Originally created 11/15/02

Burke County bearing down to take next step up



Burke County coach Steve Summers has to check his math, but he's pretty sure he's got all the playoff possibilities covered.

Three teams - the Bears, Hephzibah and Glenn Hills - vie for the fourth and final postseason spot in Region 3-AAAA heading into the last night of the regular season.

Pencils and calculators could replace helmets and pads to determine who sneaks in.

If Glenn Hills upsets Statesboro tonight, the Spartans are in. If they lose and Burke County beats winless Lakeside, the Bears advance to the postseason. If both teams fall and Hephzibah gets by Cross Creek, the Rebels move on.

Finally, if all three lose, Burke County gets in.

Since Glenn Hills holds its own destiny, Summers is trying to convince the Bears not to feel any pressure.

"The thing I've told them is just because everybody's talking about it, we can't help (how Glenn Hills fares)," Summers said. "We have to win to get in. If we don't win, we're for sure not going to the playoffs."

A month ago, the Bears didn't seem to have a chance at the postseason. After losing to Baldwin 10-6 on Oct. 18, their record dropped to 2-5,but Burke County pulled out three straight wins to give itself a chance.

"Everything since Baldwin has been a must-win game," Summers said. "We've done a good job of staying focused on one opponent at a time. They just kept playing hard."

HOME COOKING: Screven County coach Mark Daniel would much rather finish the season this way - with two teams undefeated in conference play squaring off for the Region 2-AAA title.

He'll get his wish tonight at 7:30 when the Gamecocks travel to Appling County to decide who wears the crown.

"You dream about these things happening," Daniel said. "It's pretty good to be in this position and play for the region championship. A lot of people are just jockeying for playoff position, but for us, this is an exciting thing."

If Screven County, ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, prevails tonight, it receives a No. 1 seed and would play the fourth-place finisher in Region 3-AAA, likely Jefferson County. It also would earn home-field advantage for every game except the semifinals in the Georgia Dome.

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com.