Originally created 08/25/06

Key High School Matchups









FORT MILL (1-0) AT SOUTH AIKEN (0-1)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

LAST WEEK: South Aiken lost at Rock Hill, 13-10; Fort Mill defeated Forestview (N.C.), 28-10.

KEY PLAYERS: Fort Mill-QB Chad Smith; RB Travis Nims; RB Tony Fewell; WR Christian Starnes; South Aiken-Senior OT Wes Baldwin (6-4, 270); Senior C/DT Christian Stutts (5-11, 220); Junior QB/DB Calvin Fuller (6-2, 190); Senior SS/RB Q'Bryan Roper (5-9, 165)

KEY MATCHUP: Smith vs. South Aiken's secondary. Smith spread the ball around the field last week, tossing 14 completions to six different receivers. Smith threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdown passes. South Aiken will need to find a way to put some heat on him to give its secondary a fighting chance.

OUTLOOK: New coach Robert Wrightenberry is seeking his first win, and there's no better place than home. It's debatable, however, how much home-field advantage South Aiken will have. The Thoroughbreds are 6-7 in their own surroundings the past two seasons. But South Aiken played well at Rock Hill, and that momentum should carry over.

PREDICTION: South Aiken 21, Fort Mill 20

KEENAN (0-0) AT MIDLAND VALLEY (0-0)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

KEY PLAYERS: Keenan-Senior OL/DL Derrick Brown (6-1, 270); Junior RB Charles Brice (6-0, 175); Freshman QB Demon Griffin (5-7, 150); Senior WR Craig Foulks (6-0, 150); Sophomore CB Arthur Goforth (5-7, 160); Midland Valley-Senior RB Terry Bradley (5-11, 223); Senior C Justin Brown (6-0, 272); Senior QB Brett Godwin (6-1, 172); Senior CB Luther Elliott (5-11, 178); Senior P/PK David Coursey (5-11, 215)

KEY MATCHUP: Midland Valley's defense vs. Keenan's offensive speed. First-year Keenan coach Demond Logan has implemented a four-wide spread attack and has the speed to cause mismatches. Midland Valley should be a little faster than in years past and should be bigger than Keenan, but it will be up to the Mustangs' linebackers and defensive backs to stop the Raiders' big plays.

OUTLOOK: Midland Valley will be more athletic than in years past, but probably not as athletic as Keenan. However, the Mustangs have size and experience as well as a good kicker and home-field advantage on their side.

PREDICTION: Midland Valley 26, Keenan 20

NORTH AUGUSTA (0-0) AT STROM THURMOND

TIME: 8 p.m.

KEY PLAYERS: North Augusta-Senior DE D.J. Anderson (6-3, 200); Senior RB Manny Riedel (5-11, 190); Senior DT Jonathan Hamrick (6-3, 245); Senior S Mike Gist (6-0, 190); Senior WR Treh Haynes (6-4, 185); Strom Thurmond-Senior LB Jonah Lanham (5-9, 170); Senior WR Jarrell Taylor (5-9, 180); Senor S/RB Keon Cunningham (6-0, 185); Senior RB/WR Jakar Hamilton (6-0, 185); Junior WR Martavious Williams (6-0, 175)

KEY MATCHUP: The quarterbacks. North Augusta sophomore Kwame Cunningham is expected to at least share time with returning starter Will Churm. Junior Aramis Hillary debuts for Strom Thurmond after starting last year at receiver. The passer who avoids the first-game jitters the best will give their team the edge.

OUTLOOK: Strom Thurmond lost 24 seniors, but several returning players had vital roles in a 14-1 season. Hillary will shine and Hamilton should find the end zone at least once. It will take more than one off-season to close the gap between the two rivals.

PREDICTION: Strom Thurmond 24, North Augusta 14

- From staff reports