Every football game means something to the coaches and players. But, as it pertains to high school football playoff berths, the only games that matter will be played over the next month.
Region games and final standings determine a team’s postseason fate. The first five weeks of the season, while important in terms of development, mean next to nothing. You can’t win a state championship if you don’t make the playoff field. In South Carolina, making the playoffs is determined by region standings.
Not that long ago, a confusing point system was used to determine playoff teams. During that time, the early season non-region games were significant because teams gained points for playing top competition outside of region games.
Those days are over and teams now basically have to win two region games, or enough to finish among the top four teams in the league. Going 0-5 or 5-0 means very little.
Region play begins in earnest in the Lowcountry this Friday night, so now is a good time to evaluate how things could shake out over the next five weeks.
In Region 8-AAAAA, Fort Dorchester appears to be the cream of the crop and should win the region. Friday night’s Ashley Ridge/Summerville game could go a long way in determining the eventual runner-up.
Berkeley is the defending champion in Region 7-AAAAA and is again the favorite. Wando could be the sleeper pick in the region and Berkeley is at Wando this Friday night. The winner will have a leg up on winning the title but Goose Creek and Cane Bay cannot be overlooked.
Manning would appear to be the team to beat in Region 7-AAA but Waccamaw and Bishop England could contend. All three should certainly have a strong chance to earn a playoff spot.
Oceanside Collegiate and Timberland will decide the Region title in 6-AA in a few weeks. The interesting battle will be for the final two playoff spots.
Baptist Hill should have no issues winning Region 4-A and Woodland looks to challenge defending Lower State champion Barnwell for the Region 5-AA crown.
OCA golf continues impressive run
Already ranked as the state’s top Class AAA girls golf team, defending state champion Oceanside Collegiate made a strong statement toward being the best team in South Carolina in any classification over the weekend.
Oceanside won the Women's South Carolina Golf Association's annual High School Girls Invitational, knocking off several of the state’s top programs.
The Landsharks won the event by a record 45 shots over runner-up Lexington, the state’s top Class AAAAA team and six-time state champion. OCA also beat Boiling Springs and Blythewood, both Class AAAAA teams, along with Class AAA contender Chesnee.
Oceanside’s Abby Schimpf was tournament medalist with a two-round total of 143. Rachel Rich shot 145 for a top-five finish as well.
The tournament was played at Woodside Plantation Country Club in Aiken.
Lowcountry cross country
James Island High School hosted the Lowcountry Invitational cross country meet over the weekend at Johns Island County Park. The event included 69 teams (boys and girls) and nearly 600 runners.
Dobyns Bennett High of Tennessee won the girls team title, led by medalist Emma Russum. James Island’s Hannah Vroon was the top local finisher in third place.
Porter-Gaud finished fifth in the team standings, followed by Summerville at sixth, James Island at seventh and Philip Simmons at eighth.
Philip Simmons junior Noah Ward edged out Cane Bay’s Zane Jackson for medalist honors in the boys race. Lexington won the team title, with Wando taking third and Summerville placing fourth. Stratford (7th), Academic Magnet (9th) and Bishop England (10th) also finished in the top 10.
Lowcountry Top 10 football teams
1. Fort Dorchester
2. Oceanside Collegiate
6. First Baptist
9. Baptist Hill