Friday, Sept. 1
Lancaster (1-0) at Fort Mill (1-1)
Last week: Lancaster was idle; Fort Mill beat West Florence 34-7
Last meeting: Lancaster won 16-14 (2016)
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Key players: LHS - Sr. DL Rodrick Johnson, Soph. DL Immanuel Bush, Sr. LB/FB Ben Rivers. FMHS - Sr. WR/DB Bartow Keller, Sr. RB Jackson Randall, Jr. LB Lawrence Adams.
Need to know: Last year’s game was a nail-biter, won by Lancaster’s Jacob Cato and his late field goal. The Bruins have labored offensively in the early going; they probably benefited from a bye week to continue trying to grease their offensive wheels. A blowout of West Florence did just that for the Yellow Jackets, whose QB J.T. Marr found a rhythm throwing the ball. Consider that Fort Mill lost four fumbles in that game and still scored 34 points and you can see the type of challenge Bobby Collins’ Lancaster defense has Friday.
Northwestern (1-1) at South Mecklenburg (N.C.) (0-2)
Last week: Northwestern beat Dorman 42-28; South Mecklenburg lost to Charlotte Catholic 44-0
Last meeting: Northwestern won 38-25 (2016)
Key players: NHS - Sr. OL Josiah Ivey, Jr. WR Jamario Holley, Sr. DL Areon Walls. SMHS - Sr. OL Adam George, Sr. LB/RB Deangelo Blair-Young, Fr. QB Austin Grier.
Need to know: Northwestern righted its ship last week against Dorman, especially on offense where it nearly doubled its season-opening output of 264 yards. If the Trojans thought they had it tough starting a sophomore QB, pity the Sabres, who started a freshman in last week’s loss to Charlotte Catholic. South Meck gained just 73 yards of offense and turned it over three times. Austin Grier could have another tough night in the rain against one of the best secondaries he’ll face this season.
Hunter Huss (N.C.) (2-0) at Clover (2-0)
Last week: Hunter Huss beat Cox Mill 33-0; Clover beat Forestview (N.C.) 41-5
Last meeting: never played
Key players: HHHS - Sr. DB Tez Price, Sr. RB Dallas Danner, Sr. WR Saveon Falls. CHS - Devon Chisholm, Soph. LB Hayden Johnson, Jr. DB Ryan Jones.
Need to know: This should be a shootout. Hunter Huss, which won 10 games last year and reached the third round of the N.C. 2AA state playoffs, already has nearly 1,100 yards of total offense in two blowout wins to open the season, while Clover isn’t far behind with just over 1,000 and 97 combined points. Huss is plus-seven in turnover margin; taking care of the ball will be paramount Friday with two teams that take advantage of their offensive possessions playing in a forecasted steady rain.
Blacksburg (0-1) at Indian Land (0-2)
Last week: Blacksburg lost to Lewisville 18-16; Indian Land lost to Buford 34-31
Last meeting: Blacksburg won 20-0 (2016)
Key players: BHS - WR/DB Netavion Thompson, Jr. FB Ethan Watts, Sr. ATH Elijah Rodgers. ILHS - Sr. DL William Makowski, Sr. WR/DB John Gregory, Soph. DB/WR A.J. Jefferson.
Need to know: Pretty even series in recent years with Blacksburg winning three of the last five. Indian Land piled up over 500 yards of offense and scored 31 points and lost to Buford, in large part because of turnovers. That’s been a crippling issue for the Warriors the last season or two and needs to be fixed if Horatio Blades’ team is to progress in 2017. One positive thus far: athletes John Gregory and A.J. Jefferson are making big plays on both sides of the ball.
Saturday, Sept. 2
South Pointe (2-0) at Rock Hill (1-1)
Last week: South Pointe beat Nation Ford 53-0; Rock Hill beat York 28-21
Last meeting: South Pointe won 30-23 (2016)
Key players: SPHS - Sr. DB Justin Reese, Sr. OL Keshawn Freeman, Jr. RB Marice Whitlock. RHHS - Soph. OL Carson Murray, Soph. DB Anthony Jackson, Sr. WR Raphael Wright.
Need to know: Basically everyone is off to a strong start for South Pointe, especially defensive end Eli Adams. The Virginia Tech commit only had 10 sacks last season after a breakout sophomore year, in part because of heavily increased blocking attention and also nagging injuries. He’s already got 5.5 sacks in two games this season and will be an immense concern for Rock Hill’s inexperienced offensive line and quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see what - if any - impact playing at 11 a.m. on a Saturday has on either team.