High school football weekly preview, by Tyler Cupp
DUTCH FORK (5-0, 1-0) AT RIVER BLUFF (5-0)
A lot of folks are deeming this the game of the week. Two undefeated teams clashing on the campus River Bluff high school for Homecoming. I talk about it every week. The Silver Foxes are just too good. Everyone knows this by now. It’s just a matter of how many more points allow them to win. The only chance the Gators have is by creating some form of turnover or excitement on defense early, while keeping away from DF on offense. They certainly have the rushing attack to do so. Braden Walker and Antonio Gantt have combined to rush for over 1300 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. However, if the Silver Foxes shut that down and make the Gators one dimensional, its going to be a long night for the home crowd in Lexington. As good as those backs are for River Bluff, the Silver Foxes bring maybe the best duo of receivers with them. Gage Zirke and Jalin Hyatt have combined for 1100 yards and 17 touchdowns at wideout. Those are crazy numbers in high school. Not sure if the Gators will have any answer for that tandem. Most people believe DF is just on another level (Nationally Ranked and #1 in the State) and that’s going to be the ultimate test for anyone who faces them
IRMO (4-2, 1-0) AT BLYTHEWOOD (4-1, 0-0)
Series note-9th all time meeting. The series is split 4-4
Huge region contest here in Blythewood. After Irmo got a thrilling come from behind win over Spring Valley, they can really position themselves well with a victory against the Bengals. But the Bengals have been feisty. Coming off a bye, the Bengals put together a couple of nice wins in non-region play before that. A rally to beat North Augusta and a big blowout win over Beaufort headline the previous weeks. And with this being the first region game for Blythewood, they know this one is all important. I’m curious to see if Wake Forest commit Kendrell Flowers returns for Irmo. Per Coach Kennedy in a radio interview, he said his star tailback was 85 percent. That would be a big boost to the Yellow Jacket dynamic offense. John Ragin at QB has proven he can throw it if needed as well. Watch out for Bengals D-lineman Nick Rogers (five sacks) as he could play a role in limiting Irmo’s big plays. The constant however has been Blythewood’s Jaylon Boyd (900 yards and 9 TDs). The Bengals have stayed true to the running game, it will be no different here.
WHITE KNOLL (4-2, 0-1) AT CHAPIN (3-2, 0-1)
It’s always interesting to see how a team responds after losing to Dutch Fork. Because every team has lost by large deficits. Spring Valley and Irmo both bounced back, let’s see if Chapin can too. I believe they can, but it’s going to be a tough task for the Chapin defensive coaches. Aveon Smith (700 rush, 800 pass yards 21 total TDs) comes to town to lead the T-wolves for a region clash. This is a hugely important game for both these clubs. A win is essentially the difference in either one making the postseason. Both are 0-1 and this is a contest they need desperately. I think James Wells (48 tackles) and this Chapin Eagle defensive unit will have its hands full but they have the ability to do it. The offense for Chapin is still behind a young offensive front but they are big in size and should pose problems for the WK defensive front. If it’s a shootout, it may favor WK but Coach Gentry and company will have a good game plan in place.
Sidebar-I noticed in the stats this week that Chapin’s kicker Alex Nelson is averaging 40 yards per punt. The kickers don’t often get talked about unless it’s bad but a punter like that can be a weapon.
FAIRFIELD CENTRAL (2-5, 1-0) AT CAMDEN (5-1)
Series note: Fairfield leads the all-time series 8-2. Griffins won last year 27-7.
