Originally created 09/26/03

Key matchups



Westside (0-3) at Josey (0-3) 7:30 p.m.

LAST WEEK: Westside was idle; Josey lost to Glenn Hills 14-6.

KEY PLAYERS: Westside-RB Duane Gregg (Sr., 6-1, 190); QB/DB Jason Williams (Jr., 6-1, 175); OL David Barnes (Sr., 5-11, 215). Josey-QB Rashad Roberts (Jr.); WR Najee Tolbert (Jr.); Chevalier Brown (Sr.).

KEY MATCHUP: Gregg and the Westside running backs vs. Josey's run defense. Gregg has been one of the top rushers in the area this season, gaining 347 yards and scoring four touchdowns on 70 carries (5.0 average). The Eagles allowed Glenn Hills running back Gary Rogers to gain 210 all-purpose yards last week.

OUTLOOK: Although both teams are winless, one of these squads will be tied for first place in the region after tonight. Last year, Westside won 37-0. This year, the Eagles get revenge.

PREDICTION: Josey 20, Westside 10.

LAST WEEK: Greenbrier lost to Lakeside 35-28; Butler beat Baldwin 33-31.

KEY PLAYERS: Greenbrier-Greenbrier-QB Brooks Robinson (Sr., 6-1, 165); OG Rashad Dunn (Sr., 6-3, 285); RB J.C. Jennings (Jr., 6-1, 195). Butler-FB Rodgerick Nabors (Sr.); QB Brad Clarke (Sr.); OG Marqus Jackson (Sr.).

KEY MATCHUP: Butler's offensive line vs. Greenbrier's defensive line. The Bulldogs have a big offensive front, and in response, Greenbrier coach Mickey Derrick said he's made a few changes on his defensive line to keep things fresh.

OUTLOOK: Butler's 18-point, second-half comeback last week against Baldwin was huge for the Bulldogs. Greenbrier is coming off a loss to one of its biggest rivals, so confidence-wise, Butler has an advantage.

PREDICTION: Butler 31, Greenbrier 24

LAST WEEK: Thomson beat Cross Creek 41-6; Lakeside beat Greenbrier 35-28.

KEY PLAYERS: Thomson-RB Antwone Johnson (Sr., 6-0, 215); DE Casper Brinkley (Sr., 6-2, 240); QB Dan Ivey (Jr.). Lakeside-LB/FB Sam Jasinski (Sr., 6-0, 210); RB Philip Sadler (Sr, 5-9, 145); RB Carl Burrows.

KEY MATCHUP: Thomson's Wing-T offense vs. Lakeside's defense. This is the first time the Panthers have seen a Wing-T this season, and they'll try to create havoc in the Bulldogs' backfield. Thomson, though, rolled up 310 rushing yards last week.

OUTLOOK: Thomson won't win this game 44-7 like it did last year. Lakeside will prove it's ready to make a playoff run by playing the Bulldogs tough and tight, but in the end, Thomson will prevail.

PREDICTION: Thomson 27, Lakeside 16

LAST WEEK: Laney was idle; Hart County beat Central Gwinnett 27-17.

KEY PLAYERS: Laney-WR/FS Marquez Gibson (Sr., 6-0, 180); QB Domonique Walker (Jr,. 5-11, 175); RB Jarrett Moye (Sr., 5-11, 190). Hart County-LB Jae Thaxton (Sr., 6-3, 220); WR/DB Kendrick Harper (Sr., 5-10, 170).

KEY MATCHUP: Thaxton vs. Laney's rushing game. The Wildcats have to run the football against the Bulldogs to be successful and upset the Class AAA No. 4 squad. Thaxton, a blue-chip prospect at middle linebacker, makes that difficult.

OUTLOOK: Laney hasn't played well its past two games, and that'll have to change to have a shot at Hart County. Wildcats quarterback Domonique Walker and his receivers must complement the running game.

PREDICTION: Hart County 23, Laney 14

LAST WEEK: Lincoln County beat Athens Academy 35-7; Commerce lost to Morgan County 35-7.

KEY PLAYERS: Commerce- RB/QB Dennis Wilder (6-0, 170); OG/DE Tommy Eason (6-2, 225); LB/TE Casha Daniels (6-0, 210). Lincoln County-FB/LB Octavius Andrews (Sr.); LB Josh Beard (Sr.); QB Travis Clark (Sr.).

KEY MATCHUP: Wilder and quarterback Josh Haynes vs. Lincoln County's defense. Although Haynes hurt his shoulder last week, he'll likely start tonight's game, pushing Wilder, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards last year, back to tailback. Lincoln County's defense, meanwhile, has been impressive, giving up just 15 points all season.

OUTLOOK: The Class A top-ranked Red Devils - who have lost to the Tigers the past three seasons - are hungry for this game. They'll be tested by No. 8 Commerce, but Lincoln County's undefeated season will remain intact.

