5 top SC high school matchups to watch, plus this week’s statewide playoff predictions

·4 min read
Jeff Blake/Jeff Blake Photo

It is state semifinals week for public schools in the South Carolina high school football playoffs. The winners of this week’s games advance to next week’s state championships to be played Dec. 2-4 at Benedict College in Columbia.


Class 5A: Dutch Fork (11-0) at Fort Dorchester (12-0): Dutch Fork is a win away from a ninth championship appearance in the last 10 seasons. The Silver Foxes have won five straight Class 5A championships and have a 61-game unbeaten game streak. Dutch Fork has outscored its opponents 611-114 this season. The offensive leaders are quarterback Davin Patterson (127-171, 2,212 yards, 33 total TDs), running back Jarvis Green (1,862 all-purpose yards, 35 TDs) and receiver Antonio Williams (2,144 total yards, 17 TDs). Linebacker Chris Wicker leads the team with 97 tackles and is tied for lead in tackles for loss with 17. Dutch Fork has only punted eight times this season. Fort Dorchester is the last team to defeat Dutch Fork when it beat the Silver Foxes 41-25 in the second game of the 2017 regular season. Dutch Fork leads all-time series 6-1. Bezjak’s prediction: Dutch Fork

Class 5A: Gaffney (13-0) at Spartanburg (9-3): Rematch of the season opener, won by Gaffney 31-12. Gaffney is looking for its first championship appearance since 2011. Spartanburg’s last time in the title game was in 2014 Gaffney running backs Tyler Smith and Ken Littleton have combined for 2,537 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns this season. Gaffney quarterback Grayson Loftis needs 98 yards for 2,000 on the season. Spartanburg quarterback Raheim Jeter is the No. 9 ranked prospect in the state for the Class of 2023 and has thrown for 2,674 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Drek Carter leads the Vikings in 690 yards rushing and 11 TDs. Bezjak’s prediction: Gaffney

Class 4A: Greenville (10-2) at South Pointe (11-1): Winner moves on to the Class 4A championship. Greenville is looking for its first championship game since winning it all in 1962. South Pointe is looking for its first title game since 2017. The Stallions won four straight championships from 2014-17. South Pointe is coached by former South Carolina standout DeVonte Holloman. Clemson commit Josh Sapp, normally a tight end, rushed for four touchdowns last week in Greenville’s win over Irmo. Prior to that game, he had only two rushing touchdowns. Tyler Brown leads Greenville with 54 catches for 940 yards and 14 touchdowns. Quarterback Prometheus Franklin has thrown at least two touchdowns in seven straight games and went over the 3,000-yard passing mark for the season last week. South Pointe trailed 14-3 at halftime before rallying and defeating Greenwood 30-20. The Stallions had 482 yards of total offense in the win over Greenwood. Bezjak’s prediction: Greenville

Class 3A: Dillon (9-0) at Camden (10-2): It’s the 12th meeting between two teams but first since 2002 Class 3A Lower State championship. Camden won that meeting 42-7 and has won three in a row against the Wildcats. Dillon leads the all-time series 6-5. Camden is looking for its second straight trip to the Class 3A championship game. Dillon is looking for its ninth title trip in last 10 seasons. The Wildcats had a state championship appearance streak snapped by Gilbert in the playoffs last year. Camden quarterback Grayson White leads the team in rushing with 529 yards and has accounted for 22 total touchdowns. Tevin Eley leads Camden with 85 tackles and Jonathan Chavis is tops with 7½ sacks. Kelvin Roller is in his first year as Dillon coach, taking over for hall-of-famer Jackie Hayes. Dillon has outgained its opponents 365-163 on average this season. East Carolina commit Nemo Squire leads the Wildcats with 1,009 yards rushing and 26 total TDs. Bezjak’s prediction: Camden

Class 2A: Newberry (7-5) at Gray Collegiate (12-1): This game will be played at Fairfield Central High School. Gray is looking for its first trip to the football state championship game. Newberry is looking for its first championship trip since 2016. Gray won over Newberry 56-29 on Oct. 29. This is the final season for Newberry hall of fame coach Phil Strickland. Newberry running back KJ Robinson has rushed for 1,634 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Zy Epps has thrown for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns and Zack Chalmers is top receiver with 37 catches, 505 yards and four touchdowns. Gray running back KZ Adams is 230 yards shy of 3,000 yards rushing this season. Adams has 35 rushing touchdowns. Zach Glenn leads Gray with 143 tackles and Savien Jones has eight sacks. Bezjak’s prediction: Gray Collegiate

Other statewide playoff predictions

——Class 4A——

West Florence at Beaufort

Bezjak’s prediction: Beaufort

——Class 3A——

Chester at Daniel

Bezjak’s prediction: Daniel

——Class 2A——

Barnwell at Silver Bluff

Bezjak’s prediction: Silver Bluff

——Class A——

Southside Christian at Lamar

Bezjak’s prediction: Southside Christian

CE Murray at Bamberg-Ehrhardt

Bezjak’s prediction: Bamberg-Ehrhardt

—— Last Week: 7-3

—— Season Totals: 245-59