All season, the football of the Southern Carolinas conference has been really good.
That point was driven home during week one of the state playoffs, as the big four - Porter Ridge, Marvin Ridge, Weddington and Sun Valley - all advanced to the second round.
Porter Ridge entered this weekend 11-0 with a home match against Greensboro Dudley. The Pirates have been the cream of the SCC crop all season, and have climbed to the No. 4 spot in the Sweet 16 rankings. They have a stubborn defense and a lethal offense led by senior quarterback Lee McNeil and running backs Chris Duffy, a junior, and senior Najee Davis.
Marvin Ridge, whose only loss came to the Pirates, is a dangerous team led by senior quarterback Tyler Chadwick. They have played plenty of close games against bigger teams but have found a way to win.
The Mavericks were not thought major contenders this year but have built momentum. Another well-coached team, the Mavericks last week crept into the Sweet 16 for the first time.
Weddington had lost three straight coming into the playoffs but came away with the biggest first-round upset, defeating Belmont South Point 23-17. South Point had been undefeated and was ranked No. 4 in the Sweet 16.
The Warriors and Mavericks are in the 3AA midwest featuring 11-0 Charlotte Catholic and 11-1 A.L. Brown.
Sun Valley has been up and down but blew out A.C. Reynolds 52-23 in the opening round and is capable of winning the 4A west state title with the big three of JaDarrius Williams, Ryan Smith and Jody Fuller.