York (1-1) at Nation Ford (0-2)
Last week: York beat Union County 27-20; Nation Ford was idle
Last meeting: Nation Ford won 28-16 (2016)
Key players: YCHS - Sr. OL Cody Thomas, Jr. DB Max Necklen, Sr. DB Tajh Reid-Stanley. NFHS - Sr. DB/LB John Young, Jr. LB Michael Peterson, Jr. RB Ghari Page.
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Need to know: Nation Ford’s poor start stems in large part from two problems: (1) injuries to two of the team’s most important defensive players, Ben Tuipulotu and leading returning tackler Vinny Catan. Tuipulotu is getting close to returning from an ACL tear, while Catan (shoulder) may be back by region; (2) 11 offensive turnovers in two games. York has won seven of 10 all-time meetings with the Falcons; if the Cougars get ahead they need to finish stronger than they did in last week’s win against Union County.
Byrnes (3-0) at Northwestern (2-1)
Last week: Byrnes beat Don Bosco (N.J.) 28-21; Northwestern beat South Meck (N.C.) 45-0
Last meeting: Northwestern won 34-12 (2016)
Key players: JBHS - Soph. RB Rahjai Harris, Jr. LB Jalen Miller, Sr. LB Khalid Jones. NHS - Jr. DB Fentrell Cypress, Sr. DB Freddie Cunningham Jr., Sr. LB Caleb Ross.
Need to know: Byrnes statistician Zach Johnson keeps track of offensive plays longer than 20 yards; Byrnes has 18 through three games, while its opponents have just eight. The Rebels are rebounding quickly from a 3-7 season and it’s started defensively. Northwestern may not face a better group of linebackers, a big challenge for the Trojans and their quickly improving sophomore QB Dustin Noller.
Rock Hill (1-2) at Boiling Springs (1-1)
Last week: Rock Hill lost to South Pointe 45-9; Boiling Springs lost to T.L. Hanna 29-20
Last meeting: Boiling Springs won 35-32 (2016)
Key players: RHHS - Soph. LB Jeffrey Patterson, Soph. LB Alex English, Jr. WR Tay Anthony. BSHS - Sr. ATH Najee Thompson, Jr. WR Kamal Desor, Jr. DB Storm Duck.
Need to know: Rock Hill won 20 of the first 22 games between these two schools, but Boiling Springs has taken the last four. Last year’s contest barely edged in the Bulldogs’ favor, thanks in large part to an interception returned for a touchdown. Very simply, Rock Hill must take care of the football; the Bearcats have turned the ball over 13 times in three games. Also, Boiling Springs has a guy named Storm Duck. And he’s good.
Clover (3-0) at South Point (N.C.) (3-0)
Last week: Clover beat Hunter Huss (N.C.) 42-41 (OT); South Point beat Forestview 42-0
Last meeting: Clover won 17-14 (2016)
Key players: CHS - Soph. LB Hayden Johnson, Soph. DB Jay Falls, Sr. OL Peyton Webster. SPHS - Sr. RB Jake Alexander, Sr. QB Scottie Lee, Sr. DB Mario Brandon.
Need to know: South Point has allowed just 20 points in three wins, with 14 of those coming in the opener against Tar Heel State powerhouse Crest. Clover needs to remember its Wing-T roots and not get sucked in defensively; South Point sophomore receiver Ray Grier has a team-high six catches, at an average of 40 yards per pop. Conversely, a few early momentum plays by the Clover offense, which has shown a propensity for big-gainers under Brian Lane, could throw the Red Raiders’ run-oriented game plan off track.
Fort Mill (2-1) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (2-1)
Last week: Fort Mill beat Lancaster 38-21; Orangeburg-Wilkinson lost to Bamberg-Ehrhardt 13-7
Last meeting: Fort Mill won 41-7 (2016)
Key players: FMHS - Sr. LB Cole Loayza, Jr. LB Lawrence Adams, Sr. ATH Bartow Keller. OWHS - Jr. QB Nicholas Lawson, Sr. WR Zach Felder, Sr. ATH Ricky Grimes.
