High school football week 0 games to watch, by Tyler Cupp
MALLARD CREEK(NC) VS DUTCH FORK
Two games in the palmetto state are getting national coverage and attention. As part of ESPN’s Geico High School Kickoff, a number of games will be televised with two of them right here in South Carolina. It’s the first time since 2014 that teams from SC have been on ESPN and the first ever for Columbia football. We start in Ballentine where the three time defending state champion Dutch Fork Silver Foxes take on North Carolina powerhouse Mallard Creek. Both teams are preseason #1 in their respective classes and states. Mallard Creek finished runner up last season losing in the state title game. They won three straight titles from 2013 to 2015. They feature a slew of talent including three big time commits. Trenton Simpson (Auburn) Arabee Muslim (Charlotte) and and Quentin Williams (Miami) will be the guys to look out for.
Lots of excitement for this one considering these teams never even got to play last year due to weather. Listening to some comments from DF coach Tom Knotts, it seems his concern will be the offensive line and making sure those guys play together well. DF did not allow a regular season sack last year, and I’m sure he would like to keep that streak going. Knotts also said this is almost like a state championship to start the year. There was even talk in the off-season of putting this game at Bank of America in Charlotte, but they eventually decided to put it on the home turf in SC with a 60/40 split of the gate money. Going to be a great atmosphere. And, you can watch it on ESPN2 Friday night.
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (PA) HAMMOND
The other nationally televised game in the SC this weekend will be at Hammond. The Skyhawks have quite the task ahead of them as they play host to Southern Columbia out of Catawissa, Pensylvannia. The talent on the field will be impressive as on one side with Hammond, you have the two of the top players in the state in Jordan Burch and Alex Huntley. The latter has already committed to SC while Burch is still undecided. He does however seem to have it narrowed down to Clemson, SC and Georgia. Also, I will be keeping an eye on Hammond’s QB Jackson Muschamp, the son of Gamecock football coach, Will Muschamp. Jackson already has multiple offers including some Ivy League schools and even Boston College. As for the Tigers of Southern Columbia, they feature three star players who are all committed. Julian Fleming(Ohio State), Cal Haladay (Michigan state) and Gaige Garcia (Michigan). The Tigers are coming off a perfect 15-0 season winning the 2A championship in PA.
Hammond Skyhawks coach Erik Kimrey has been waiting for a test and showcase like this. People see or read about Hammond and their decade of dominance, and now they get to view it on live TV. The game will be aired live Sunday on ESPN2.
WESTWOOD AT LUGOFF-ELGIN
The last time the Lugoff-Elgin Demons started the season at home was 2016. Coming off a winless 2018, playing at home to start the year might just be what the Demons need. They also won in their jamboree last week over Legion Collegiate 14-0. The defense forced three turnovers with Jasper Tucker intercepting 2 passes, one of which he took in for a score. LE has a Division I prospect in Parker Clements who just received his 20th offer. He helps block for a talented running back in Tyler Dixon who has rushed for 1400 yards the past two seasons combined. Two new quarterbacks will play for LE. But it’s not really a competition rather than a system. Will Morris and Ryan Griggs will split time, and while one is playing the QB, its possible to find the other contributing at tight end or wide out.
For Westwood, I am excited to see the progression and maturation of their Division I combo of quarterback Ahmon Green (Georgia State commit) and wideout Christian Horn (Appalachain State). Those guys impressed me last year. The pressure will be on their new head coach, however with the debut of Matt Quinn. He takes over after a short stint coaching at a school in North Carolina taking Union Pines to its first playoff appearance in 10 years. His background is strong having played under Bobby Bentley twice. It started in high school at Byrnes, then in college at Presbyterian. He then coached under the highly respected Scott Earley at Westside in the Upstate.
Westwood won last year’s meeting 53-14
RIDGE VIEW AT BLYTHEWOOD
Well this game got a lot more interesting after last Friday. Of course I am referring to the report by media outlets that put Blythewood coach Jason Siedel in hot water for being accused of “recruiting” players. In the report, it was Ridge View that originally reported violations back in January. Richland District 2 has handed out a punishment but it has not been made public as of yet.
Tensions could be a little higher than normal in this one with these two already having a strong rivalry as of late. Focusing on the field, folks will be looking forward to seeing new transfer QB Josh Strickland (from Gilbert) for the Bengals. As for Ridge View, they have a new QB in Andre Washington along with their entire defense returning. I expect a playoff like atmosphere in this one. I’ll give the edge to the Blazers with the experience on their side.
Blythewood won last year 38-21. They lead the all-time series 13-3.
IRMO AT LEXINGTON
The Battle of the Dam returns as it’s another debut for a head coach in Aaron Brand for Irmo. He brings a no nonsense, fundamental, and strict style of coaching to a young group of Yellow Jackets. They had mixed results in two jamboree performances, but its time for the real thing on Friday. I expect a better Irmo team, and one that has more to prove and less to lose. Curious also to see who the playmakers will be on this team. After graduation and transfers, the Yellowjackets should have some new blood scoring the touchdowns in 2019.
With the Lexington Wildcats, they bring only 10 total starters back from a 6-5 season. They get seven starters back on the defense with David Cromer and Levi Gulasa leading the way. Another guy to watch is Tristan Allen at DB. One of the top corners in Midlands.
Wildcats won last year but still trail the all time series 35-15.
FINALS FROM THURSDAY
AIRPORT 41 DREHER 7
Eagles rack up over 400 yards rushing and intercept four passes
KEENAN 37 COLUMBIA 12
Other Friday games
BROOKLAND-CAYCE AT WHITE KNOLL
The T-wolves are hoping for a big year. They bring back 15 starters. Brookland-Cayce brings back a good chuck including a few up front on both sides of the ball. This is a sneaky good game in my opinion. Two good coaches, and experience on both sides.
GILBERT VS GRAY COLLEGIATE
Could be some points put up here. Lots of talented guys on the offensive side of the ball. The Indians return nearly everyone on offense while Gray Collegiate get their QB-RB tandem back along with a talented transfer in Omarion Dollison. Fun game here.
CAMDEN AT NORTH CENTRAL
The Bulldogs have to find a way to replace nine starters on defense so that’s what I’ll be watching for. Also, they sat out some skill guys in their jamboree so we will see how they fit into the mix here. North Central is coming off its best season in 20 years with a win in the postseason, but they also lost some really good players.
BEAUFORT VS AC FLORA
SWANSEA VS LOWER RICHLAND
PINEWOOD PREP VS BEN LIPPEN
SALUDA VS STROM THURMOND
JOHNS CREEK(GA) VS FAIRFIELD CENTRAL