The South Carolina football playoffs continue this week with the opening week for Class AAAA and the second week for Class AAA and lower.
There weren't too many surprises from the local teams last week, save for South Aiken's huge upset of Hilton Head.
Here's how I see this week's games playing out:
Richland Northeast at Aiken, 8 p.m.: The Hornets lost to the Cavaliers midway through the season, one of two losses for Aiken this year. But based on recent form, I don't see Aiken losing this one. Aiken 24, RNE 14
North Augusta at Laurens: The Yellow Jackets lost last week's rivalry game to Aiken without star running back Tidy Johnson. The only losses for Laurens this year came against traditional powers Dorman and Greenwood. Even if Tidy can go, it's still a battle for Dan Pippin's team. Laurens 17, North Augusta 14
South Aiken at Marlboro County: Only in South Carolina, it seems, can a 2-8 team make the playoffs and then upset a heavy favorite. Don't blame South Aiken, though, blame the system. Marlboro County is where the Thoroughbreds' playoff run ends, as the Bulldogs are solid on both sides of the ball and will be on the lookout for an upset. Marlboro County 35, South Aiken 21
Camden at Midland Valley: Rick Knight's Mustangs are on a roll thanks to a six-game winning streak. The 5-AAA champs have put up impressive numbers, scoring 35 or more points in their last four wins. Camden is coming off a blowout win of its own, so something has to give. Midland Valley 31, Camden 21
Southside at Strom Thurmond: Lee Sawyer and the Rebels haven't been challenged since September, when they beat Silver Bluff 7-0. Southside has put up huge numbers the last two weeks, winning 69-0 and 74-37, but chances are the Tigers haven't seen a defense as good as Strom Thurmond's. Strom Thurmond 38, Southside 24
Dillon at Silver Bluff: Bulldogs coach Al Lown warned before the season that realignment would create some interesting matchups in AA this year. Well, he was right. Dillon, a traditional AAA power, is next up for Silver Bluff. Lown's Bulldogs have scored 31 or more in six consecutive games; Dillon has put up impressive numbers of its own, and two of its three losses have come against AAA schools. Home field (and Juanita Scott's bullhorn) should be enough to lift the Bulldogs. Silver Bluff 21, Dillon 17
Barnwell at Cheraw: Joey Still's Warhorses have recovered nicely since the early-season tragedy of losing a teammate. Last week Barnwell outscored Burke in a 56-48 shootout. Cheraw can score points, too, and I suspect the Braves play better defense than Burke. Cheraw 35, Barnwell 24
Williston-Elko at Christ Church: This could be the most entertaining game of the week. Think Texas-Texas Tech in a Big 12-style shootout. Both teams have one loss, and both the Blue Devils and Cavaliers have put up huge numbers on offense. Last one with the football wins it. Williston-Elko 42, Christ Church 38
Lake View at Blackville-Hilda: David Berry's Fighting Hawks haven't been challenged this season. But Lake View has been like Kryptonite to Blackville-Hilda's Superman in the past. Twice this decade the Wild Gators defeated the Hawks in the Class A semifinals. With Joe Thomas carrying the load, I don't see the Hawks losing this year. Blackville-Hilda 28, Lake View 21