It's a big week in the area for our South Carolina teams. Midland Valley and Williston-Elko can all but clinch a region title tonight. Here's what I think:
Last week's picks: 8-1
A.C. Flora (6-1) at Midland Valley (4-3)
Region 3-AAA games
Josey (1-1, 3-3) at Grovetown (2-0, 3-3)
Grovetown can move to 3-0 in its first season playing a region schedule, though Josey could pose a threat. The Eagles have already matched the combined winning total from the previous two seasons. But the Warriors are home for this one and should win for the fourth time in five games.
Prediction: Grovetown, 34-20
Harlem (0-2, 1-5) at Richmond Academy (1-1, 3-3)
Georgia-41, Tennessee-14; 8:08 left in the game
Tennessee has pretty much abandoned about the running game here in the fourth. Needing a lot of points in a short amount of time, the Volunteers have taken to the air. They have been finding success more in this half -- mostly because they haven't turned the ball over.
The Volunteers actually got inside the 10 but Brandon Boykin made a diving stop to break up a pass on fourth down. The Bulldogs take over at their own 3.
Grovetown (1-0, 2-3) at Westside (0-1, 1-4): Grovetown scored 31 unanswered points to beat Harlem by three scores last week to earn its first ever region victory. The Warriors have suffered three tough losses this season but seem likely to make a run in the subregion. Grovetown shouldn't have much trouble beating Westside, which has given up at least 42 points in three of its games.
Prediction: Grovetown, 38-10
For the first time all season, every team in Aiken County is in region play this week. It's been very different seasons so far for North Augusta, Aiken and South Aiken, but all three start at 0-0 in the region now. I had an absolutely rotten record last week. In checking the record books, I had to go back to 1998 before I found a week that saw North Augusta, Aiken, South Aiken and Strom Thurmond all lose. I doubt we'll see a similar skid this Friday. Here's what I think:
Last week's picks: 6-4
Region 3-AAA bragging rights start this week as the 12 Augusta-area schools have their first subregion games.
Harlem (1-3) at Grovetown (1-3)
Grovetown suffered yet another close loss last week as it almost handed Butler its first loss of the season. But the Warriors return home this Friday to play a Harlem team that has struggled scoring. The Bulldogs have scored only 21 points this season but saw their defense rise to the challenge last weekend. This is the schools' first meeting, and expect the home team to win the series debut.
Aiken County will play host to the biggest high school football game in South Carolina this week. Strom Thurmond will look for redemption on Thursday night, and the Region 4-A shuffle continues. It's October, the weather is finally cooling down and football season is in full swing. Here's how I see this week playing out:
Last week's picks: 6-2
Northwestern (5-0) at North Augusta (5-0)
North Augusta (4-0) at Evans (3-0)
In this battle of unbeatens, cross-border bragging rights are at stake. The visiting Yellow Jackets have scored in bunches this season while Evans last took the field two weeks ago, when it blasted Glenn Hills. The Knights could keep it close for a while, but North Augusta seems to have just a little more offense. Also, these two haven't met since 1997.
Prediction: North Augusta, 31-20
Grovetown (1-2) at Butler (3-0)
I suppose all perfect things must come to an end, which is what happened last week when Aiken lost to Richland Northeast and ruined my perfect record. I didn't expect to accurately pick every game this year, but it was nice while it lasted. As we look ahead to Week 5, we run into another round of big games. Here's my take on this week's action:
Last week's picks: 6-1
North Augusta (4-0) at Evans (3-0)
The shutouts just keep on coming for the Bulldogs, who are 3-0 and haven't surrendered a point yet. It's the first time since 1980 Butler has posted three shutouts in a row.
I think it's safe to say this squad could make some noise in the postseason, which is quite an accomplishment considering where the team was just a month ago with its 41-game losing skid. But clearly the JV team's success pointed to the varsity's success this season.