Aiken County fans will have to choose between two super matchups tonight.
North Augusta (1-0) travels to Midland Valley (1-0) in one clash and Aiken (0-1) is at Silver Bluff (1-0) in another 8 p.m. encounter.
The North Augusta-Midland Valley matchup pits two great running games. North Augusta is led by quarterback Kevin Smith, who accounted for 186 yards and three touchdowns against Strom Thurmond last week, and running back Edward Williams, who rushed 14 times for 89 yards in the opener.
"If there is one thing we have to do it is that we have to contain that quarterback," Mustangs' coach Clayton Chriswell said of the Jackets' Smith, who was The Augusta Chronicle's player of the week. "Strom Thurmond has a good, quick defense and for North Augusta to score (23) points is a real compliment to their offense."
Yellow Jackets coach Joe Long also said the running game is a key. He has his mind on Mustangs' sophomore Jamal Johnson, who rushed for 1100 yards in his first varsity start last week.
Long also has been impressed with Travis Morgan, who has switched his jersey number from 32 to 5 this season. Morgan is the Mustangs' leading returning rusher from last season.
"The key to the game is stopping Jamal Johnson and the rest of their running backs," Long said. "All of them are good, but particularly Johnson."
Class AA No. 2 Silver Bluff is looking to live up to its billing in a home clash with Aiken.
Bulldogs coach Al Lown said the team must play better than it did in a win over Battery Creek to win this contest.
Lown is confident in Aiken despite last week's 36-7 loss to Sumter.
"If we play (offensively) like we did last Friday, we won't win any of our next three games against Aiken, Strom Thurmond and Swansea," Lown said.
Aiken coach Carey Johnson said he is impressed with Silver Bluff's skilled people are very good.
Aiken coach Carey Johnson said he hopes his squad can slow down the speedy Bulldogs. Silver Bluff quarterback Patrick Moody threw two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns last week.
"They've got some receivers that can go get it," Johnson said.
MIRROR IMAGES: In 1995, Batesburg-Leesville advanced to the Class AA state final and Strom Thurmond to the Class AAA finals.
In 1996, Batesburg-Leesville advanced to the Class AA semifinals and Strom Thurmond to the Class AAA semifinals. Both teams had 12-2 records and won region titles.
This season the two teams are off to identical 0-1 starts and the loser will match last season's loss total.
"I think if you were to ask (Batesburg-Leesville coach) Phil (Strickland), I think he would tell you that both teams played good football teams on Friday night," Rebels coach Brian Smith said. "That's true. One of us will be 0-2. Both of us play tough schedules and that is going to benefit us more than playing some cakewalks."
HOMECOMING: Allendale-Fairfax will play Manning in its first home game since its surprise run to the Class AA state championship game last year.
Manning is coached by Barry Avant, who led Allendale-Fairfax to the title game.
"The only thing we have planned for coach Avant is a bashing," Tigers first-year coach Carlos Cave said.
CONSISTENCY: Of the 40 players who dressed for South Aiken's loss at Midland Valley, 27 were playing varsity football for the first time.
Thoroughbreds coach Butch Nelson said he hopes to get a better performance from his squad as he makes his home debut against Stratford, a 37-12 winner over St. Andrews last week.
"We feel like we can compete with them but we have to be consistent on the defensive line," Nelson said.
SURPRISE: Ridge Spring-Monetta junior wide receiver Antonio Corley continues to be a pleasant surprise. Corley caught two touchdown passes in a 32-12 win over Wagener-Salley last Friday.
Coach Buford McGee is not surprised by Corley's success in the game and in preseason scrimmages.
"He played for us last year and he worked hard in the summer," said McGee of Corley. "He is somebody that you have to defend against."
NO DEJA VU: Wagener-Salley coach Robbie Randall believes in playing a tough nonregion schedule, but he doesn't want to start 0-4 like last year.
His team is at Swansea this week before home games against Pelion and Blackville-Hilda. The Eagles fell to Ridge Spring-Monetta 32-12 in the opener.
"Ridge Spring-Monetta wore us out," Randall said. "We couldn't tackle them, block them or out-coach them."
As for this week, Randall said he will continue to use both senior quarterback Ben Yon and sophomore Chuck Burkett as he did in the opener.
SENSATIONAL FLOWERS: Allendale-Fairfax tailback Morris Flowers rushed 18 times for 203 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to a 34-6 win over Estill in a game called with nine minutes left in the third quarter because of severe thunderstorms.
Flowers, a senior, rushed for more than 100 yards in the first quarter and had close to 200 yards at the half. He went over the 200-yard mark on the team's first drive of the second half. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder had three 200-yard games in last year's Class AA playoffs.
SOPHOMORE RISE: When safety T.J. Moseley was unable to play because of pneumonia, Williston-Elko coach Charlie Combs promoted sophomore Keith Creech from junior varsity.
"He was one of our better players in the game," Combs said. "We had a sophomore center who had the highest grade on the offensive line. That's exciting to see our sophomores step up like that."
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