Seven area football teams now know what is ahead of them, as the playoff brackets for Classes AAA-A were released Saturday.
Two teams enter the postseason in prime position, as Socastee and Carvers Bay were officially announced as No. 1 seeds in the Class AAA and Class A Lower State playoffs, respectively. For the Braves – who will play No. 4 Crestwood at home – it is the first time in school history the team was 10-0 throughout the regular season, including a first-ever region title.
Carvers Bay capped off a 9-1 regular season with a win Friday over Timmonsville, a victory that also gave the Bears a region crown. Coach Nate Thompson’s team will play cross-town rival Hemingway in the first round of the Class A, Division I playoffs. Carvers Bay will be assured of playing at home at least through the Lower State title game should it keep winning.
But those two teams aren’t the only ones that now know exactly what is in front of them.
Myrtle Beach, courtesy of a loss earlier this month to Socastee, will enter the postseason for the first time under coach Mickey Wilson as a No. 2 seed. The Seahawks will play at home Friday against Manning.
“Our kids fortunately have been in a lot of playoff games,” Wilson said. “They’ll understand the importance of playing well early on. I think our kids will have a sense of urgency about them.
“We really don’t think about [potentially having just one home game]. We want to come out and play well. We’re excited about being at home in the first round, especially when you’re playing someone like Manning.”
Georgetown was the third team out of Region VII-AAA to qualify. The Bulldogs will head to Marlboro County, the second-place team from Region VI-AAA for their first-round game.
St. James, which finished fourth in Region VII-AAA, did not have enough points in the state’s new Class AAA playoff format to qualify. The Sharks’ season ended Friday with a home loss to Socastee.
In Class AA, the four area teams have their matchups set for the second year of the all-inclusive playoff system. Loris, which finished in second place in Region VIII, was awarded a first-round bye for the second consecutive season. The Lions will play the winner of this Friday’s Battery Creek-Waccamaw game Nov. 9 at home in the Class AA, Division I playoffs.
For Waccamaw, the Warriors will be attempting to take a similar path Aynor did a year ago. Like last season’s Blue Jacket team, Waccamaw failed to win a region game this season and will have to go on the road for that matchup against Battery Creek.
This season’s Aynor team fared much better. The Blue Jackets finished third in Region VIII and as such were given a home playoff game in the Class AA, Division II bracket. Coach Jody Jenerette’s team fell to Loris on Friday night, but will have a great chance to get things back on track against Kingstree, a team that won just one game during the regular season.
“Obviously, they’re 1-9. We should match up pretty well with them,” Jenerette said. “If we don’t turn the ball over and don’t have penalties like we did [against Loris on Friday night], we’ll be ok.”
In many ways, much of what Aynor has done this season stemmed from last year. Playing on the road, the Blue Jackets upset Garrett before falling in the second round.
The team has bigger aspirations this year.
“Doing what we did last year and coming into this season, it’s been a lot of fun,” Jenerette said. “I would like to win two playoffs games this year, or maybe three or four. I want to keep playing and keep having fun.”
In one week, Conway will officially find out its playoff scenario for the Class AAAA postseason. The Tigers clinched a bid with Friday’s home win over Sumter. Conway will play at Carolina Forest this week in those teams’ regular-season finale. A win in that game and a South Florence loss to West Florence will give Conway a Region VI-AAAA title.
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com