Class 3A and 5A have major marquee matchups on Friday night and are dominating the headlines. However, the 1A and 2A slate this week has the same thing on the line, a trip to the Upper State Title Game in each class.
This week's slate for the smaller schools is expected to produce compelling matchups. In both classes, the defending champions were knocked in the 2nd round. In 2A, Gray Collegiate was the favorite they were upset by Saluda last week, 23-16. Which looks like it may open the path up for perennial power Abbeville to make a push for the 2A crown.
Abbeville hosts Fairfield Central - FC has won 9 games and finished 2nd in the very competitive Region 4 2A. They lost to Gray Collegiate in region which costed them the Region crown. While FC is a good team and is 9-3, not one team on their schedule is left in the playoffs. Abbeville is 10-2 their two losses came to 3A Powdersville and 4A Westside, both games were competitive and both teams are still in the postseason. With Gray Collegiate, losing it seems like the path opened up for "The Ville". They lost last year in the playoffs to Gray, as they went on to win the State Title. Abbeville is looking for their 8th State Title since 2010, which included a 4-peat from 2015-2018. They are 74-5 from 2017 until right now. Abbeville would be at home for the Upper State Title.
The Other 2A Game is Strom Thurmond hosting Saluda. Thurmond was the champs of Region 3 and they downed Keenan last week to advance. Saluda pulled probably the biggest upset in the Upper State Bracket in any class with their win over Gray.
Christ Church hosts Lewisville- On paper, these are the two best teams in the 864 area code in class 1A. They both have lost just once this season and have steam rolled most all of their opponents since early in the year. Christ Church features RB Dashun Reeder, a group of 5 level D-I prospect. He has carved defenses up and is in my mind, the most impactful player in class 1A, statewide. Christ Church is back in 1A after being in 2A the last two years. The move may well help them in terms of getting to the State Finals. They won 4 straight 1A State Titles from 2011 through 2014 and amassed a lengthy win streak. They haven't won State since that run and look poised to get back to Columbia.
St. Joe's at Wagener-Salley- St. Joe's Coach Chris Goodman showed "nerves of steel" last week, going for 2 in OT with the season on the line. It worked and his squad knocked off rival and two-time defending 1A State Champs, Southside Christian. Goodman said on the Saturday Morning Scramble back in the regular season after they lost to the Sabres, that his guys wanted another shot at them. They got it and made good on it. The road trip is a long one Friday night, about 120 miles each way for St. Joe's. However, the draw is probably a solid one. Walker Wood has been really good for the Knights at QB and they have confidence, after the big time gamble paid off.
The winners of these games Friday night, will play for the Upper State Title in their class and a chance to punch their ticket to State. Abbeville will be hopping on Friday, a great football town and atmosphere, everybody there will be at the ball game. Christ Church has looked the part of the "terminator" in 1A, will they continue that against a good Lewisville team?
St. Joe's has momentum and swagger after rolling the dice and knocking off Southside Christian. If they can handle the long road trip and win. A potential rematch is there for Greenville private school rivals, if they both win. I will talk about all of it this weekend on the Saturday Morning Scramble from 8-10 AM.