On the road, for first playoff round
TONIGHT SENECA WINS, 18-14 - Red Devils will make long trip for playoffs
Brackets are set. Travel plans are being made. It’s time for the third season - the playoffs.
Clinton is the No. 4 seed out of Region 3-AAA. The Red Devils will travel to Seneca to face the Seneca Bobcats Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Seneca is the No. 1 seed out of Region I-AAA.
Clinton defeated Woodruff 41-21 Friday night to improve to 4-6. Seneca defeated #2 seed Pendleton 42-21 to improve to 7-3 and win their region championship.
The winner will play the winner of a #2-#3 contest, Palmetto vs Camden. Other AAA Upper State Playoff teams are: Chapman (defending state champion), Crescent, Chester, Powdersville, Fairfield-Central, Southside, Newberry, Pendleton, Emerald, Indian Land, Walhalla and Broome.
The #1 seeds in Lower State are: Gilbert, Dillon, Wade Hampton and Timberland.
Meanwhile, Laurens, No. 4 seed out of Region 2-AAAAA, will travel to Rock Hill to face the Northwestern Trojans Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at District Three Stadium. Northwestern is the No. 1 seed out of Region 4-AAAAA.
Losing to Greenwood 34-11 Friday night, Laurens finished the season at 3-7. Northwestern defeated Rock Hill 31-21 Friday night to improve to 6-4. (Northwestern won the game.)
“We’ll line up and see what we can make happen,” Red Devil football head coach Andrew Webb said of the trip to Seneca.
The AAA State Championship game will be Saturday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium. The last time the Red Devils won the state title was 2009.
Seneca finished 8-4 last season. The pre-season Friday Night Lights Carolinas said for 2017, “After a full season in (coach Hal Capps’) system the Bobcats should be a contender. They’re experienced on offense, returning eight starters ....” These include Braden Galloway, who is committed to Clemson.
Other players to watch, according to FNL Carolinas, are: Cameron McCutcheon, defensive back; Jalen Wilkerson, defensive line; Hunter Pearson, kicker; and Luke Lynn, offensive line.
“Pearson is is one of the key weapons for the Bobcats, and is ranked the third best kicker in the country,” the pre-season magazine says.
Clinton finished 5-6 last season (first round playoff loss at Chester). Its six losses this season have come to Chapman and Newberry, who played for the Upper State Championship last season; Abbeville, AA state champion; and Laurens, Greer and Broome, all in the playoffs this season.
The Red Devils will go as far as their offensive line will take them. Led by North-South Game selection Kody Varn, the OL sliced up Woodruff, a team felled by injuries this season, to the tune of 244 yards for Mark Wise and 180 yards by Kris Holmes in action Friday at Varner Stadium. Rahseed Smith has developed into a reliable fullback, and he was rewarded against Woodruff with the Red Devils’ final touchdown run.
In their losses, the Red Devils have faced “stack the box” defenses intent on shutting down the run. Sophomore quarterback Konnor Richardson has developed as a passer, but throwing is not a consistent weapon for the Red Devils. Receivers Elijah Campbell, Dawson Green and Tquan Cromer could play an important role for Clinton, if the OL can give Richardson a minute to throw the ball.
(Seneca High School is at 100 Bobcat Ridge, Seneca. It is west of Clinton, Hwy 76 through Anderson and bypassing Clemson, to Hwys 130-59, or I-385 to the Southern Connector and I-85, Exit 12. An alternate route is I-85 to Exit 11, go toward Townville, Seneca High is on this road. Distance is about 83 miles, it will take 1 hour and 30 minutes, one way.)