Conway football can officially start making plans for another playoff game.
On Wednesday, the South Carolina High School League denied Goose Creek’s appeal after the organization disqualified the Gators for using an ineligible player earlier in the week. Goose Creek defeated Conway 47-7 in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs last week.
However, that game will now be changed to a 1-0 Conway victory courtesy of the forfeiture, and the Tigers will head to Bluffton for a second-round playoff game Friday night.
“I’m good friends with [Goose Creek coach] Chuck Reedy and I hate it for him,” Conway’s Chuck Jordan said. “They’re a good football team and I would like to see them defend their state title.
“With that door open for us, we’re going to walk through it. We want to make the most of it.”
Goose Creek met at the SCHSL offices with member of the league’s executive committee. After a presentation by the school, the league upheld its original ruling. The executive committee then denied a “mercy” appeal, essentially the offending party acknowledging guilt in hopes of staving off punishment.
Conway’s record immediately changes to 6-6 from 5-7, and the Tigers – who re-issued pads and helmets Tuesday after the original announcement – will have one more day to prepare for Bluffton.
The Bobcats (11-1) spent a big portion of the year ranked in the top five in the statewide Class AAAA poll. They beat South Florence – one of Conway’s Region VI-AAAA opponents – 37-13 last week in the first round of the playoffs. South Florence, a team that defeated Conway, is the only common opponent this season between Bluffton and the Tigers.
On the season, coach Ken Cribb’s team is averaging 46 points per game. That mark includes an 80-point game against Hilton Head on Sept. 21. Bluffton has also held opponents to about 12 points per game. The team’s only loss on the year was against Summerville in the final week of the regular season.
Jordan said earlier Wednesday that he believes star quarterback Mykal Moody would be able to play at Bluffton. Moody, who has missed the team’s last three games with a deep thigh bruise, threw for 1,543 yards and 21 touchdowns in the eight games he played. He ran for another 813 yards and 15 scores.
Last month, he was named to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and then to the list of five finalists for South Carolina’s Mr. Football, the award given the state’s top player.
“We think so. He’s really improving,” Jordan said of Moody’s availability. “It’s a time thing. He’s not 100 percent, but his 75 percent is better than a lot of people. We anticipate that he will. It will be a game time decision.”
Goose Creek was the No. 1 team in the state. The Gators were also ranked as high as No. 11 in one of the national polls. Coach Chuck Reedy’s team had won 25 consecutive game, including last year’s Class AAAA, Division II state title win over Greenwood.
Goose Creek’s performance in the regular season awarded the Gators home-field advantage throughout the state semifinals, another reason they were the unanimous favorite to win the title again this season.
Instead, the winner of Friday’s Bluffton-Conway game will head to the winner of the West Florence-Northwestern game.