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Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)
After a week off due to the threat of Hurricane Florence, area high school football teams will be back on the field Friday night.
The South Carolina High School League's Executive Committee on Tuesday voted 18-0 in favor of pushing back the regular season by one week in an effort to allow teams to make up at least one game at the end of the schedule.
The decision also pushes the start of the state playoffs back a week, thus moving the state championship games to Dec. 7-8. Class A and AA will play their title games at Benedict College on Dec. 7, while Williams-Brice Stadium is slated to host AAA, AAAA and AAAAA games on Dec. 8.
SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton indicated he still has to confirm the availability of both sites on the new dates.
The playoffs would begin Nov. 9.
Games will proceed as originally scheduled this week, while local schools are afforded the opportunity to play last week's games in the added week before the playoffs begin.
While the Lowcountry was spared the devastation of heavy rains and flooding, residents up the coast along the grand strand and in the Pee Dee were not so fortunate. Several schools in those areas are likely to miss games Friday in addition to the games last week.
The most affected areas include Horry, Chesterfield, Marion, Darlington and Marlboro counties.
"It goes without saying the aftermath for many of our counties is one of tremendous damage," Singleton said. "Loss of homes, vehicles and other personal properties, not to mention the schools and athletic facilities. Working as a team has and will always be the strongest characteristic the SCHSL membership displays year after year."
Most of the 50 games that were postponed last week around the Lower State and Midlands were non-region games (eight were region contests) and do not necessarily have to be made up since they have no bearing on state playoff qualifying. There are 18 possible games affected this Friday, with half being region games.
Region 7-AA, which includes Andrews, was to begin region play last Friday. If a second region game is postponed on Friday, teams could chose to play Monday or Tuesday and Saturday next week, with the week at the end of the season to allow for the other missed region game to be played. Andrews is scheduled to play Johnsonville on Friday.
This is the third time in four years the league has been forced to alter the football schedule due to weather. In 2015, the "flood of the century" forced a one week extension. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 forced a two-week extension with state championship games played on the same day as the Shrine Bowl all-star game.
One of the highlighted games this Friday will be the 65th meeting between Berkeley and Summerville at John McKissick Field in Summerville. Both teams are ranked in the state's top 10 of Class AAAAA.
"We're ready to get back to work and continue the improvement that we have made over the last few weeks," Summerville coach Joe Call said. "We are obviously very thankful that Florence spared us, and we realize others were not so lucky. But we are very excited to be playing again, and having Berkeley this week is a huge challenge. To be a non-region game between two top-10 teams brings a little extra motivation to a long rivalry."
In the biggest game of the regular season in SCISA, First Baptist will host perennial power Hammond in a Class AAA contest of undefeated teams.
First Baptist moved to AAA this fall after winning back-to-back state titles in Class AA. Hammond has won two consecutive titles in AAA and has won nine state championships under head coach Erik Kimrey.
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