FIVE PREP GAMES TO WATCH
LANEY AT AQUINAS
RECORDS: Laney 0-1, Aquinas 0-1
KEY PLAYERS: Laney–Sr. QB/WR/DB Mario Sumpter, Jr. RB/LB Jarvis Washington, Sr. WR/DB Jalen Lovett. Aquinas–Sr. WR/DB George Welch, Sr. RB/LB Joseph Douglas, Sr. WR/DE Bradley White
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The area spotlight will be on Aquinas’ field tonight. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first integrated game in Richmond County, and it was between these two teams. Besides the festivities involved, the game features two of the county’s best that played to a last-second thriller last season, won by the Irish 19-18. Look for another tight, physical battle.
EVANS AT NORTH AUGUSTA
RECORDS: Evans 0-0, North Augusta 1-0
KEY PLAYERS: Evans–Sr. RB Corey Watkins, Sr. DE Coby Germany, Sr. OL Sam Knight. North Augusta–Sr. WR/DB DeJuan Bell, Sr. QB Landon Washington, Sr. RB Derius Gibson
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: This game should make for an entertaining battle between two teams boasting talented skill players. It’s a tough first test for Evans, which will turn to Watkins for much of its production this season. North Augusta dominated Lakeside in its opener and has a trio of dynamic players in Bell, Washington and Gibson. The Yellow Jackets won last season’s matchup 28-20.
MCCORMICK AT LINCOLN COUNTY
RECORDS: McCormick 0-1, Lincoln County 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: McCormick–Sr. RB Mataeo Durant, Sr. RB/LB Kadarius Durant, Sr. QB/DE Dillon Walters. Lincoln County–Sr. QB/DB Javon Reid, Sr. WR/DB Duke Roberts, Sr. LB Antonio Williams
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Durant is always the focus when he’s on the field. The McCormick star and Duke commit can take over a game between his rushing and linebacker duties, and the Red Devils will need to prevent that from happening. Lincoln County’s opener will be the first chance to see what’s expected to be a talented group, led by Reid, Roberts and Gerard Hearst.
WESTSIDE AT RICHMOND ACADEMY
RECORDS: Westside 0-0, Richmond Academy 0-0
KEY PLAYERS: Westside–Sr. RB/DB Larico Williams, Sr. QB/DB Jamison Pettiford, Soph. TE/LB Jarvis Franklin. Richmond Academy–Jr. QB Mason Cobb, Sr. LB Terry Bland, Sr. DL Justin Thomas
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The annual matchup between county rivals currently leans toward Westside 27-18-1, and it’s been a back-and-forth affair the past few seasons. Richmond Academy avenged a close loss in 2015 by beating Westside 35-19 last year, and the two tied at 24 in 2014. The meeting holds special meaning for the Musketeers by serving as Lyle Burns’ first game as head coach.
AIKEN AT STROM THURMOND
RECORDS: Aiken 0-1, Strom Thurmond 1-0
KEY PLAYERS: Aiken–Sr. OL/DL Eric Stroman, Sr. DL Omar Simmons, Jr. WR/DB Stavon Porter. Strom Thurmond–Sr. DE Tre Moore, Sr. WR/LB Tyrek Williams, Sr. RB Jaquan Edwards
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Aiken pulled off a 27-26 overtime upset of Strom Thurmond last season, but the Rebels should have the upper hand in this meeting as the Hornets undergo a transition to a new coaching staff and experience roster turnover. Strom Thurmond boasts a powerful punch on both sides of the ball and should wear down opponents all season.