FIVE PREP GAMES TO WATCH
NORTH AUGUSTA AT LAKESIDE
RECORDS: North Augusta 0-0, Lakeside 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: North Augusta–Sr. WR/DB DeJuan Bell, Sr. QB Landon Washington, Sr. RB Derius Gibson. Lakeside–Sr. WR Graham Tulowitzky, Sr. DL Carlos Carter, Jr. QB Will Childers.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The annual opening-week matchup has gone to North Augusta in six of the seven meetings. The Yellow Jackets will look to make it seven in a row, and they have a strong set of skill players to help get them there, led by the trio of Washington, Bell and Gibson. This will be a tough first test for a young Lakeside team.
THOMSON AT LANEY
RECORDS: Thomson 0-0, Laney 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: Thomson–Sr. ATH Christian Tutt, Sr. LB Artest Banks, Sr. QB Mills Ridings. Laney–Sr. QB Mario Sumpter, Jr. RB/LB Jarvis Washington, Sr. WR/DB Jalen Lovett.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Thomson is looking to finish the job this season after going 14-1 and falling in the state championship game last year. Depth could be more of a concern now, but with Tutt making plays on both sides of the ball and experienced players in key spots, the Bulldogs maintain high hopes. Laney, on the other hand, is trying to replace 22 seniors from a year ago, and the Wildcats will rely heavily on Sumpter.
PRINCE AVENUE CHRISTIAN AT AQUINAS
RECORDS: Prince Avenue Christian 0-0, Aquinas 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: Prince Avenue Christian–Sr. OL Daniel Parrish, Jr. WR/DB Christian Parrish, Sr. RB/LB Sam Wessinger. Aquinas–Sr. WR/DB George Welch, Sr. K/P Crimmins Hankinson, Sr. RB/LB Joseph Douglas.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: This marks the fourth consecutive opening-week meeting between the two Class A private powers. The past two went to Prince Avenue Christian in dominating fashion, while Aquinas routed the Wolverines in 2014. The Irish are looking to right the ship after a six-win season last year, but it’ll be a tough early test against the fourth-ranked team in Class A.
AUGUSTA PREP AT AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN
RECORDS: Augusta Prep 1-0, Augusta Christian 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: Augusta Prep–Sr. RB/DB B.J. Stone, Sr. OL/DL Hinson Fowler, Sr. WR/DB/K Palmer Bachelder. Augusta Christian–Jr. WR/DB T.J. Wilson, Sr. WR/DB/K Parker Wingard.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Augusta Prep is already a victory into its season after dominating Bethesda Academy last week. The Cavaliers have high playoff hopes with a large senior class, and this will be a good early-season test for them. Augusta Christian continues to rebuild and enters with another young roster, but Wilson and Wingard are two playmakers to watch.
SOUTH AIKEN AT SILVER BLUFF
RECORDS: South Aiken 0-0, Silver Bluff 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: South Aiken–Sr. RB Chris Roberts, Sr. WR/DB Deshun Kitchings, Sr. QB Cody Boynton. Silver Bluff–Sr. QB/LB Cedrick Trottie, Jr. QB/DB Jamaal Washington, Sr. RB/LB Raekwon Mann.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: There’s a sense of urgency around Silver Bluff to improve on its 3-7 mark from last year, and the skill set is there to make it happen. South Aiken needs to be able to slow down the Bulldogs’ patented running game. The Thoroughbreds enter with big expectations after a semifinal trip last year, and the talent is there for another deep playoff run.