Citing the potential for winter weather in the Midlands this weekend, the South Carolina High School League has moved the Class 3A, 4A, and 5A football state championship games from Saturday to Friday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
With the change, all state championship games will be played on Friday in Columbia, as Class A and 2A were already slated to play at Benedict College on Friday evening.
“The expectation of extreme temperatures, rain, sleet, and possible ice presents major safety concerns for not only our students but also fans,” the SCHSL said in a release on Tuesday.
Saturday’s weather in the Columbia area is forecast to be miserable, with a daytime high of 43, low of 37 and an 80 percent chance of rain all day. The Upstate area, according to forecasts, will see snow and sleet starting Saturday evening.
For Myrtle Beach and Greer, who are now facing off at 1 p.m. Friday, the winner will be the first state champion crowned this season.
Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said the change in schedule will have little impact on the way his team will prepare this week.
“This really kind of fits with the season that we’ve had to this point,” he said. “We’ve had games moved because of weather it seems like all season, so having the last one move fits right in. Our kids will be ready, that’s for sure. We’re used to playing on Friday, so with it being moved we are only missing one practice.”
When the Seahawks (11-1) kick off at 1 p.m., the weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s.
“I looked at the weather when we got word that the games would be moved and it looks fine to me (on Friday),” Wilson said. “At this time of year, you expect it to be a little chilly, but playing in the early afternoon will give us warmer temperatures when we get started.”
The schedule change does not affect Green Sea Floyds, which is scheduled for a 5 p.m. Friday kickoff at Benedict College in the Class A title game.
The Trojans (10-3) are playing for their first state championship in school history, while coach Donnie Kiefer has a wealth of playoff experience during his 31 years as a head coach in North Carolina.
“I’m just real proud of these kids and everybody in the community for what they’ve done. We’ve had great support,” Kiefer told The Sun News following his team’s victory over Hemingway on Friday. “We want to go up there with the intent of winning that football game”
Weather has forced cancellations and schedule changes all season in South Carolina. The SCHSL executive committee voted 18-0 in September to push the end of the season back a week because of Hurricane Florence, and many teams had to cancel one or two games because of the hurricane and subsequent flooding.
The state championships were originally scheduled for Nov. 31 and Dec. 1 before they were moved.
State Championship Schedule
At Benedict College
Green Sea Floyds vs. Lamar, 5 p.m.
Abbeville vs. Barnwell, 8 p.m.
At Williams-Brice Stadium
Myrtle Beach vs. Greer, 1 p.m.
Dillon vs. Chester, 4 p.m.
Dutch Fork vs. TL Hanna, 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s A and 2A games will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com (subscription required).
The Class 3A, 4A and 5A games will be will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com and carried in Florence/Myrtle Beach on WWMB CW21, and in other parts of the state they will be televised on WACH Fox 57.2 (TWC 1250), WCIV 36.1 (MyTV Charleston) in Charleston, and on WMYA MyTV 40 in Asheville/Greenville. The Myrtle Beach-Greer game will be broadcast on BOB 104.9 FM.