Originally created 09/10/04

High School football matchups



LANEY (2-1) at

STrom THurmond (2-0)

8:00 p.m.

LAST YEAR: These teams have not met recently.

KEY PLAYERS: Laney-Senior WR/CB Robert Dunn (5-11, 180), Senior WR/LB Curtis Sapp (6-2, 215), Senior QB/DB Dominique Walker (5-9, 168). Strom Thurmond-Senior OLB Jeremy Bunch (6-1, 180), Senior CB Chris West (5-8, 170), Junior NG/OG Matt Key (6-3, 250), Junior QB Coco Hillary (5-10, 180).

KEY MATCHUP: Walker vs. Hillary. It doesn't take expert forecasting skills to understand that the passer with the better night gives his team the best chance to win.

OUTLOOK: Look for the clearly capable Walker and Sapp to rebound from off nights last week against Evans. That should put the Wildcats in a tough fight against the Rebels. Strom Thurmond showed their stuff by knocking off North Augusta earlier this season at home. This will be a fourth-quarter finish.

PREDICTION: Strom Thurmond 27, Laney 20

Hephzibah (1-1) at

Josey (1-2)

7:30 p.m.

LAST YEAR: Hephzibah held Josey to minus-16 rushing yards en route to a 32-6 victory.

KEY PLAYERS: Hephzibah-Senior DE Jeremy Thomas (6-0, 225), Senior LB Bruce Lee (6-0, 185), Senior FB Kendall Calvin (5-10, 180). Josey-Senior QB/SS Najee Tolbert (6-1, 185), Senior WR Rashad Roberts (6-1, 185), Senior LB/FB Samuel Williams (6-2, 230).

KEY MATCHUP: Hephzibah's multiple-I attack vs. Josey's run defense: The Eagles haven't shut down opponents this season, allowing more than 200 rushing yards in every contest. Hephzibah quarterbacks J'Michael Swain and Quantavius Franklin, along with Calvin, have each rushed for more than 120 yards this season.

OUTLOOK: Josey's defense is a big concern, but the athleticism of Tolbert is not. He will need to have a big night if the Eagles are going to reach .500. A win for Hephzibah will give the Rebels momentum they need before ending the season with seven consecutive region contests

PREDICTION: Hephzibah 19, Josey 17

JEFFERSON CO. (2-1) AT

LAKESIDE (1-1-1)

7:30 P.M.

LAST YEAR: This is the first meeting of the two schools.

KEY PLAYERS: Jefferson County-Senior OL Will Thompson (6-7, 280), Senior OL Cameron Walker (6-2, 300), Senior RB Jeffrey Walker (6-1, 205); Lakeside-Senior QB Jimmy Johnson (5-10, 160), Senior RB Carl Burrow (6-0, 175), Senior LB Reggie Porter (6-2, 180).

KEY MATCHUP: Walker vs. Lakeside's defense: Walker has dominated this season. He leads area schools with more than 550 yards rushing in three games. It helps that the senior has a huge line to run behind. Lakeside coach Randy Hill has undoubtedly spent all week thinking about how to stop Walker, which is something fellow Columbia County schools Harlem and Evans couldn't.

OUTLOOK: Both schools have had up-and-down seasons so far. The Warriors dropped their home opener to Cross Creek, but have reeled off big wins in the past two weeks. Lakeside started the season with a tie to Washington-Wilkes, won an emotional triple-overtime game against Westside and lost its region opener to Effingham County. Lakeside runs a triple-option offense, rarely throwing more than 10 passes a game. In the past two weeks, the Warriors' defense has held Evans' Cheng Ho to 13 yards rushing and Harlem's Gabe Greer to 21.

PREDICTION: Jefferson County 28, Lakeside 17

AIKEN (2-0) AT

MIDLAND VALLEY (2-1)

8:00 P.M.

LAST YEAR: Aiken saddled the Mustangs with a 42-14 loss.

KEY PLAYERS: Aiken-Senior QB/DB Olajuwon Paige (5-8, 161), Senior LB/RB George Mathis (5-10, 187), Senior WR/DB Terrance Smith (6-1, 185). Midland Valley-Senior WR/DB Terrence Sapp (5-9, 160), Senior WR/DB Carlnel Williams (6-3, 190), Senior OL/LB Eric Fulghum (6-1, 225).

KEY MATCHUP: Sapp vs. the Aiken defense: Sapp barely touched the ball last week against North Augusta: 1 carry, zero yards. For this team to have any chance against the Hornets, Sapp must have a spectacular night.

OUTLOOK: Don't look for the upset here, unless Sapp and others have career nights.

PREDICTION: Aiken 37, Midland Valley 6

Burke County (1-2) at

Thomson (3-0)

7:30 p.m.

LAST YEAR: Thomson knocked off Burke County, 41-0, during the Bears' run of five consecutive scoreless games.

KEY PLAYERS: Burke County-Senior LB/RB Marcus Washington (6-1, 215), Senior QB/S Daniel Fowler (6-1, 160), Senior WR/S Lanier Blount (6-1, 161). Thomson-Senior DE Rico Murray (6-1, 208), Senior FB Demarcus Wilson (6-0, 225), Senior RB Clifton Belton (5-8, 150).

KEY MATCHUP: Burke County's option attack vs. Thomson 5-2 defense: The Bulldogs' defense is the reason the team is undefeated. Thomson is giving up 9.3 points a game. That's not good news for the Bears, who have struggled on offense their past two games - scoring a combined 13 points.

OUTLOOK: After nearly upsetting Lincoln County, the Bears were hit by the letdown factor in a 17-13 loss to Cross Creek. Burke County, a team that's gone 16-16 the past three years, should be better than it has performed - especially as the only public school in its county. Thomson is getting back most of its injured players - and if Burke County can't beat Cross Creek, then how does it expect to win in The Brickyard?