Need to know: Fort Mill had a 34-point lead at halftime in last year’s blowout of the Bruins and if the Yellow Jackets take care of the football, there is no reason that can’t happen again Friday night. Confidence is flowing after two straight explosive offensive outings for Ed Susi’s team and QB J.T. Marr is settling into his role. One question: how well will these Yellow Jackets travel, after three straight home games to open 2017? It’s a pretty good hike to Orangeburg.
Chester (2-1) at Lancaster (1-1)
Last week: Chester beat Keenan 50-7; Lancaster lost to Fort Mill 38-21
Last meeting: Chester won 24-21 (2016)
Key players: CHS - Jr. OL Keith Boyd, Jr. DB Emmanuel Wright, Fr. LB Octaveon Minter. LHS - Jr. WR Christian Woodard, Soph. DL Immanuel Bush, Sr. OL Keavius Barnes.
Need to know: A real test for Chester after two straight cupcake opponents. Lancaster isn’t as strong offensively as it was in 2016 but showed some signs of life late against Fort Mill after falling way behind. QB Kemarkio Cloud is a load to tackle but the Bruins need their passing game progression to speed up. Chester is smaller than Lancaster but watch their team speed, especially on defense where coordinator Timothy Boyd is getting unexpectedly good production from two freshman linebackers, Octaveon Minter and Jovonti Jackson.
Indian Land (1-2) at Broome (3-0)
Last week: Indian Land beat Blacksburg 37-13; Broome beat Landrum 35-0
Last meeting: Broome won 28-21 (2016)
Key players: ILHS - Fr. OL Michael Csuhta, Jr. RB Jacob Carroll, Soph. WR Jacob Cooley. GBHS - Jr. QB Brenden Taylor, Sr. ATH Jarius Jeter, Soph. LB C.J. Littlejohn.
Need to know: The Centurions have plunked 137 points on the scoreboard in their first three games. Jet Turner is no longer the head man at Broome but his former team is still averaging nearly 400 yards rushing per game under new coach Lynn Fleming. Indian Land won its first game last week under its new coach, Horatio Blades, but its still maturing defense faces a brutal test Friday night. The Warriors have some kids that relish contact, though, including linebacker Robbie Csuhta.
Whitmire (1-2) at Lewisville (2-1)
Last week: Whitmire lost to Ridge Spring-Monetta 39-0; Lewisville lost to Buford 38-20
Last meeting: Lewisville won 62-8 (2016)
Key players: WHS - Fr. LB Chandler Crumley, Jr. ATH Jaylen Brown, Fr. DB Nate Stanley. LHS - Sr. DL Tyrus McCullough, Jr. OL Wesley Williamson, Sr. CB Kamari Davis.
Need to know: Dating back to 1983, Lewisville has won 11 of 12 against the Wolverines. That run should continue Friday night, especially if senior Quentin Sanders keeps up his torrid pace in the season’s early going. Whitmire doesn’t have a game-breaker like Sanders, and he and his Lions teammates should be raring to go physically and mentally after losing to Buford on Aug. 30 with just a few days’ preparation. Will Mitchell and company have had ample time to get ready for Whitmire’s visit to Richburg.
Great Falls (0-3) at Ware Shoals (0-3)
Last week: Great Falls lost to Blackville-Hilda 46-14; Ware Shoals lost to St. Joseph’s 33-8
Last meeting: Ware Shoals won 77-22 (2016)
Key players: GFHS - Sr. OL Jamie Craig, Jr. OL/DL Dustin Smith, Sr. WR/LB Zac Roberts. WSHS - Jr. DT Christian Walker, Soph. QB Jermarius Goodman, Sr. WR Shon Lowe.
Need to know: Ware Shoals’ eight points last week against St. Joseph’s were the Purple Hornets’ first of the year. They’ve allowed 118. This could be Great Falls’ best shot yet in 2017 to break its winless streak that dates back to the 2015 season. The Red Devils own a 6-3 lead in the all-time series, dating back to 1984.