1WILL 3A EVER SPLIT ITS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP LIKE THE OTHER
By JaSON GiLmEr
many coaches don’t believe it will ever happen, mainly because they think the state will
go to five classifications in the near future.
There was a vote to split the 3a crown again
this year and it failed. The other three classes
all have two champions based on enrollment,
but 3a has kept its playoffs combined and
has what many believe is the truest champion in the state.
2IS DILLON THE TEAM TO BEAT, AGAIN, IN 2A?
if a champion has to be dethroned, the Dillon Wildcats are waiting for a challenger. They
defeated Fairfield Central 41-3 last December for their fourth state title in the last six
seasons, and plenty return for coach Jackie
Hayes’ squad to continue its trend of winning.
3CAN BRIAN LANE CONTINUE BYRNES’ WINNING TRADITION?
Coach Lane has the pedigree to continue
what Bobby Bentley, who left to take a job on
Gus malzahn’s staff at auburn, began at Byrnes. Lane was a quarterback for the rebels
and was an assistant coach under Bentley
before finding success as a head coach.
He posted a 46-17 record in six seasons at
nearby Woodruff High School, where his team
played for the 2a title in 2011. He’ll keep the
offense intact and be a leader of integrity.
4WILL TOM KNOTTS TURN DUTCH FORK INTO ANOTHER
Simply put, no. it’s just too difficult. at Charlotte’s independence High School, Knotts’
teams rattled off 109 straight wins and seven
straight state titles. No team in South Carolina has won more than four straight titles
and only three programs have done that. The
competition is too stiff year in and year out for
such a streak on the 4a level. Knotts helped
Dutch Fork to its first title, but it won’t be remembered as the first of a long streak.
5CAN SOUTH CAROLINA CONTINUE TO DOMINATE THE SHRINE BOWL?
The Sandlappers hold a 43-30-4 lead in the
all-star game and have won five of the last
seven. This has always been a point of pride
for South Carolina players, which is a much
smaller state but with plenty of standouts.
Consider this: in 2013 South Carolina had
54 players on NFL rosters compared to North
Carolina’s 46. also, rock Hill, S.C., a town of
66,000 people, has had 11 players drafted in
the past 13 years.
6WHICH CLASS WILL THIS YEAR’S REALIGNMENT IMPACT THE MOST?
The state’s high school league realigns its
conferences every two years and this season
is the start of another rotation. There are a
few teams that dropped – South Pointe from
4a to 3a, for instance – that should make
an immediate impact. Two teams of consequence, Woodruff and Strom Thurmond,
dropped from 3a to 2a. The last time these
two schools were in 2a they were a combined
24-3, which could mean a major shift in
power in that classification.
7WILL THE CHRIST CHURCH DYNASTY CONTINUE?
For several years the private school was
known for dominating soccer, golf and ten-
nis, but now it’s a football power. There’s no
reason to think anyone will contend with the
Cavaliers this fall. The offense is fun to watch
and quite effective, scoring a school-record
645 points last season. and now the defense
has progressed to co-headliner status, allowing only 10. 5 points per game in 2013.
8WHICH 4A REGION IS NOW THE MOST POWERFUL?
it’s hard to argue with region ii-4a, which
for years set the standard for awesomeness.
During the 1990s this region dominated, but
multiple realignments broke up what was
once called the best conference in the South.
The loss of Gaffney hurts the conference and
having four Greenville County teams doesn’t
help, but it’s still loaded with talent.
9IS THERE A LOWCOUNTRY TEAM THAT CAN WIN THE 4A DIVISION I
The last time a team from the Lowcountry
won the 4a Division i state championship was
in 1999 when Stratford topped Dorman. Last
year’s win by Dutch Fork, a midlands school,
stopped a 13-year stranglehold by upstate
teams. While determining which playoff
bracket schools are in won’t happen until the
start of the postseason, a look at admission
numbers can give an idea. it’s hard to give
Stratford or Goose Creek the edge over some
of the upstate schools.
10WHO WILL REPLACE MASON RUDOLPH AT NORTHWESTERN?
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rudolph was a finalist for the state’s mr.
Football award after he led Northwestern to an
undefeated season and threw for 3,889 yards
and 56 touchdowns. Coach Kyle richardson
doesn’t have a starter yet and won’t name
one until after the summer. Harper Woods and
Jacob Haney are battling for the spot.