Evans at Aiken, 8 p.m.
Record/coach: Knights (2-0) Jim Connor; Hornets (2-1) Carey Johnson.
Players to watch: Evans: OT Seth Kirkland (Sr., 6-6 1/2, 280); OG Wes Reister (Sr., 6-2, 260); FB Spencer Crunk (Sr., 5-9, 220); LB Levar Johnson (Sr., 6-2, 215); RB Hunter Morris (Jr., 5-11, 180); QB B.J. Long (Soph., 6-1, 180). Aiken: LB Jamal Reynolds (Sr., 6-4, 235); OT Neely Page (Sr., 6-4, 280); TE/P Mike Abrams (Sr., 6-4, 225); WR/DB Antoine Anderson (Sr., 6-0, 170); WR/DB Antoino Anderson (Sr., 6-1, 180); QB Brandon Dean (Sr., 6-2, 187).
Matchup: The area's top game features a marquee battle within the war. Evans offensive line against Aiken's front seven. Evans averages about 250 per man across its offensive line and Aiken weighs in at 240 per man across its defensive front. Neither team scored in the second half last week but still posted wins. Aiken will be looking to score a touchdown on a kickoff return for the third consecutive game. Antoine Anderson returned the opening kickoff for a score against Midland Valley.
Barnwell at Midland Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Record/coach: Warhorses (3-0) Mac Wier; Mustangs (1-2) Clayton Chriswell.
Players to watch: Barnwell: HB Rogers Dunbar (Sr., 5-7, 160); HB Reggie Holloway (Sr., 5-9, 160); QB Anthony Neal (Sr., 6-0, 165); FS Joe Brown (Sr., 6-0, 180); TE/DE Keith Jones (Sr., 6-1, 190). Midland Valley: QB/P Brandon Kelly (Sr., 6-0, 180); DB Dwayne Johnson (Sr., 6-0, 170); RB Travis Morgan (Jr., 5-10, 213); LB Russ Curry (Sr., 6-3, 210); FB/LB Brian Jackson (Jr., 6-1, 174).
Matchup: Defensively, Barnwell is playing as well as Aiken. The War Horses have posted two shutouts and are leading the area in scoring defense (4.7 points). Midland Valley got good efforts from quarterback Brandon Kelly, running back Travis Morgan and defensive back Dwayne Johnson in a loss to Aiken. The Mustangs will be without the services of QB Zay Brown for at least two more weeks due to a separated left shoulder.
Silver Bluff at Swansea, 8 p.m.
Record/coach: Bulldogs (1-2) Al Lown; Tigers (3-0) Robert Maddox.
Players to watch: Silver Bluff: RB Nathaniel Mahoney (So., 5-9, 175); QB Patrick Moody (So., 6-2, 171); RB/LB Chris Lincoln (Sr., 5-8, 165); C Matt Whingter.
Matchup: These two teams will probably see each other in the Class AA playoffs. Last season, marked the first time since 1990 that Swansea did not advance to the Class AA state championship game. The Tigers had their string of three consecutive state titles (1992-94) snapped in the first round last season by Jasper County. Silver Bluff coach Al Lown is starting three sophomores and a freshman in his backfield. Chris Lincoln, who exploded for a 50-yard touchdown run against Strom Thurmond, is making his presence felt defensively with his quickness and brains.
Saluda at Batesburg-Leesville, 7:30 p.m.
Record/coach: Tigers (2-1) Lee Sawyer; Panthers (2-1) Phil Strickland.
Players to watch: Saluda - RB J.R. Anderson (Sr., 5-10, 180); WR/DB Cedric Springs (Sr., 5-11, 175). Batesburg-Leesville - TB Sherman Scott (Sr., 6-0, 195), WR Pat Burgess (Sr., 6-0, 170); FB Bobby Whitt (Sr., 5-10, 190); OT Eric Gambrell (Sr., 6-2, 270); DT Randall Rauch (Sr., 6-2, 240).
Matchup: Saluda is in the second game of the area Bermuda Triangle. Last week, Barnwell spanked them 28-0. After this game, they travel to Johnston for a date with Strom Thurmond. Panther wide receiver Pat Burgess made a sensational 42-yard touchdown run in his team's 14-0 win over Ridge Spring-Monetta. Offensively, Burgess has been Batesburg-Leesville's main offensive weapon. The Panthers need to get Scott and Burgess rolling before entering Region 5-AA play.
Strom Thurmond at Simpsonville Hillcrest, 8 p.m.
Record/coach: Rebels (3-0) Brian Smith; Rams (2-1) Jay Feltz.
Players to watch: Strom Thurmond - QB Damien Bowman (Sr., 5-11, 185); TB Ryght Jordan (Sr., 6-0, 195); OT Jason Cox (Sr., 6-5, 315); DE Chancey Gilchrist (Sr., 6-4, 230); FB Dameon Dugar (Jr., 5-5, 165); DE Asinia Knight (Sr., 6-1, 225).
Matchup: Strom Thurmond felt very fortunate to escape Silver Bluff with a 34-28 double overtime victory. The team fell behind by two touchdowns before rallying to win. A very strange and emotional game for the Rebels on and off the field. Quarterback Damien Bowman, who scored three touchdowns to lead the Rebels comeback, was ejected in the fourth period. Both Smith and Silver Bluff coach Al Lown are still not sure why Bowman was tossed. Fullback Dameon Dugar, who scored the winning touchdown, didn't arrive until 10 minutes before the game because he was attending his brother's funeral.
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