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Category Archives: Sports

Unbeaten Chester blanks Devils in first round

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

claycounts21@yahoo.com

CHESTER — Led by a stifling defense, the undefeated Chester Cyclones rolled over Liberty in the two teams’ Class 3A playoff opener on Friday night with a 47-0 shutout.

But the result of one game does nothing to define this year’s Red Devils, according to coach Kyle Stewart.

Despite a small roster, Liberty showed heart and determination even when facing the toughest odds this season — the team’s first in Class 3A.

“It’s been a difficult year with our numbers, but the guys did not back down,” Stewart said. “I believe they can be proud of the fact they bumped up to 3A and made the playoffs in year one.”

Despite playing with a stark lack of depth all season long, the Devils finished the regular season with a .500 record and managed to take fourth place in Region I-3A to earn their shot at the postseason — a school record third playoff berth in as many years.

With a long road trip to open the playoffs at Chester, the Red Devils got a warm sendoff from the community, as many fans showed their support at the school as the team hit the road Friday.

After an extra week of rest and preparation, the Devils looked to spoil the Cyclones’ perfect season and advance to the second round, but it was not to be, as the Chester defense held Liberty to just 58 total yards in pitching the shutout.

“Our guys played hard,” Stewart said. “(The Cyclones) hit a couple of big

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Tigers clinch shot at another conference


By Alex Maminakis
Courtesy The Journal

alex@upstatetoday.com

CLEMSON — For a fourth consecutive year, the Clemson Tigers are champions of the ACC’s Atlantic Division.

Second-ranked Clemson wrapped up the Atlantic title with Saturday night’s 27-7 road win at No. 17 Boston College, as the Tigers wore their orange britches for the first — but not the last — time this season.

Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC) is undefeated through the first 10 games of the

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Pickens senior marks milestone

PICKENS — Pickens High School senior Lexi Wierzbicki found her first passion at age 3, competing as a gymnast.

However, as she grew, she had to move on because she was too tall for the sport. Out of necessity, she focused on volleyball in the seventh grade. Since then, Wierzbicki has become one of the top players in the state for the Lady Blue Flame, being named Region I-4A player of the year three times, but last week she marked an even bigger achievement.

During Pickens’ second-round Class 4A playoff matchup with York on Oct. 30, Wierzbicki recorded her 1,000th career kill.

Wierzbicki, who has been a starter for the Flame since her freshman year in 2015, entered the contest needing 11 kills. She knew it and the team knew it, but the task at hand was to beat York and advance.

“I didn’t want to focus on anything but a win for our team,” Wierzbicki said after Pickens’ straight-sets victory.

Already up 2-0, the Flame climbed ahead in the third set. The Pickens

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Flame head to Greer to open postseason

By Rocky Nimmons
Publisher

rnimmons@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — The Pickens Blue Flame met one of their goals for season when they defeated the Palmetto Mustangs Oct. 26 and earned a spot in the Class 4A playoffs with a fourth-place finish in region play.

The feat was another step for Chad Smith’s team, which has continued to play hard and improve as the season progressed.

Pickens, however, has the dubious task of facing one of the best teams in the state when it travels to Greer to take on the Yellow Jackets in Round 1.

The Blue Flame (4-6, 2-3) know how to fight and battle to the end with talented teams and have shown great fight all season. Pickens lost three

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Devils set to open playoffs with trip to unbeaten Chester

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

claycounts21@yahoo.com

LIBERTY — After a big road win over Powdersville earned the team a school-record third playoff trip in a row, the Liberty Red Devils are looking for more, beginning with a shot at knocking off undefeated Chester on the road in the first round this Friday night.

Liberty’s 21-13 road win over the Patriots on Oct. 25 was a fitting end to a 5-5 regular season, as the team faced some adversity but battled back to come away with the win, just as the Devils rebounded from three tough losses in the region schedule and won the finale to earn their postseason berth and keep their season alive.

“Just proud overall and proud of the second half with these guys,” Liberty coach Kyle Stewart said after the win at Powdersville. “There’s been some

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Lions seek first playoff win since 2013


Daniel playoff game with Eastside moved to Thursday Night at 7 p.m.

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

bnimmons@thepccourier.com

CENTRAL — The South Carolina high school football playoffs have arrived, and the Daniel Lions are in their best postseason position since 2013.

That year, the Lions burst through the playoffs on their way to a trip to Columbia for the state championship game against Myrtle Beach. The Lions lost to the Seahawks and have since followed with four consecutive first-round losses.

Things appear to be different for Daniel this season, however, as the 8-1 Lions have exceeded all preseason expectations and looked dominant throughout the season, winning their first eight games by an average of 27 points.

And while Daniel’s loss to No. 1 overall seed and region champion Belton-

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Tigers rack up nearly 500 yards on the ground in huge win over Louisville

By Alex Maminakis
Courtesy The Journal

alex@upstatetoday.com

CLEMSON — The Clemson Tigers had plenty of fun during Saturday’s 77-16 rout of Louisville at Memorial Stadium, and junior defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence got his time to shine early in the second half.

The previous week at Florida State, it was tackle Christian Wilkins who

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Blue Flame survive must-win game to earn playoff berth

By Rocky Nimmons
Publisher

rnimmons@thepccourier.com

WILLIAMSTON — They say football is a game of inches, and that was never more true than it was Friday night as the Pickens Blue Flame collectively held their breaths when Palmetto Mustang kicker Francisco Cortez lined up to attempt a 46-yard field goal in the waning second of the contest.

If the ball found its way through the uprights, Pickens’ season would have come to an end, but if it didn’t, the Blue Flame would have earned their spot in the Class 4A playoffs.

The tension was at an all-time high as the teams lined up. Pickens had shown great heart all night, battling the Mustangs tooth and nail from start to finish, and it all came down to this one play.

Like something from a movie, time seemed to go into slow motion as the ball was snapped and Cortez made his approach. As it was kicked, all eyes followed it through the air. Going end over end, the ball was on path and it looked as if the Flame’s season was going to be over.

As the pigskin tumbled through the air and started its downward path, no one in the stadium was sure if it had the distance, and as it fell just inches short, the Pickens sideline erupted when the referees under the goal posts signaled no good, giving the Blue Flame a 29-27 victory and a fourth-place finish in Region I-4A.

“That was unbelievable. With everything that went against us, that was amazing,” Pickens head coach Chad Smith said after the game. “To have everything that happened and to fight through adversity and to beat a very good football team, it was amazing.”

The game was as close statistically as the finish indicated, with the Blue

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Devils come from behind to top Pats, make postseason

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

claycounts21@yahoo.com

POWDERSVILLE — With everything on the line, the Liberty Red Devils overcame a halftime deficit to wrap up a fourth-place region finish and their third consecutive playoff trip with a 21-13 victory at Powdersville in last week’s regular-season finale.

In a game moved up a day to Thursday due to the threat of poor weather, the Devils bounced back from a disappointing 22-6 loss to Pendleton the week before to extend their season and earn a trip to Region III-3A

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Easley season comes to end with road loss

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

ejolley@thepccourier.com

LAURENS — It was a case of win and advance to the playoffs or lose and go home Friday night as Easley and Laurens battled at K.C. Hanna Stadium.

Unfortunately for the visiting Green Wave, mistakes, missed opportunities and too much of Laurens fullback Duane Martin led to a 42-12 Raider win, ending Easley’s season.

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Martin rushed for three touchdowns in the game.

With the loss, the Green Wave finish 4-6 overall and 3-4 in Region I-5A. An

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