bay manipulated the clock to their advantage. This game will be the Trojans fourth straight Homecoming games over the last four weeks. Very few if any schools in the state have had to do that. Stratford has to win this game to set up next week's showdown. Stratford is 7-2 and 3-0 in the region, but their last two region wins have been in five overtimes and by one point. There is little margin for error.
5) Wando at Cane Bay: 4-5 Wando has had a ton of injuries this year. They have fought hard though in every game. 4-5 Cane Bay has improved throughout the season, and last week against James Island played one of their best games of the year to earn the seven-point win. Cane Bay can set up their place in the playoffs with a win, as the James Island win was big in determining the #3 spot for their region.
If Cane Bay beats Wando and West Ashley next week, they are #3. James Island most likely has to win out and have Cane Bay lose one game to make the playoffs, while West Ashley has to win both of their remaining games and have James Island and Cane Bay lose at least once to have a chance. With the convoluted points system in 4A football, this may or may not be right. I will have an essay on this after the season.
6) Colleton County at Bluffton: Colleton County closes out their regular season with a game at Bluffton. The arduous region schedule has taken a toll on them, as at 4-6, they need a win at Bluffton to keep their playoff hopes alive. Strangely, they close the season this week, as their bye week is next week. Bluffton has had a very disappointing season. They are 3-6, and the forfeit loss to Battery Creek started it off. They were gashed last week at home by Fort D, 34-0, and have lost their last 3 games by at least 30 points.
7) Beaufort at Orangeburg-Wilkinson: Beaufort and Orangeburg-Wilkinson are battling for the third spot in the Region 8-3A race. Beaufort is 5-4, looking for a winning record, while Orangeburg-Wilkinson, on the other hand is 7-2 having suffered tough losses to Berkeley and Hanahan. This will be an important game tomorrow night. Both teams will get in the playoffs no matter what.
8) Bishop England at Academic Magnet: Now, with a superintendent let go because of what happened at Academic Magnet, the school can finally start to move on from the crazy last couple of weeks. They have one of their toughest games of the year, against a Bishop England team that has suddenly won three straight games. Last week, BE only completed two passes against North Charleston but still put 48 on the board thanks to Drew Pampu's 137 yards rushing.
9) St. John's at Cross: A battle for the region title in Region 6-1A. Cross and St. John's are both undefeated in the region, and a win for either will mean a very high seed in the playoffs and multiple home games. Huge game in Berkeley County.
10) Lee Central at Timberland: Undefeated Timberland closes their regular season Friday night hosting Lee Central. The Wolves have only allowed 57 points in 9 games. The 15 points Berkeley scored September 27 are the most they've allowed all season. They've allowed 7 points since then.
11) Pinewood Prep at Porter-Gaud: This game is an important SCISA battle with intrigue as 5-5 Porter-Gaud battles 4-6 Pinewood Prep. If Porter-Gaud wins, they earn a winning record, while Pinewood Prep would beat their local rivals.
Enjoy the football!