A quick check around the state with various high school sports reporters confirms an initial suspicion from last Friday: Chester’s Quay Hardin appears to lead the state in interceptions.
The 6-foot-2 junior has eight picks in just seven games. “He understands what we’re doing defensively, what we’re trying to do scheme-wise, and I think it’s helping him a lot,” said Chester coach Victor Floyd, whose team has won six straight games.
Hardin figured at least three interceptions were aided by the height advantage he enjoys over most receivers that he defends. His length has made him an intriguing prospect for college coaches.
Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, Clemson, North Carolina and South Carolina are all communicating with Hardin; he’ll attend the Gamecocks’ home game Saturday, provided the weather cooperates. App State watched the Cyclones’ win over Lancaster with an eye on commitment Malik Williams, but also on Hardin. He had two interceptions in the game and has been receiving steady mail from the Mountaineers ever since.
Being in the situation where Malik (Williams) is getting college attention, Xi (Simpson) is getting college attention, you kind of see the path they’re taking and he says, ‘hey, I can do that too.’
Chester coach Victor Floyd on standout junior Quay Hardin, who has raised his performances on the field and academically this fall.
Hardin follows the opposing team’s best receiver. His increased production is not a surprise to Floyd, because he has matured in all aspects.
“I think he’s grown up a lot,” said the Cyclones’ coach. “He’s trying to engulf everything right now and he knows that the academic side has got to be there as well as the athletic side. You can sing it to them as freshmen and sophomores but they don’t really hear you until they’re juniors.”
That’s manifested in better practice habits and off the field as well. Hardin is taking school more seriously, in part because Floyd is harping on him and also because of all the college coaches that have passed through Chester’s hallways. He said his grade point average is over 3.0 right now.
“Got to get the schoolwork first,” Hardin said.
It was actually tough to get him to say anything at all on Tuesday. Hardin has a low-key demeanor, even on the field where defensive backs can be notorious yappers. He said he mostly just talks to his teammates during games. That’s fine; his stats through seven games are screaming loudly enough.
Fort Mill and Clover both need a win this week
Clover’s undefeated start came to a screeching skid last Friday night in a four-touchdown loss to Nation Ford, the same night Fort Mill opened its region run with a shutout loss to Northwestern. Four teams from Region 4-5A make the postseason so Friday’s Clover-Fort Mill game - it’s still scheduled for Friday as of Tuesday night - takes on a little extra urgency. Ed Susi talked to Bret McCormick briefly on Tuesday about the game:
York entering decisive stretch
York played one of its best first halves of the season last Friday in a 41-14 Region 3-4A blowout of Richland Northeast. The Cougars (2-4, 1-0) were up 20-7 at the half, and 34-14 headed into a fourth quarter rendered largely unimportant.
York senior running back Paul Moore has rushed for 242 yards (7.1 yards per touch) and six touchdowns in the last two games combined.
York’s next three games will have a huge say in whether folks will still be talking in November about an adversity-riddled preseason and non-region portion of the season that saw the team start 1-4. The Cougars will travel to Ridge View at some point after Hurricane Matthew passes through the Carolinas, before two more consecutive road games at Lancaster and Westwood. A home game against South Pointe closes out the regular season.
Remaining undefeated teams
Lewisville and Clover fell from the ever-dwindling ranks of unbeaten South Carolina high school football teams last Friday. Here’s the remaining undefeated teams in each classification:
1A: Lamar (6-0), Lake View (6-0)
2A: Abbeville (6-0-1), Lee Central (7-0), Bamberg-Ehrhardt (6-0), Barnwell (6-0)
3A: Bluffton (7-0), Bishop England (6-0), Gilbert (6-0)
4A: Myrtle Beach (7-0), Cane Bay (6-0)
5A: Dutch Fork (6-0)
Check out this interactive map showing the state’s last unbeaten teams:
Tri-County players of the week from Week 6
4A, 5A schools
Offensive player of the week: Kirk Rygol, Nation Ford- senior QB had another big game as the Falcons blew out Clover. Rygol completed 20-of-27 passes for four touchdowns and 307 yards, with just one interception, and also rushed the ball for 91 yards and two more scores.
Honorable mention: Gage Moloney, Northwestern; Paul Moore, York; Voshon St. Hill, South Pointe.
Defensive player of the week: Cort Neely, South Pointe- junior linebacker made 15 tackles in the Stallions’ win over Ridge View, and also recorded two tackles-for-loss, a sack, a pass break-up and forced a fumble.
