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Off week of football gives time for reflection on the season

For the third since the season opener back on Aug. 19 at Paulson Stadium, the football Gamecocks of Ron Duncan have an open Friday night. 

The first and third are on the schedule published long ago. The middle was Statesboro’s choice. If nothing else, our Roosters are getting plenty of rest and should be fresh for the stretch drive.

Right now the key is to get through the next three games injury-free and fine tune some things. 

Jefferson County will be here on Nov. 3. 

Things have gone pretty good thus far in 2017. 

It takes no more than a look at the AJC and GSWA polls, where SCHS ranks third in each, to understand that things have gone well. However, there is a long way to go and much work to be done.

On Wednesday, the softball Lady Gamecocks traveled to Harlem to vie for the region championship. Because the next two state playoff series are on Wednesday, our information in the Telephone will always be basically a week behind. As you read this, you will already know the outcome of the two games on Oct. 4, unless there was a split. 

That outcome will affect the location of second round state series to be played on Oct. 18. Of course, we have to win the series from Oct. 11-12 to be playing then. 

Anyway …

It is this way for sure. Next Wednesday the Lady Gamecocks of Jim Randall Doyle will be hosting a first round Class AA state playoff doubleheader on Oct. 11 no matter what. Again, to play on the 18th, that series must be won.

From the statewide statistical categories as well as the “take it with a grain of salt” categories comes the following numbers: Through five games, SCHS is the best in the state when it comes to points allowed per game with 6.60. SCHS dropped to fourth in scoring, now at 45.4 per game. Finally in average margin of victory the Gamecocks are still No. 1 at 38.8 per game. 

These statistical rankings are for Class AA only and they have a lot to do with who you play. We have nothing to do with our Region 4AA opponents. The one game we did not get to play against AAAAA Statesboro might have changed things, but who knows.

We definitely would have scored five to six touchdowns, but how many would they have scored? None? Two? Your guess is as good as mine. They did not want to find out.

Let’s do some maybe interesting Gamecock history. The shutout for the Gamecocks Friday night was noteworthy as it was their third in a row. Not since 1988 have the Dirty Birds done that. Of course, that team recorded six in a row and eight on the season. Beyond that only 1987, 1962, 1957 and 1956 have accomplished the feat of three in a row. Other than the ’88 team, only the 1956 team pitched a fourth goose egg in a row.

What about those five other teams? 

Well they all existed when just one team per region advanced to state (as opposed to four today). The most recent of the previous list existed when there were two rounds of region playoffs, but still only the region champion advanced. Well the 1988 team went 10-2 and 1987 went 7-5 and both advanced to their region title games and lost. 

In ’88, Vidalia won the 3AA title game at Kelly Memorial while in ’87 Camden County won the 2AA championship game at Kelly Memorial.

In 1962, Jack Miller’s Gamecocks went 9-2 and won the Region 2A title and was defeated by Americus in the state semifinals at what would later be known as Kelly Memorial Stadium. Back then there were only four regions and by winning the region a team was automatically in the state semifinals.

Oh boy for 1957. The Roosters went 8-2 and finished runner-up in 2A to eventual state champion Statesboro. The Devils defeated SCHS 13-0 during the regular season at the old Cail Field. That 1956 team recorded only a 5-4-1 record (with four consecutive shutouts included) and finished but fourth in 2A (state playoffs today). One of their losses was 14-7 (at old Cail Field) to eventual state champion Statesboro.

Between Friday and Saturday night everyone in 4AA played and maybe there are some trends to be noted and maybe not. 

Of course, the Gamecocks and Jefferson County Warriors (49-8 over Glenn Hills) won easily. Harlem should still be the No. 3 seed, especially if they get their running backs back. Butler routed Josey 32-6. Oh boy. Saturday night Laney outlasted Westside 21-20. Oh boy again. This region really is the Big Two and the Little Five.

Only three games this week -- the original bye week for the region. Harlem (4-2, 2-1) is at Jeffco (6-0, 3-0). Laney (1-5, 1-2) is at Glenn Hills (3-3, 1-2). Westside (0-5, 0-2) is at Josey (1-4, 0-2).

As for an outcome of the latter pair of games?? Pick’em yourself. 

Glenn Hills or Laney one will be tied for third/fourth place with Harlem because one of them will be 2-2. Westside or Josey, one of whom must win, will be just a game behind the true playoff contenders. It doesn’t seem like anything except the top is sorting out.

So much for getting your name in the paper when you make the Hall of Fame. I spelled Kate Freeman Haslam’s name wrong multiple times in my Hall article last week. It is Haslam, not Halsam. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men …….

If you try to listen via radio to games on Friday night, there have been serious problems for two weeks. There was a meeting of the “powers that be” and me Wednesday at the infamous Goat Farm (the location of the production of the broadcasts) to try to figure things out.

There have been sound card problems at the studio and Sim card problems with jetpacks. As of my last conversation, the problem with the Harlem broadcast was unexplained. Whatever the case, the Skype from the press box made it to the studio in fine fashion on both nights.  

A collegiate score from Saturday night showed Troy with 24 and LSU with 21. That score came from Baton Rouge and Death Valley no less. That is a very big win for the lowly Sun Belt Conference. 

To beat a dead horse yet again, two years ago Georgia Southern was on its way to doing something like that, or at least beating Indiana in Memorial Stadium (aka The Rock, apparently). Now they cannot beat FCS schools. 

As of this writing, I don’t know what happened on ESPN2 last night in Georgia Southern’s conference opener, hopefully it was not a loss. Is that the Southern Conference and back to FCS I hear calling? 

Hey Savannah State went up to Division I and retreated back into Division II. Hopefully someone in the athletic department at GSU will get things worked out.

Enjoy your Friday night off.