The Conway Tigers are in the playoffs despite a 5-6 regular season, thanks in large part to a difficult regular season schedule.
The Tigers' six losses all came against playoff teams and those foes currently have a combined record of 55-11. Then last Friday, Socastee pulled off a first-round upset in the playoffs to give them a 6-5 record. That added one point to Conway's points total that determines the at-large bids given out in South Carolina's Class AAAA. That's how the Tigers ended up with a better-than-expected 12th seed in the Class AAAA, Division II playoff bracket.
"One point makes a difference," Conway coach Chuck Jordan said. "We thought we were going to be seeded 13-16 somewhere. We ended up being seeded 12th, so obviously it did have an impact."
The Tigers will travel to North Augusta, a fifth seed that is 10-1 on the season with its lone loss coming to 10-1 Irmo.
"There were three teams tied right there at 5, 6 or 7," Jordan said of the playoff seeds. "We would have preferred to play the other two. Hartsville was one of those teams. We would like to have another shot at them. But you play who they give you."
The Tigers haven't played a playoff game on the road since opening at Spring Valley in 2005. For this year's opener, they must travel slightly over 200 miles to North Augusta.
"It is no big deal. When you get into the playoffs, you know you are going to travel, especially with the seed we are," Jordan said. "We have played in a state championship game before without ever playing a home game. You really have to be able to adapt to the travel."
Jordan said the team will take a chartered bus to North Augusta, leaving around noon on Friday and not getting back to Conway until around 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
Conway has opened the postseason at North Augusta before. In 2001 and 2002, the Tigers played a first-round game at the Yellow Jackets and both times Conway won on its way to state title game appearances.
"If history repeats itself, we are in good shape," Jordan said. "But we were a whole lot better both of those years and quite honestly they were not quite as good. In all likelihood, that won't happen again, but we are not going down there with that attitude.
"We are going down there to be a tail whippin' on them."
Playoff victory a first?
Andrew Musgrove's 32-yard field goal as time expired last Friday not only gave Socastee a first-round playoff upset of Hilton Head, it appears it gave the school its first football playoff victory.
"As far as I know it is," Socastee coach Tim Renfrow said. "I have talked to some people and from what everyone says, it is the school's first playoff victory."
Waccamaw tennis coach James Brown, who attended Socastee in the late '70s and coached the football team from 1992-94, said he doesn't remember a Socastee football winning a playoff game.
"That might have been the first time. That's the first time I remember," Brown said. "When [Socastee] first started football in the '60s, they played on a team with Myrtle Beach [High School]. In the early '70s they started their own team."
The Braves' 23-20 victory over Hilton Head was also the first last-second game-winning kick Renfrow had been involved in as a coach.