Honorable mention: Harry Goodwin, Nation Ford; J.T. Sanders, York; C.D. Catoe, Lancaster.
Offensive lineman of the week: Mackenzie Hughes, South Pointe- Hughes graded out 92 percent against Ridge View, with three big-time blocks and no sacks allowed.
Honorable mention: N/A
Defensive lineman of the week: Jalen Pickett-Hicks, South Pointe- defensive lineman had 12 total tackles, with four for a loss and two sacks against Ridge View.
Honorable mention: Houston Brantley, Lancaster; Christian Steele, Northwestern; Cody VanCamp, York.
Co-special teams: B.T. Potter, South Pointe and Skyler DeLong, Nation Ford- Potter hit two field goals, including a school record 49-yarder, kicked eight touchbacks and punted four times for a 41-yard average against Ridge View. DeLong was 6-for-6 on extra points, kicked five touchbacks and punted three times for a 39-yard average, with two kicks downed inside the 20.
Honorable mention: Thomas Gettys, Northwestern; Myles Prosser, York.
1A, 2A, 3A schools
Offensive player of the week: Malik Williams, Chester- senior QB accounted for 318 total yards and four touchdowns, including an 80-yard kickoff return for a score against Indian Land.
Honorable mention: Lee Massey, Indian Land.
Defensive player of the week: Robbie Csuhta, Indian Land- sophomore linebacker made 10 tackles (six solo) with one for a loss against Chester.
Honorable mention: Quay Hardin, Chester.
Offensive lineman of the week: Montez Hall, Chester- sophomore center graded out 84 percent versus Indian Land with four knockdown blocks.
Honorable mention: N/A
Defensive lineman of the week: D’metrius Edwards, Lewisville- Edwards came off the bench due to an injured starter and played well, recording 12 tackles with two for a loss against McBee.
Honorable mention: Cornelius Barber, Indian Land.
Special teams: Brandon Dickerson, Indian Land- kicker hit an extra point and a 40-yard field goal against Chester, and also punted six times for a 34-yard average, with a long of 55.
Honorable mention: N/A
State rankings headed into Week 7
1. Dutch Fork; 2. Northwestern; 3. Fort Dorchester; 4. Westside; 5. Spartanburg; 6. Gaffney; 7. Dorman; 8. Boiling Springs; 9. Sumter; 10. T.L. Hanna
Votes: Greenwood, Nation Ford, Blythewood
1. South Pointe; 2. Myrtle Beach; 3. Hartsville; 4.Belton-Honea Path; 5. Cane Bay; 6. Ridge View; 7. Greer; 8. South Aiken; 9. Union County; 10. Greenville
Others receiving votes; Beaufort, Richland Northeast, Lancaster, Dreher, Chapin
1. Dillon; 2. Bluffton; 3. Fairfield Central; 4. Strom Thurmond; 5. Bishop England; 6. Chapman; 7. Gilbert; 8. Brookland-Cayce; 9. Newberry; 10. Broome
Others receiving votes: Woodruff; Lake City, Chester, Powdersville, Palmetto
1. Abbeville; 2. Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 3. Barnwell; 4. Cheraw; 5. Saluda; 6. Batesburg-Leesville; 7. Lee Central; 8. Southside Christian; 9. Calhoun County; 10. Blacksburg
Others receiving votes: Carvers Bay, Liberty, Allendale-Fairfax, Andrews, Chesterfield
1. Lamar; 2. Lake View; 3. McBee; 4. Lewisville; 5. Williston-Elko; T6. Hemingway; T6. Blackville-Hilda; 8. Baptist Hill; 9. Cross; 10. C.E. Murray
Others receiving votes: St. John's, Wagener-Salley, Bethune-Bowman
The S.C. Prep Media Football Poll is conducted by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal with voting from Michael Christopher, Greenwood Index Journal; Bob Castello, Greenville News; Chris Clark, Orangeburg Times and Democrat; Chris Dearing, The State; Joe Hughes, Myrtle Beach Sun News; Kevin Melton, Spartanburg Herald Journal; Lou Bezjak, The State; Lake Morris, Anderson Independent Mail; David Shelton, Charleston Post and Courier; Bret McCormick, The Herald (Rock Hill); Scott Chancey, Florence Morning News and Eric Russell, Aiken Standard.