Fairfield Central makes the short drive from Hwy 34 and across Lugoff to take on the Bulldogs of Camden. This has been a fun series the last few years since they’ve shared the region. On paper, and mentally, this could be a bit of a trap game for Camden. The Bulldogs are coming off an emotional win over West Florence and are being looked at as a favorite with Chester to win the region. But standing in their way is a young, but talented and prideful Fairfield Central team. Not to write off Fairfield at all, but the Griffins have struggled defensively losing 10 starters from a year ago, and start a freshman quarterback on offense too. And here’s the other part of that: since October of 2011, the Griffins have yet to lose a region game. That’s five years of going unbeaten (34-0) in region play, which of course includes a few years in 2A before making the jump up a classification. Will Barber (747 rush yards, 9 TD) at running back has put up some big games here lately for the Griffins and will be tough to stop. Camden gave up around 200 yards rushing to West Florence a week ago. Bryce Jeffcoat (974 yards 10 TD) at QB has been a real bright spot and senior leader forr the Dogs, too.
Even with their talented backfield it’s allowed him to have some big plays downfield. This one could be another shootout and anyone’s game.
SPRING VALLEY (3-2, 0-1) AT LUGOFF-ELGIN (0-7, 0-1)
Summing up the struggles of Lugoff-Elgin can be tough. Winless on the year and coming off a 45-0 shutout to start region play, the outlook the rest of the way does not look much better. So to sum up these struggles the best I can for LE, I will use a really random couple of quotes from a personal favorite. Outside of sports, I’m a huge comic book movie fan. And in ‘Marvel’s the Avengers’, Nick Fury(played by Samuel L.Jackson) always finds a way to rally the group of heroes to save the day. “We are hopelessly, and hilariously outgunned everywhere.” Fury says. That easily describes LE being in 5A with only 32 players dressing out and playing with the youth, against bigger and stronger athletes every week. And in another movie he says “All that’s left is our wit, and our wills, to the save the world.” Well, the Demons aren’t fighting an alien invasion, or battling an army of Ultron robots, they are simply trying to win a football game. The ‘wit’ referred to is the coaches trying to devise and outsmart the opposing team while the ‘wills’ is on the players and the hard work they put in to achieve the ultimate goal.
It’s going to be a stiff test vs a very talented Spring Valley team coming off a loss. The Vikings know this is a win they need if they want to get back to the playoffs and possibly a home playoff game. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is tight early. LE is going to run right into the teeth of that Viking defense and try to sustain drives. Spring Valley does what they do with that triple option attack. They will wear down the LE defensive front and by the second half could break through. LE does not pass much but they better be careful when they do. The Vikings have one of the better secondaries in the Midlands. Jalen Geiger has three interceptions but he is also a great tackler out there at DB. All those guys at SV can cover, tackle and make plays in so many ways.
Best of the rest
RIDGE VIEW AT RICHLAND NORTHEAST
I expect the Blazers to bounce back here. RV standouts Terry Carson (69 tackles) and Deaundre Brown (sevevn sacks) could have big games on defense vs the Cavaliers.
YORK AT WESTWOOD
Another bounce back game I think for a Midlands team. The Redhawks are coming off a tough loss to South Pointe but they should favored here against
York at home. Ahmon Green is one of 5 passers in the Midlands who have thrown for over 1000 yards. He has added 12 passing touchdowns.
BROOKLAND-CAYCE AT SOUTH AIKEN
Tough one here for B-C. They are on the road against a very talented South Aiken club. But I think that win last week over North Augusta gave them a ton of confidence. Reed Charpia is tops in the midlands in passing yards at 1800 and over 12 total scores.
NEWBERRY AT EMERALD
The leading rusher in the Midlands Ahmorae Wilmore (1100 yards 11 TDs) and the Newberry Bulldogs travel to Greenwood for a tough region contest.
CA JOHNSON AT EAU CLAIRE
The Shamrocks are looking for their first region win and might just get it here. Ron Davis Jr. still leads the Midlands in tackles with 95. It’s the 41st all time meeting. Shamrocks lead the series 21-18-1.
NORTH CENTRAL AT CHESTERFIELD
The Knights of North Central are 2-0 in region play for the first time since 1997. They have not been 3-0 since 1996. A win over the Rams could put them in a position to the very least, host a home playoff game.
DREHER AT ORANGEBURG-WILKINSON
LAKEWOOD AT AC FLORA
CRESTWOOD AT LOWER RICHLAND