Originally created 11/15/02

Key matchups



Screven County at Appling County 7:30 p.m.

LAST WEEK: Class AAA No. 2 Screven County (9-0) was idle; Appling County (7-1-1) defeated Savannah Christian, 45-7.

LAST WEEK: Class AAAA No. 1 Thomson (9-0) was idle; Baldwin (8-1) defeated Jones County, 23-6.

LAST WEEK: Class AAA No. 5 Washington County (8-1) defeated Richmond Academy, 63-7; Jefferson County (3-6) defeated Josey, 41-8.

KEY PLAYERS: Washington County-QB Preston Smith (Sr., 6-3, 205); LB Ray Moon (Sr., 5-10, 205); PK Clem McDavid (Sr., 6-5, 175). Jefferson County-OL Fernando Velasco (Sr., 6-3, 330); WR Sean Walker (Jr., 6-0, 150); DT Michael Robinson (Sr., 6-0, 230).

KEY MATCHUP: Jefferson County's offense vs. Washington County's defense. Since its 32-28 loss to Dublin in Week 2, Washington County has allowed just 5.7 points a contest. Jefferson County has outscored its past three opponents, 74-22.

OUTLOOK: Jefferson County might have put itself in the playoffs with its three-game winning streak. If Laney knocks off Harlem, the Warriors are in. But Jefferson County can write its own ticket in to the postseason if it can pull off the upset.

PREDICTION: Washington County 37, Jefferson County 7

South Aiken at Berkeley 8 p.m.

LAST WEEK: South Aiken (7-4) lost to Aiken 13-10 in overtime. Berkley (8-3) beat West Ashley 41-20.

KEY PLAYERS: South Aiken-RB Rashad Hunter (Sr., 6-1, 200); G Jerome Dunbar (Sr., 6-2, 340); DL Will Durrett (Sr., 6-3, 265); WR Roman Hicks (6-0, 185). Berkeley-FS Norman Rich (Sr., 5-7, 160); DT Chris Lloyd (Sr., 6-1, 250); QB Kenneth Rivers (Sr., 6-1, 175); FB Jarrod McKelvey (Sr., 6-0, 205).

KEY MATCHUP: Berkeley's defense vs. Hunter Berkeley defenders know South Aiken's offense centers around the senior tailback, who exceeded the 2,500-yard rushing mark last week.

OUTLOOK: Hunter, who carries the ball about 35-40 times a game, is just starting to show some wear. His rushing totals have been on the decline over the past few weeks, and Aiken held him to just 124 yards last week. Rivers guides a potent Berkeley offense that will focus on keeping the ball out of Hunter's hands as long as possible.

PREDICTION: Berkeley 28, South Aiken 21

LAST WEEK: Wilson (7-4) beat Manning 28-0. Midland Valley (7-4) beat Lake City 30-7.KEY PLAYERS: Wilson-QB Tyrell Solomon (Sr., 5-11, 189); WR Walleed Rushdan (Sr., 6-0, 185); WR Lawrence Timmons (Jr., 6-3, 224); ILB Justin Durant (Sr., 6-1, 227). Midland Valley-RB/DB Dontrell Jones (Sr., 5-9, 170); QB/DB Marcus Johnson (Sr., 5-10, 172); FL/DB Terrence Sapp (So., 5-8, 135); DE-FB Randy Kirkland (Sr., 5-9, 202).

KEY MATCHUP: Durant vs. Jones Durant leads a stingy Wilson defense that held traditional power Manning to 135 total yards in last week's shutout. He and the rest of the Wilson defense will focus on shutting down Jones

OUTLOOK: Wilson, who lost in the second round of the playoffs last year, is an unfamiliar opponent for Midland Valley. A tight, physical battle should be expected.

PREDICTION: Midland Valley 21, Wilson 20

LAST WEEK: Battery Creek (6-5) beat Fort Dorchester 49-13. North Augusta (8-3) beat Orangeburg-Wilkinson 48-28. KEY PLAYERS: Battery Creek-QB Collin Dafts; RB Jesse Owens. North Augusta-RB/LB Martise Quiller (Sr., 5-10, 185); RB/CB Walter Utley (Sr., 5-11, 185); C/DT Lance Watkins (Sr., 6-2, 275); FB/LB David Sanborn (Sr., 6-1, 200).

KEY MATCHUP: North Augusta's defense vs. Dafts. The Yellow Jackets' defense cannot afford to make too many mistakes against Dafts, one of the most efficient passers in the state.

OUTLOOK: Both teams are fueled by a wave of recent success, with North Augusta riding a four-game winning streak and Battery Creek having outscored its last two opponents 90-23. The Yellow Jackets must be able to slow down Battery Creek's passing attack to have a chance.

PREDICTION: North Augusta 34, Battery Creek 28

Cheraw at Silver Bluff 8 p.m.

LAST WEEK: No. 1 seed Silver Bluff (8-3) beat Burke 48-6. No. 2 Cheraw (9-2) beat Andrews 42-0.

