FLORENCE, S.C. — The second season officially begins for the South and West Florence football teams.
The two teams got their opponents as the Class 4A Division II playoff brackets were released Saturday. The Bruins will host Easley, while the Knights travel to Northwestern.
South Florence is the fourth seed in the bracket and would host the Stratford-Nation Ford winner in the second round if it advances. The Bruins are in the midst of the best season in school history and completed an 11-0 regular season and school’s first region title with Friday’s 9-3 win over West Florence.
South is making its fifth straight playoff appearance and it’s the fourth straight year it will have a playoff game at Memorial Stadium. But the Bruins haven’t made it past the second round, and South coach David Prince hopes to change that this year.
“ We got to get the job done this time,” Prince said. “We kind of fizzled out in the playoffs after the first round but we think we got a few more playmakers that could take us a little farther this time.”
Easley is 5-6 under first-year coach Grayson Howell. The Green Wave has a pair of Division I commitments in running back C.J. Fuller (Clemson) and defensive tackle Quaven Ferguson (Duke).
The Knights are the 15th seed in the bracket and will face Northwestern for the second straight year in the playoffs. The Trojans beat West 40-28 in the second round at Memorial Stadium.
Northwestern (11-0) is the top-ranked 4A team in S.C. Prep Football Media poll and is ranked in the top 15 nationally in USA Today and MaxPreps polls.
“ I don’t think our kids will be intimidated because we just played them last year,” West coach Trey Woodberry said. “It will be a big time experience for us to go up there and play and we are going to treat it like that.”
The Trojans’ high-powered air raid offense features quarterback Mason Rudolph, who is a S.C. Mr. Football finalist and Oklahoma State commitment. Rudolph has thrown 3,097 yards and 41 touchdowns this year and passed for 344 yards and four TDs last year against the Knights.
“ We are going to have to score with them because they are just that good on offense,” Woodberry said.
While the Class 4A playoffs begin this week, other area teams will be playing second-round contests. The schedule includes a pair of Class 3A marquee matchups with defending state champion Hartsville traveling to Socastee and Marlboro County traveling to Hanahan. All four teams are ranked in the top six in the latest statewide media poll.
It will be the second straight year the Red Foxes and Braves meet in the playoffs. Hartsville defeated Socastee 40-13 on its way to state championship.
Dillon, the defending Class 2A Division I champions, will host Wade Hampton in the second round of the lower state playoffs. The Wildcats are the top seed in the lower state and defeated Wade Hampton 56-7 in the 2010 playoffs.
Cheraw, the top seed in the Class 2A Division I upper state, hosts Columbia in the second round. The Braves had a first-round bye.
In Class 2A Division II, Kingstree is at Woodland and Chesterfield is at Ninety-Six.
Lamar hosts St. Joseph’s in one of the marquee games in the second round of the Class A Division I playoffs. The Silver Foxes and St. Joe’s are ranked third and fourth, respectively in the last statewide poll.
The Silver Foxes are looking to keep coach J.R. Boyd’s final season going, while the Knights have lost just once — to defending state champion Christ Church.
Other Class A Division I matchups include Carvers Bay hosting Estill and Hemingway at Allendale-Fairfax. In Class A Division II, Timmonsville plays Cross for the second straight year, while Lake View hosts Military Magnet.
In SCISA, Florence Christian, Williamsburg, Dillon Christian, Carolina Academy and Laurence Manning will play in state semifinal contests. Florence Christian will be looking for its first trip to 2A title when it hosts Northwood.
The Eagles got their second playoff win in school history Friday by beating Thomas Heyward. If Florence Christian wins it will play next Saturday at noon in the state championship at Benedict College.
In Class A, Williamsburg takes on Dorchester and Dillon Christian faces Colleton Prep. The two winners meet for the state title Nov. 23 at Benedict College.
Carolina Academy will look to continue its unbeaten season when it hosts Patrick Henry in the 8-man semifinals. If the Bobcats win, they will play for a state championship Nov. 22 at a site to be determined.
South Florence playoff games to be carried on 98.9 FM
All of South Florence postseason football games will be carried on 98.9 FM and streamed online at www.thepressboxradio.com .
Emerson Phillips will handle play-by-play duties.