Finding Mudville: Lower State Finals time
What a weekend for high school football playoffs.
It’s Stratford playing for the Class AAAA Div. II Lower State Championship and not Goose Creek.
When Timberland PA announcer Danny Tracy announced the Goose Creek-South Pointe final a roar of “Wow!” erupted from the grandstands.
You don’t hear Goose Creek scores read with the Gators winding up on the short end and this game, filled with some pre-game contentiousness between the Gators and South Pointe, was GC’s first loss on the gridiron (not counting in the courtroom) in 38 games.
The Stallions shocked Goose Creek 30-27 and denied Coach Chuck Reedy a shot at his third state title in two years.
So it’s Stratford and the golden arm of Jacob Park playing in their place following the Knights’ 30-14 win over South Florence and perhaps a chance to exact a pound of flesh in neighborly revenge, to quote William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The Knights host South Pointe in the Lower State Finals on Friday.
Summerville makes its first trip to the Class AAAA Div. I Lower State Finals since 2007 with its 29-28 last-second win over Boiling Springs, courtesy of a David Kennedy 35-yard field goal as time expired. The Green Wave will host seventh ranked Sumter on Friday.
And last, but certainly not least, it’s time for the annual Timberland-Dillon game.
This is the game every fall that Wolves fans wait for, staying home for the most part while Timberland slugs through its 12-game schedule prior to Thanksgiving week.
But they will travel to Dillon in droves, because it is the Wolves’ annual rivalry matchup with the Wildcats to play for the right to play for the state championship that matters.
It is the only game that matters to Wolves’ fans.
As much as Timberland Coach Art Craig hates to talk about it ahead of time, when asked about this season, even as early as the start of spring practice, somehow Dillon always makes its way into the conversation.
Dillon defines Timberland much like Georgia Tech, Auburn, Michigan and Clemson defines collegiate programs like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and USC. Success of the season boils down to, did you beat Georgia Tech?
Such is life for Timberland. Much like Ali vs. Frazier, their season is defined by how they fare against Dillon, and it is “The Dillon Game,” even more than the Wolves heartbreaking loss in the Class AAA state championship game in 2007, or even their own state championship win in 2011 that gets talked about.
The Wolves are 1-5 against Dillon, all Lower State Championship games, since 2005. Timberland and Dillon did not play in 2006 and 2007 because the Wolves were bumped up to Class AAA.
Except for 2010 when the Wolves lost 31-14, and last year’s 48-13 defeat, all games were decided by a field goal or less.
The two teams come into its Black Friday tilt playing incredible football. The Wolves are 7-0 and going into the Loris game had scored on 27 of its 29 offensive possessions. Dillon outscored its region opponents 224-6 and has pitched five shutouts over their last seven wins.
That means turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and football.