PREDICTION: Lincoln County 24, Commerce 10

LAST WEEK: Jones County defeated Burke County, 21-0; Hephzibah lost to Statesboro, 28-7.

KEY PLAYERS: Jones County- RB Marcus Pace; RB Jason Tyler. Hephzibah-OL Fred Roland (Sr., 6-8, 305); QB Robert Hannah (Sr., 6-0, 175); LB/RB Reggie Hughes (Sr., 6-1, 210).

KEY MATCHUP: Jones County's defense vs. Hughes and Hannah. The Greyhounds lost five fumbles last week, but easily handled Burke County because of their defense. The Rebels gained 43 yards on the ground against Statesboro and can't afford another poor rushing effort.

OUTLOOK: It may be early, but this is a must-win game for Hephzibah. If the Rebels go 0-2 in the region, they'll have to run the table to make the playoffs. Averaging three turnovers a contest, Hephzibah has to hold onto the ball to win.

PREDICTION: Jones County 17, Hephzibah 16

LAST WEEK: South Effingham defeated Pierce County, 21-7; Screven County was idle.

KEY PLAYERS: South Effingham-RB Johnnie Mercer (Sr.); QB Michael Keye (Sr.); TE/DE Jason Perry (Sr.). Screven County-RB James Howard (Sr., 5-11, 175); RB Michael Scott (Sr., 5-11, 175); C Kevin Hayward (Sr., 5-11, 260); DE Dusty Reddick (Sr., 6-1, 200).

KEY MATCHUP: South Effingham's defense vs. Howard and Scott. South Effingham has allowed just seven points in two games, but it hasn't faced a running back tandem like Screven County's dynamic duo. Coming off a bye week, Howard and Scott should be well-rested.

OUTLOOK: Like the defending Class AAA champion it is, Screven County has found ways to win this season, capturing each of its games by four points or less. The Gamecocks have outscored South Effingham, 95-6, the past two years, but will find this year's game to be much tougher. Home-field advantage will make the difference.

PREDICTION: Screven County 24, South Effingham 21

LAST WEEK: Greenwood lost to Spartanburg, 21-13; Aiken was idle.

KEY PLAYERS: Greenwood-QB Zearrick Matthews; WR David Hobson; WR Ansel Scurry. Aiken-RB/CB Seneca Stapleton (Sr.); OT/DT Ronnie Garvin (Sr.); DE Michael Toole (Sr.).

KEY MATCHUP: Greenwood's passing attack vs. Aiken's secondary. The Eagles have had success through the air and could present a problem to the Hornets' defense.

OUTLOOK: Last week's bye came at a perfect time for Aiken after picking up its first victory of the season. Now it's back to reality, and the Hornets face a team they lost to 40-7 a year ago.

PREDICTION: Greenwood 31, Aiken 14

LAST WEEK: Allendale-Fairfax lost to Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 49-6; Midland Valley defeated Barnwell, 34-21.

KEY PLAYERS: Allendale-Fairfax-RB Reginald Johnson; QB Brien Smith; RB Courtney Vincent. Midland Valley-WR/CB Terrance Sapp (Jr., 5-9, 150); OL Keith Cunningham (Sr., 6-3, 250); DE Morgan Risheberger (Sr., 5-11, 170); QB Chad Hager (Sr., 5-11, 170).

KEY MATCHUP: Midland Valley's ground game vs. Allendale-Fairfax's defense. The Mustangs rolled up 183 rushing yards in last week's win. A repeat performance would go a long way toward their second victory in a row.

OUTLOOK: Allendale-Fairfax has lost its past two games, 90-6, but faced two of South Carolina's tougher teams in Blackville-Hilda and Orangeburg-Wilkinson. While Midland Valley is not yet an upper-echelon team, it does have momentum.

PREDICTION: Midland Valley 24, Allendale-Fairfax 17

LAST WEEK: Silver Bluff defeated Swansea, 21-6; South Aiken defeated Strom Thurmond, 45-20.

KEY PLAYERS: Silver Bluff-DE/TE Charles Chavous (Sr., 6-0, 250); C Joseph Thomas (Sr., 6-2, 252); G Joey Lucero (Sr., 6-0, 200); LB Ronnie Gaines (Jr., 6-1, 186). South Aiken-QB Byron Bush (Sr., 5-11, 165); C Chris Clark (Sr., 6-2, 240; LB/TE Jake Anderson (Sr., 6-1, 205); SS Kevin McMolin (Sr., 5-10, 180).

KEY MATCHUP: Silver Bluff's secondary vs. Bush. Bush threw for 252 yards and accounted for three touchdowns last week. For the Bulldogs to be successful, they must find a way to contain him.

OUTLOOK: Think Silver Bluff has forgotten about last year's 13-12 home loss to South Aiken? The Thoroughbreds defeated the Bulldogs for the first time since 1994 and seek a second straight win. Silver Bluff will have a lot to say about that, though.

PREDICTION: Silver Bluff 13, South Aiken 12