COLUMBIA, SC - For the second straight season, Midlands high school football will be played at Spirit Communications Park. The Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center Pigskin at the Park series returns with three more exhilarating matchups this fall that feature some of the most talented teams and players in the state:
Friday, September 22, 7:00 p.m. - Gray Collegiate vs. Brookland-Cayce
Friday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. - Spring Valley vs. River Bluff
Friday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. - Ridge View vs. Westwood
"We are thrilled to bring high school football back to Spirit Communications Park this fall," Fireflies team President John Katz said. "This facility is a multi-sport venue, and it's gratifying to once again showcase first-class schools and talented student-athletes to their fans around the Midlands. We'll be providing them with the very best gameday experience."
Brookland-Cayce and Gray Collegiate kick things off on September 22. Brookland-Cayce is coming off one of the best seasons in school history culminated with a regional championship and a trip to the Class 3-A state semifinals. The Bearcats won a school-record 12 games and were slotted third in The State's 2017 pre-season Midlands rankings.
Gray Collegiate hopes to contain B-C and repeat its success from last year's Pigskin at the Park game. The War Eagles finished 2016 with a 4-7 mark, but defeated Eau Claire, 49-3, at Spirit Communications Park on October 21. Gray Collegiate is off to a 3-1 start this season and is led by wide receiver Chylon Thomas, who hauled in 60 passes last year for 947 yards.
Spring Valley and four-star linebacker Channing Tindall battle River Bluff on October 13. Tindall is the number-one ranked recruit in the state of South Carolina, according to 247 Sports, and has scholarship offers from nearly two dozen Division I institutions. The 6-2, 213-pound linebacker is considering South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn and Florida State, among others. Head Coach Robin Bacon's Vikings are already off to a 5-0 start after finishing 9-4 a year ago and making the class 5-A state playoffs. Quarterback Quincy Hill leads Spring Valley's option offense.
First year head coach Blair Hardin pilots River Bluff in 2017. Hardin spent the last three years at North Myrtle Beach and turned the Chiefs program around in a short amount of time. Hardin led North Myrtle Beach to a school-record 12 wins and an appearance in the Class 4-A lower state semifinals last season. This was just two years removed from a four-win season. Keep an eye out for linebacker Noah Johnson, the Gators' top tackler in 2016.
Ridge View brings back plenty of experience - 13 starters to be exact - after winning 10 games in 2016. Defensive tackle Damion Daley (brother of University of South Carolina football player Dennis Daley) is one of the top-ranked players in the state with scholarship offers to schools like UCF and Georgia State, according to head coach Perry Parks. The third-year head coach will also lean on talented wide receiver Bernard Porter this season. The Blazers took down Fairfield Central when they played at Spirit Communications Park last September. Five players off Parks' 2016 squad went on to sign scholarships with FBS schools.
Westwood looks to topple Ridge View on October 20. The Redhawks, led by head coach Dustin Curtis, are off to a quick 3-1 start this season, which already surpasses the team's 2016 win total. Westwood has already beaten rival Blythewood to reclaim the Jeanne Schmidt Memorial Trophy.
Tickets for the high school football games will be $7 - with the majority of the proceeds going back to the host school - and will be available on game days at Spirit Communications Park.
For group outings and luxury suite rentals, please contact the Fireflies at 803-726-4487.
About the Columbia Fireflies
The Columbia Fireflies are the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Winners of Ballpark Digest's Best New Branding and Logo Award in 2016, the Fireflies play games across the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including against in-state rivals in Charleston and Greenville. The team partnered with the city of Columbia and Hughes Development to construct Spirit Communications Park, a multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue at the center of the BullStreet development. The Columbia Fireflies are owned by Hardball Capital, owners of the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League and the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League. For more information, visit ColumbiaFireflies.com, or follow the Fireflies on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group
The Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group is a not-for-profit company that brings together health care providers from two of South Carolina's most respected organizations - Palmetto Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. With more than 500 providers and 2,200 team members in more than 80 practices and nearly 100 locations, we form the largest multispecialty medical group and provide the broadest range of health care services in the Midlands region. For more information about orthopedics, visit PHUSCMG.org.
About Spirit Communications Park
Spirit Communications Park, the 2016 Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year, is a 365-day per year multi-use sports and entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Columbia, SC. Spirit Communications Park is the home ballpark for the Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Designed for baseball, concerts, football, soccer and a host of other activities, the venue can accommodate approximately 9,000 for sporting events and up to 15,000 for major outdoor concerts. With 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot Club Level Lounge, Spirit Communications Park can also host everything from business meetings to wedding receptions, and everything in between. The venue is open 365 days a year and serves as a public park with the wrap-around concourse representing 1/3 of a mile for walkers and joggers. For more information, visit www.SpiritCommunicationsPark.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.