As the 2009 season began, all eyes in Region 4-A locked in on the regular season finale between Williston-Elko and Blackville-Hilda as a potential region championship game. After a surprising regular season, the big matchup actually means nothing when it comes to the final region standings.
"Right now as far as we're concerned, we're still going to be fourth (in the region) win, lose or draw on Friday," Blackville-Hilda coach David Berry said.
Blackville-Hilda is stuck in fourth place after losses to Hunter-Kinard-Tyler and C.A. Johnson. Even a victory over undefeated Williston-Elko wouldn't be enough to lift the Fighting Hawks up in the standings.
The Class A state playoffs, similar to the Class AAAA format, is split into two divisions with larger Class A schools crowing one state champion and the smaller schools competing for a Class A D-II crown. Most of the teams in Region 4-A are in the smaller division, including Blackville-Hilda and Williston-Elko. The postseason format means Blackville-Hilda, although already locked in at fourth in the region, still doesn't know exactly where it will play in the first round of the state playoffs.
"We'll know after Friday night," Berry said. "We're probably looking at a 6 or 7 seed."
POSTSEASON MATCHUPS : Most South Carolina teams will play their final regular season games this week, but a few can already look ahead to postseason play.
- Silver Bluff, which has clinched the Region 5-AA championship, knows it will most likely face Bishop England in the first round of the state playoffs. The Battling Bishops (3-6, 1-3) will wrap up Region 6-AA's No. 4 seed this week if they beat Garrett (1-7, 0-4) or if Ashley Ridge (4-5, 1-3) loses to Woodland (4-5, 3-1). Ashley Ridge would need a win over Woodland and a Bishop England loss to slip into fourth place in the region and earn the right to play at Silver Bluff.
- Strom Thurmond, with the Region 3-AA No. 1 seed already in hand, will await this week's outcome of the Lee Central at Andrew Jackson game in Region 4-AA. An Andrew Jackson (3-5, 1-3) win over Lee Central (4-5, 0-4) would give the Volunteers the region's No. 4 seed and the right to play at Strom Thurmond in the first round of the state playoffs. An Andrew Jackson loss to Lee Central, coupled with a Eau Claire (1-8) win over Keenan (7-2), would give Eau Claire the No. 4 seed.
- The winner of the Midland Valley-South Aiken game, which will claim the Region 5-AAA No. 2 seed, will play host to the Region 4-AAA No. 3 seed, which is still up for grabs.
- The loser of the Midland Valley-South Aiken game, which will become Region 5-AAA's No. 3 seed, will play its first-round playoff game at the loser of Friday's Camden (7-2) at Marlboro County (9-0) game.