When a chin strap plays an instrumental role on the outcome of a football game there's going to be controversy.
Williston-Elko linebacker Keith Creech was penalized for not having his chin strap fastened in last week's Region 4-A opener against Blackville-Hilda. Brian Williams' 5-yard touchdown reception from Michael Hosey in overtime was negated by the penalty and the Hawks (3-1) went on to win 12-6 in a critical region matchup.
The Blue Devils (2-2) were denied the opportunity to end their eight-year losing streak to the Hawks. Williston-Elko coach Charlie Combs was mystified by the seldom-called infraction.
"The game was hard fought and it needed to be decided on the field," Combs said. "You never know, Blackville could've still won. (Creech) was far removed from the play. It was an insignificant (factor) for a very significant game."
Silver Bluff linebacker/running back Jules Corley turned in the most complete game of any player in the area last Friday.
The senior rushed for 100 yards, including touchdown runs of 30 and 8 yards. In addition, he returned a fumble 35 yards and an interception 40 yards for scores in the Bulldogs' 41-7 victory at Swansea. Corley was also in on five tackles against the Tigers. His 25 tackles ties him with Hastings Smith for the team lead.
"It just happened to be one of those nights," Bulldogs coach Al Lown said. "It's kind of crazy because before the game we were talking about how we never get turnovers against Swansea. He was really alert Friday and had a great game."
While acknowledging Corley's accomplishments, Lown noted his entire defense has been superb this season. Silver Bluff (3-1) has only allowed seven points in the second half of its four games and is holding opponents to 6.75 points per contest.
Strom Thurmond coach Brian Smith realized early last week his quarterback Antwaun Hillary would have an exceptional game against Lugoff-Elgin.
During midweek practices, Hillary's passes were on target and on time. The junior quarterback had his best game of the season against the Demons and the Rebels (1-3) won 14-7. Smith spoke with Hillary on Thursday and told him what was expected of him as the Rebels went for their first victory of 1998.
"I told him to remember that he had to be the one to make the plays," Smith said. "We had a long talk and he knew he had to have a good ball game. From his standpoint, he's got to be our leader. He's got to make snap decisions on our option and passing game."
Aiken sophomore running back Roderquize Chandler wasted little time finding his niche for the Hornets.
Filling in for Antwan Smith, who was broke his collarbone Sept. 11 against Midland Valley, Chandler carried the ball 14 times for 105 yards. He scored a 3-yard touchdown as the Hornets (1-3) defeated Easley 28-3 in Chandler's starting debut.
"He had a big game for us," Aiken coach Carey Johnson said. "It was the best rushing game of his career."
Chandler had 76 yards on 16 carries entering the Easley game.
Even after the Rebels first victory of the season, Strom Thurmond coach Brian Smith has concerns with his team's health.
Of the 10 players Smith said were banged up, only wide receiver Chad Ellis (broken leg) and Stacy Baker (pulled quad muscle) won't play tonight at Brookland-Cayce.
"We're Injury Central out here," Smith said. "This is actually a good week because most everybody has a chance to play."
At Aiken, sophomore quarterback Corey Ready will miss the next several weeks with a broken arm. Senior Garret Amerine is filling in for Ready. Amerine scored on a 1-yard touchdown run last week against Easley.
Silver Bluff won't have receiver Craig Carter back for at least another week. Carter, out with a broken bone in his hand, has stepped into the role filled by Major Ryans in 1997. Ryans led the Bulldogs with 700 receiving yards last year and Carter leads the team with three catches for 102 yards.