PREDICTION: Thomson 26, Burke County 6

S. EFFINGHAM (3-0) AT

BUTLER (1-1)

7:30 P.M.

LAST YEAR: These teams have not met recently.

KEY PLAYERS: S. Effingham-Senior QB Kurt Vermillion (5-10, 180) Senior OL Tyler Cowart (6-2, 260), Sophomore DL Asa Wright (6-0, 285). Butler-Senior DE/TE Tyrese Harris (6-4, 220), Senior DE/TE Antuanne Kerr (6-4, 225), Senior WB D'Vante Lee (5-5, 150).

KEY MATCHUP: Butler's offensive line vs. South Effingham's defensive line: These are two teams that like to take their runners and pound away at the interior of the opponent's defense. Bulldogs fullback Damien Bell needs 20 to 25 carries to get the edge.

OUTLOOK: This will likely be as tough and physical as any game in the area this weekend. Each of these teams carry the stamp of bona fide playoff contenders. Butler needs one big play apiece from Harris, Kerr and quarterback Jawaun Luckey to take the victory.

PREDICTION: South Effingham 30, Butler 20

CROSS CREEK (2-1) AT

WESTSIDE (2-1)

7:30 P.M.

LAST YEAR: The Razorbacks' lone victory last season came in a 24-14 defeat of the Patriots.

KEY PLAYERS: Cross Creek-Senior RB/DB John Tweedy (5-9, 175), Junior QB Donald Hudson (5-9, 160), Junior OT Austin Ball (6-3, 285). Westside-Senior LB Jay Tarver (6-3, 210), Senior OG Troy Koone (5-11, 190), Senior OL Antwon Cooper (6-1, 240).

KEY MATCHUP: Westside's backfield vs. Cross Creek's linebackers: The Razorbacks have slowed down their past two opponents, allowing just more than 100 rushing yards a game. The Patriots entered last week's play with two of the area's top six rushers in Tristan Jackson and Sergio Campbell. Then fullback Jon Wiley gained 62 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns in last week's win over Greenbrier.

OUTLOOK: Who knew that Cross Creek would be 2-1 through three games? The Razorbacks are coming off a big win at Burke County and are looking for the school's first-ever winning streak. Westside is three points from being 3-0 and has looked much better than expected this season.

PREDICTION: Westside 25, Cross Creek 19

McCormick (0-2) at

R. Spring-Monetta (1-1)

7:30 p.m.

LAST YEAR: One of McCormick's bright spots last season: a 24-0 defeat of the Trojans.

KEY PLAYERS: McCormick-Senior OL/DE Charles Haver (6-0, 170), Senior WR/DE Tavus Parks (6-0, 180), Senior QB/S Recardo Bryant (6-0, 175). Ridge Spring-Monetta-Senior LB/FB Willie Morris (5-9, 185), Senior OL/LB George Key (6-2, 235), Junior OT/DT Ronnie Walker (5-9, 230).

KEY MATCHUP: Ridge Spring-Monetta's I-formation vs. McCormick's 4-3 defensive front: The Chiefs have not looked good on defense this season, allowing 109 points in two games. McCormick will face an offense that returns nine starters.

OUTLOOK: In his fourth year, Mark Rogers might have finally helped his team turn the corner. Despite winning five games the past three years, Ridge Spring-Monetta appears to be ready for success this year. All that depends on if it can build on last week's win over Saluda.

PREDICTION: Ridge Spring-Monetta 21, McCormick 20

GREENBRIER (0-2) AT

LINCOLN COUNTY (1-1)

7:30 P.M.

LAST YEAR: This is the first meeting of the two schools.

KEY PLAYERS: Greenbrier-Senior OT Tanner Hayden (6-3, 270), Junior LB Reggie Rice (6-1 170), LB Erik Smith (6-0, 220); Lincoln County-Alex Wideman (6-4, 220), Jarvis Wynn (6-4, 225), Cordaryll Coppin (5-10, 248).

KEY MATCHUP: Greenbrier's offensive line vs. Lincoln County's defensive line: The Wolfpack's starting quarterback, Sean Gray, has missed the past game-and-a-half because of a MCL injury, and coach Mickey Derrick says he will not play this week. Sophomore Allan Lanier and Lakeside transfer Brandon Hicks have played most of the past two games, both losses for the Wolfpack. Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell will probably pressure the two quarterbacks, hoping their inexperience will produce mistakes.

OUTLOOK: Greenbrier looked to be the best team in Columbia County before the season began, but injuries to Gray and star receiver Eugene Rogers have temporarily derailed playoff hopes. The Red Devils haven't been impressive either, against Greene County and Burke County. Greenbrier has a lot of talent and will get some wins, but that might have to wait until after their trip to Lincolnton.

PREDICTION: Lincoln County 27, Greenbrier 13

BLACKVILLE-HILDA (3-0) AT A'DALE-FAIRFAX (1-2)

7:30 P.M.

LAST YEAR: The Fighting Hawks blanked Allendale, 41-0.

KEY PLAYERS: Blackville-Hilda-Senior FB/LB Tharry Salley (6-2, 215), Sophomore RB Marcus Allen (5-10, 180), Senior OL/DL Demetris Butler (6-2, 280). Allendale-Fairfax-RB Reginald Johnson, QB Kelvin Preister, Senior DB Michael Washington.

KEY MATCHUP: Blackville's rushing attack vs. Allendale's defensive front: Somebody's going to have to find a way to hold back Salley and Allen to contend with this team. Barnwell did expose a chink or two in the armor last week.

OUTLOOK: Allendale-Fairfax will face the wrath of a football team looking for something to prove after a close win last week.

PREDICTION: Blackville-Hilda 45, Allendale-Fairfax 0