Five high school football games to watch

DREW AT EVANS

 

RECORDS: Drew 4-6, Evans 8-2

KEY PLAYERS: Drew-Sr. QB Gary Tyner, Jr. LB Kalil Murray, Sr. DB J.B. Brown. Evans-Jr. QB Damekus Taylor, Sr. ATH Corey Watkins, Sr. DE Coby Germany

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Evans is looking to continue what’s already one of the most memorable seasons in school history. After winning their first region title since 2008, the Knights are now trying to win their first playoff game since 2007 with a first-round matchup in Class AAAAAA. They’ll play host to the fourth seed out of Region 4, a Drew team that won its last two regular-season games to squeak into the postseason. Drew will have its hands full with an Evans team that’s produced one of the best offenses in the state this season.

LOVEJOY AT GROVETOWN

RECORDS: Lovejoy 6-4, Grovetown 6-4

KEY PLAYERS: Lovejoy-Sr. RB Zion Custis, Jr. DL Trevon Benton, Soph. LB Zion Amos. Grovetown-Sr. RB/DB D’Angelo Durham, Sr. FB/LB Greggory Rodgers, Sr. FB/LB Shamar Cofield

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: A year after making school history with its first playoff appearance, Grovetown is now set for its first home playoff game by playing host to Lovejoy in the first round of Class AAAAAA. The Warriors earned that right with key region victories over Heritage, Greenbrier and Lakeside. A punishing linebacker corps, led by Rodgers and Cofield, have been big for Grovetown, while Durham has helped carry the offense. They’ll need a strong defensive effort against a Lovejoy team that sports the senior Custis, who has 1,754 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns this season.

SOUTH AIKEN AT GREER

RECORDS: South Aiken 9-2, Greer 10-1

KEY PLAYERS: South Aiken-Sr. RB Chris Roberts, Sr. QB Cody Boynton, Sr. LB Reid Bolen. Greer-Jr. QB Treyvion Houston, Jr. RB Dre Williams, Sr. DE Travigea Ware

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: South Aiken is the last area school standing in South Carolina’s Class AAAA entering the second round. To keep the season going, the Thoroughbreds will have to travel to a No. 1 seed in Greer, which boasts a balanced rushing and passing attack on offense, and a group of standouts on defense. Greer has put up big point totals throughout the season, creating a tough task for South Aiken’s defense. The Thoroughbreds have been here before, though, and are hungry to finish the job this season after reaching the state semifinals a year ago.

HARLEM AT DUBLIN

RECORDS: Harlem 7-3, Dublin 6-4

KEY PLAYERS: Harlem-Sr. OL Waylin Bell, Jr. RB A.J. Brown, Sr. LB Brendan Maddox. Dublin-Jr. QB Rodriquez Martin, Jr. DE Steven Linton, Jr. DB Tyler Strickland

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Harlem joins the group of Columbia County football programs trying to make waves in the playoffs this season. The Bulldogs are in the postseason for the first time since 2001 and earned just their third winning season over that span. They did it with the legs of running backs Brown and Cameron Garnett along with a steady defensive effort. They’re now looking to make more school history with a postseason victory in the first round of Class AA, and they’ll have to get past No. 2 seed Dublin. The Fighting Irish feature a strong rushing attack and several standout athletes on defense, creating a difficult task for Harlem.

WASHINGTON COUNTY AT SCREVEN COUNTY

RECORDS: Washington County 4-6, Screven County 9-0

KEY PLAYERS: Washington County-Sr. ATH Jeremiah Swint, Jr. RB/LB Preston Daniels, Sr. OL Mitch Lord. Screven County-Sr. FB/DL C.J. Wright, Sr. WR Tyquan Johnson, Sr. LB Kashawn Robinson

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Washington County earned a postseason berth after a mini playoff Monday resulted in a win and loss for the No. 4 seed. The Golden Hawks are now tasked with the No. 2 team in Class AA in the first round. Screven County has rolled over every opponent with few issues, including a 44-20 victory over Jefferson County this past Friday for the region title. The Gamecocks boast one of the deepest rosters in Class AA and are set for a playoff run under coach Ron Duncan.

 

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