KEY PLAYERS: Cheraw-RB Jermaine Harrington (Sr., 5-10, 170), OL Bryan Blair (Sr., 5-5, 245), DB/WR Jeraylle McManus (Sr., 5-9, 160). Silver Bluff-QB/LB De'Angelo Bryant (Sr., 6-2, 215), RB Robert Kelly (So., 5-8, 170), RB/DB Brandon Bussey (Sr., 5-8, 165).

KEY MATCHUP: Cheraw's wishbone offense vs. Silver Bluff's defensive line. Silver Bluff's defenders will be undersized against an offensive set they haven't seen since the Abbeville game on Sept. 13. The Bulldogs can't let the Braves go on long, extended drives.

OUTLOOK: Cheraw runs the ball effectively and doesn't make many mistakes. But Silver Bluff has been through too many tough games this season to fall here.

PREDICTION: Silver Bluff 17, Cheraw 13

LAST WEEK: No. 1 seed Blackville-Hilda (10-1) beat Elloree 44-0. No. 2 Latta (9-2) beat C.E. Murray 40-19.

KEY PLAYERS: Latta-LB/TE Marcus Jenkins (Sr., 5-11, 180), TB/CB Derrick Wilson (Sr., 5-11, 175), FB/LB Jason McGill (Sr., 5-10, 180). Blackville-Hilda-QB/LB Brandon Isaac (Sr., 6-2, 165), RB/DE Mickenzie Atterberry (Sr, 6-1, 195), RB/DE Tharry Salley (So., 6-1, 190).

KEY MATCHUP: Latta's offensive line vs. Blackville-Hilda's defensive line. Latta's line comes off the ball real well, and Wilson and McGill have each rushed for more than 900 yards this season.

OUTLOOK: The Vikings run some option and a little bit of play-action. Aside from that, they run the football with speed and power. The Hawks will have to play tough to sidestep Latta.

PREDICTION: Blackville-Hilda 21, Latta 18

LAST WEEK: Josey (1-8) lost to Jefferson County 41-8. Richmond Academy (2-7) lost to Washington County 63-7.

KEY PLAYERS: Josey-RB Bryce Doe (Sr., 5-9, 170), LB Calvin Pryor (Sr., 6-0, 210), QB Rashad Roberts (So., 5-11, 170). Richmond Academy-QB Ibrahim Rashada (Jr., 5-10, 185), OL Devin Smith (Sr., 6-2, 315), FB Justin Williams (Sr., 6-0, 210).

KEY MATCHUP: Rashada vs. Josey's porous defense. In their last three games, the Eagles have allowed 148 points. Rashada, one of the best athletes in the area, will look to exploit that.

OUTLOOK: Both teams are out of the playoff race, so they'll want to make their last game of the season a memorable one. The Musketeers should pull this one out.

PREDICTION: Richmond Academy 31, Josey 14

LAST WEEK: Harlem (5-4) lost 29-22 to Westside. Laney (8-1) was idle.

KEY PLAYERS: Harlem-RB/LB Kelvin Sturgis (Sr., 5-10, 190), RB/CB Tae Dorsey (Sr., 5-10, 185), QB Mike Hawkinberry (Sr., 5-9, 170).Laney- LB J.K. Sabb (Sr., 6-0, 215), WR/DE Rod Briscoe (Sr., 6-3, 185), LB Eddie Geter (Sr., 6-1, 195).

KEY MATCHUP: Laney's defensive speed vs. Harlem's triple option. Laney's defenders are quick, so the Bulldogs will try to make the Wildcats play assignment football to cut down on their speed.

OUTLOOK: All Harlem has to play for is pride. The Wildcats, however, need momentum - not to mention home-field advantage - before heading into the playoffs next week.

PREDICTION: Laney 27, Harlem 17

Conway at North Augusta 8 p.m.

LAST WEEK: Conway (9-2) beat Socastee, 34-14. North Augusta (8-3) beat Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 48-28. KEY PLAYERS: North Augusta-RB/LB Martise Quiller (Sr., 5-10, 185); RB/CB Walter Utley (Sr., 5-11, 185); C/DT Lance Watkins (Sr., 6-2, 275); FB/LB David Sanborn (Sr., 6-1, 200). Conway-RB/LB Melvin Singletary, RB/DB Allen Patrick, LB Markie McQueen.

KEY MATCHUP: North Augusta's defense vs. Conway's run game. In last season's 38-14 playoff win for Conway, the Tigers ran for 438 yards - 226 by Patrick. Lexington's Demetris Summers also ran over the Yellow Jackets in a disappointing loss this season; they can't give up long runs in this one.

OUTLOOK: Both teams come into the playoffs on a roll. North Augusta has won four straight, while the Tigers have seven wins in eight games. Their only loss was a 17-14 setback to Marlboro County. Conway is only allowing 11 points per game, so the Yellow Jackets must establish their offense early.

PREDICTION: Conway 27, North Augusta 17.