Barry Byers: Peering into the future for Region 3 play

bbyers@heraldonline.comSeptember 19, 2012 

We’ve said a lot about the new Region 3-AAAA having seven York County teams plus Lancaster. Region play starts Friday night with four games. The lineup is: Northwestern at Lancaster; York at Rock Hill; South Pointe at Fort Mill; and Clover at Nation Ford.

So let’s rub the crystal ball and see what’s in store for the region this year.

Clover: The Blue Eagles are young, thin depth-wise and do not have the speed nor the athletes to keep up with any of the other seven region teams. An 0-11 record just floated past in the crystal ball and it might be on the nose.

Fort Mill: Would be a contender in most regions but middle of the pack in this one. A very good quarterback and some nice lineman can’t make up for a lack of speed, which will factor against the stronger teams. It’s going to require a good bit of effort on defense to pull off an upset.

Lancaster: In most years, the Bruins would be the wild card (we’ll discuss that next) but this is not most years. Coach Mac’s team is hurting for depth and, unlike most years, this one must win with offense. In other words, there are holes on defense.

Nation Ford: The Wild Card, one of the Jokers in the deck. Up or down? Take your pick. When the Falcons are up, they can beat any team in the region. But it’s hard to get a team up for every game, to tell the players each week this will be the biggest game they’ll ever play. If Mike Allen and his assistants can do that, look for a third or fourth place in the region. If not, they will finish fifth.

Northwestern: Until the Byrnes game, the Trojans looked unbeatable. If I had to bet, it would be that they can run the table. But don’t think other region coaches haven’t watched the Byrnes video. What they saw is that if they cover tight and don’t give Mason Rudolph time to throw, the Trojans’ offensive line has a hard time containing the all-out bull rush. It will be tried many times over the next six weeks.

Rock Hill: The Bearcats are the other Joker in the deck of cards. They can score a lot of points, but lost games to Dutch Fork and Boiling Springs they should’ve won. Sure, Dorman blew them out in the opener, but Rock Hill was playing with new skill people. One was quarterback Josh Erby, who since has put up big numbers. If the Bearcats can figure out their defense, they could end up running with the big dogs.

South Pointe: Quarterback Devin Pearson has great feet, a good tailback in C.J. Pendergrass, and has become a good passer. Like York, the Stallions are 4-0 and have been running over opponents. The key for South Pointe is to start quickly on offense and don’t let the other team hang around. A slow-starting offense has worked so far because of the defensive secondary.

York: Need an omen? The last time York started off 4-0 was in 1986. This is a solid team with one of the top defenses in the state. The Cougars have at least three major college prospects on that side of the ball, including linebacker Lee Wright, who played tailback last year and rushed for more that 1,800 yards and more than 20 TDs. York is a quick-score team, but that style is usually negated once region play starts, so the key is up front. And even though York has played and won four games, the offensive line still needs a lot of work.

So who will it be? E-mail your picks, ranking the region’s teams from top to bottom. I’ll publish the results in a couple of weeks.

•  On second thought: I may have stepped over the line last week.

I elected to rant in last week’s column and tossed some grenades at a group of folks who didn’t deserve it. I took off after my colleagues who I vote with in the Prep Writers Poll. I more of less blamed them for ignoring teams in this part of the state, which they don’t do.

They are good folks, trying to do the best job they can, just like me. I let it get the best of me because I felt some of the local teams were being slighted and realized later I had gone overboard. I’ll never question the poll again.

Barry Byers 329-4099

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