5 things we learned, plus a look at next week’s play­off games

The State (Sunday) - - High Schools - BY LOU BEZJAK lbez­jak@thes­tate.com

Here are five things that stood out from Fri­day’s high school play­off ac­tion in­volv­ing Mid­lands teams:

ROAD WAR­RIORS

Play­ing away from home didn’t af­fect some Mid­lands teams.

Brookland-cayce, West­wood, Bates­burg-leesville, Swansea and Cam­den pulled off road vic­to­ries over higher-seeded teams Fri­day night.

B-C’S 31-30 vic­tory fea­tured a more than two-hour weather de­lay and didn’t end un­til 12:52 a.m. Satur­day. The Bearcats’ bus didn’t re­turn home un­til 4:15 a.m. Brookland-cayce, which re­cov­ered a fum­ble with less than three min­utes left, has won four of its last six road play­off games.

For the se­cond straight year, West­wood went on the road and knocked off a No. 1 seed. The Red­hawks de­feated Re­gion 1-4A cham­pion Bel­ton-path, 20-3, to earn a re­match with Ridge View.

West­wood de­feated un­beaten North Au­gusta, 23-13, last sea­son in the first round. The Red­hawks lost four straight games dur­ing the mid­dle of the sea­son and had to make the play­offs as an at-large seed, fin­ish­ing fifth in Re­gion 3-4A.

But West­wood has won three straight games and given up a to­tal of six points in that span.

Bates­burg-leesville con­tin­ued its strong play on the road with a 49-13 win over Columbia. The Pan­thers are 7-1 on the road in the play­offs since 2015.

B-L’S 49 points were a sea­son-high and most since scor­ing 50 last sea­son against Al­len­dale­fair­fax. The Pan­thers head to Cen­tral next week.

Swansea’s sea­son be­gan with some tur­moil with the fir­ing of coach Greg Wright but is end­ing with its first play­off win since 2014. The Tigers de­feated Man­ning, 20-14, in over­time for its first play­off vic­tory since beat­ing Wil­son, 45-21. Swansea trav­els to de­fend­ing state cham­pion Dil­lon next week.

Cam­den won its first play­off game since 2009 with a 52-10 win at Seneca. The Bulldogs rushed for 423 yards in the game and out­gained Seneca 514-267. Cam­den has won eight games, its high­est win to­tal since nine vic­to­ries in 2010.

RIDGE VIEW’S RECORD NIGHT

Ridge View’s first on­cam­pus play­off game was a mem­o­rable one. The Blaz­ers scored a school­record 76 points in the 76-0 win over Trav­el­ers Rest.

The Blaz­ers’ 76 points beats the mark of 70 set in the first round of the first round of the 2016 play­offs against Wren. Ridge View had 584 yards of to­tal of­fense in the game.

RIVER BLUFF MORE THAN JUST WALKER ON OF­FENSE

River Bluff showed Fri­day it can win even with­out one of its top play­ers.

Run­ning back Braden Walker was side­lined with an an­kle in­jury, but tail­back An­to­nio Gantt and quar­ter­back Michael Rikard picked up the slack in his ab­sence.

Gantt rushed for 167 yards and Rikard threw for 162 yards and ca­reer-high four touch­downs in the Ga­tors’ win over Con­way. There is a chance Walker might re­turn this week against Berke­ley in the se­cond round of the Class 5A play­offs.

River’s Bluff has nine vic­to­ries this sea­son, most in school his­tory.

PLAY­OFF HOFF

The play­offs seem to bring the out the best in Dutch Fork run­ning back Ron Hoff.

The ju­nior scored four touch­downs in Fri­day’s 54-0 win over South Florence in the first round. Hoff has scored at least one rush­ing touch­down in 10 of his 11 play­off games.

Of Hoff’s 59 ca­reer rush­ing touch­downs, 21 scores (35 per­cent) have come in the post­sea­son.

GILBERT’S PROGRESS

Gilbert has won a play­off game in each of Chad Leaphart’s three sea­sons.

The In­di­ans de­feated Georgetown, 33-7, in the first round of the 3A play­offs Fri­day night. It was Gilbert’s fourth play­off win since Leaphart’s first sea­son in 2016.

Prior to Leaphart’s ar­rival, the In­di­ans won just two play­off games from 1999-2015.

HOW MID­LANDS TOP 10 FARED

1. Dutch Fork (9-0) – De­feated South Florence, 54-0

2. Ham­mond (12-0) – De­feated Car­di­nal New­man, 49-12

3. River Bluff (9-1) – De­feated Con­way, 35-19

4. A.C. Flora (9-2) – De­feated Lan­caster, 44-21

5. Air­port (7-4) – Lost to Marl­boro County, 48-20

6. Spring Val­ley (7-4) – Lost to Sumter, 21-13

7. Blythewood (6-4) – Lost to Na­tion Ford, 14-5

8. Ridge View (7-3) – De­feated Trav­el­ers Rest, 76-0

9. Gilbert (7-3) – De­feated Georgetown, 33-7

10. Brookland-cayce (7-4) De­feated Beau­fort, 31-30

NEXT WEEK’S SCHED­ULE FOR MID­LANDS TEAMS

Fri­day

Class 5A

West Ash­ley at Dutch Fork River Bluff at Berke­ley

Class 4A

West­wood at Ridge View Wren at AC Flora Brookland-cayce at Hartsville Class 3A

Cam­den at Chap­man Swansea at Dil­lon

Gilbert at May River

Class 2A

North Cen­tral at Abbeville Bates­burg-leesville at Cen­tral Bam­berg-ehrhardt at Gray Col­le­giate (At Bene­dict Col­lege) Satur­day

SCISA

3A Cham­pi­onship

At Bene­dict Col­lege Ham­mond vs. First Bap­tist, 7:30 p.m.

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