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The high school football playoffs in The T&D Region nearly started with an early upset.

It was 3-time defending SCISA 8-man Division II champion Andrew Jackson Academy who held off a strong challenge by SCISA 8-man Division I champion Wardlaw Academy to win in overtime, 26-20. The victory extended the Palmetto State’s longest winning streak to 47 games, as AJA advanced in the combined bracket for a single 8-man title this season.

Up next for the Confederates is a semifinal matchup at home this Friday with Clarendon Hall. The Saints have lost the last four meetings against AJA. In fact, since losing 36-8 to Clarendon Hall on Sept. 5, 2014, the Confederates have gone 56-1.

The S.C. High School League playoffs kick off as early as Thursday as Orangeburg-Wilkinson travels to York for a first-round matchup in the Class 4A playoffs. It’s one of two postseason matchups that are also first-time meetings for the area, the other has Calhoun County visiting Burke.

Other Friday matchups have Branchville visiting Military Magnet, Hannah-Pamplico visiting Bamberg-Ehrhardt, and Woodland visiting Mullins.

Meanwhile, Blackville-Hilda and Bethune-Bowman both have first-round byes. The Hawks will play host to the McBee/Ware Shoals winner on Nov. 16, and at the same time the Mohawks will play host to the winner of this week's game between Hemingway and Scott’s Branch.

Team of the week

Jefferson Davis Academy: The Raiders won a 62-46 shootout over Palmetto Christian to move within a victory over Beaufort Academy this Friday of returning to the SCISA 8-man title game for a second-straight year. A win could potentially set up an opportunity to avenge their lone loss of the season, and last year's championship game loss, to Andrew Jackson Academy.

WEEK 11 playoff gridiron giants

Jamario James (Hunter-Kinard-Tyler) - 15 tackles, 2 sacks

Jerrious Coleman (Hunter-Kinard-Tyler) - 10 tackles

Jimmy Bozard (Jefferson Davis Academy) - 269 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Trent Johnson (Jefferson Davis Academy) - 104 rushing yards, TD

Donte Payne (Jefferson Davis Academy) - 11 tackles

Will Shaw (Orangeburg Prep) - 120 total yards, TD

Wesley Wells (Orangeburg Prep) - 13 tackles

Evan Lambrecht, John Pascoe, and Braxton Wannamaker (all of Orangeburg Prep) - 10 tackles each

QUOTABLE

"We had a little bit of selfishness tonight. Everybody decided they wanted to be the hero and we struggled because of it.” - Andrew Jackson Academy head football coach Allen Sitterle.

S.C. Prep Football Media Poll

Class 2A: 1. Abbeville (14), 2. Barnwell, 3. Carvers Bay, 4. Southside Christian, 5. Bamberg-Ehrhardt, 6. Timberland, 7. Ninety-Six, 8. Mullins, 9. Landrum, 10. Hannah-Pamplico. Receiving votes: Buford, Saluda.

Class A: 1. Lamar (14), 2. Wagener-Salley, 3. Dixie, 4. Lake View, 5. Baptist Hill, 6. Blackville-Hilda, 7. Bethune-Bowman, 8. Green Sea-Floyds, 9. Ridge Spring-Monetta, 10. St. John’s. Receiving votes: C.E. Murray, Whitmire, Branchville.

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Thomas Grant Jr. reported on The T&D Region sports scene for two decades as a Times and Democrat staffer. In 2014, he became sports editor of The Lexington County Chronicle and The Dispatch-News in Lexington.

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