Fort Mill at Rock Hill
Last week: Fort Mill beat Clover 38-30; Rock Hill beat Nation Ford 36-14
Last meeting: Rock Hill won 48-28 (2016)
Key players: FMHS - Sr. OL Zach Szwed, Jr. Sr. LB Jake Ajemian, LB Lawrence Adams. RHHS - Jr. DB Nick Ervin, Jr. OL Devin Armstrong, Soph. DE Thomas Rainey.
Need to know: Rock Hill’s win over Fort Mill last season got the Bearcats in the playoffs. Fort Mill and QB J.T. Marr have thrown for 270 yards or more in each of the last three games; Ed Susi’s team didn’t achieve that once last season, indicative of how much more threat the Yellow Jackets pose this year through the air. That’s critical for opening up Susi’s playbook, especially against a very young Bearcat defense. Rock Hill linebacker Narii Gaither is averaging just shy of 15 tackles per game in his last four.
Northwestern at Clover
Last week: Northwestern was idle; Clover lost to Fort Mill 38-30
Last meeting: Northwestern won 40-21 (2016)
Key players: NHS - Jr. DB D’Arthur Ratchford, Sr. DB Deylajure Addison, Jr. DE John Odom. CHS - Sr. LB Ethan Boone, Soph. LB Hayden Johnson, Sr. OL Max Krashner.
Need to know: Clover has beaten Northwestern once since 1976. The Trojans have scored at least 40 points in seven straight games against the Blue Eagles, who are very young on defense in Brian Lane’s first season. Clover probably won’t control the clock and football like it has in years past, so the Blue Eagles need to take advantage when they have possession. Another big game from receivers Heze Massey and Jaylin Lane wouldn’t hurt, especially from Massey, whose father Hezekiah used to work at Northwestern.
4 high school football surprises: York
Byrnes at Nation Ford
Last week: Byrnes beat Boiling Springs 45-21; Nation Ford lost to Rock Hill 36-14
Last meeting: Byrnes won 42-27 (2016)
Key players: JBHS - Sr. OLB Marqueze Rowland, Sr. LB Khalid Jones, Soph. RB Rahjai Harris. NFHS - Jr. WR Dewuan McCullum, Jr. WR Nathan Lovette, Jr. DE Ashton Schaufert.
Need to know: Nation Ford steps out of region play to host Byrnes, which has continued its extremely stingy defensive play. The Rebels are allowing just 10.5 points per game and their opponents are converting just 21 percent of their third down chances. This game falls in a weird spot in Nation Ford’s schedule; it will be interesting to see how the Falcons react to last week’s loss to Rock Hill in a game that has no bearing on the postseason.
Region 4-5A standings
- Four teams make the playoffs
Westwood at York
Last week: Westwood lost to South Pointe 48-7; York beat Ridge View 59-26
Last meeting: York won 10-8 (2016)
Key players: WHS - Jr. WR Cortes Braham, Sr. DE Nick Williams, Sr. LB/DE Treshawn Miller. YCHS - Sr. DT Chase Slaughter, Soph. DL Jaylon Ballard, Jr. LB Brian Phillip.
Need to know: York’s defensive front seven is playing really well, led in part by senior linebacker Dondre Douglas. He’s got 7.5 sacks and plays with a nasty edge that really influences the rest of the group on the field. York and Westwood combined for just 18 points last season but both offenses are better this year, the Cougars’ especially. Westwood better start fast because York’s balanced offense is humming in region play with at least 55 points in the last two outings.
4 high school football surprises: Clover’s offensive transition
Lancaster at South Pointe
Last week: Lancaster beat Richland Northeast 34-20; South Pointe beat Westwood 48-7
Last meeting: South Pointe won 36-14 (2016)
Key players: LHS - Sr. OL Kevius Barnes, Sr. WR Desmond Stowers, Jr. QB Kemarkio Cloud. SPHS - Sr. DE Eli Adams, Sr. WR Scott Robinson Jr., Sr. LB Dwayne Davis.
Need to know: Lancaster didn’t throw for more than 90 yards in the first five games of the season, but has well over 400 yards combined the last two games. That’s a critical development going forward for Bobby Collins’ team, especially against a South Pointe defense that is so fast and aggressive up front. The Stallions still haven’t loss to Lancaster in nine previous meetings.
Region 3-4A standings
- Four teams make the playoffs
4 high school football surprises: success of Fort Mill’s two-way players
Chester at Camden
Last week: Chester beat Columbia 48-28; Camden lost to Fairfield Central 27-7
Last meeting: Chester won 58-33 (2016)
Key players: Ches. - Soph. DL Quay Evans, Soph. ATH Stan Mills, Jr. DB/WR Zion Mills. Cam. - Sr. OL Noah Snoddy, Sr. RB Jericho Murphy, Jr. QB Bryce Jeffcoat, .
Need to know: Camden has held just one opponent below 27 points this season, bad news with Chester on the schedule next. The Cyclones - 3A football’s highest scoring team - average 45 points per game and haven’t missed a beat with standout junior running back Pha’Leak Brown sidelined the last two games for unknown reasons. Stan Mills has played well in Brown’s place, while T.J. Hollis and Quay Hardin give the Cyclones an extra dimension in the passing game. Victor Floyd’s team has won four straight against Camden.
Region 4-3A standings
- Four teams make the playoffs; Indian Land and Columbia played Thursday night
Great Falls at McBee
Last week: Great Falls lost to Andrew Jackson 48-0; McBee lost to Timmonsville 22-14.
Last meeting: McBee won 42-6 (2016)
Key players: GFHS - Soph. QB Kell Brown, Sr. WR Tommy Belk. MHS - RB Tyrece Wright, RB Shane Hammonds.
Need to know: One of these teams has to win Friday. McBee needs a victory to keep slim - very slim - playoff hopes alive, while Great Falls is still hunting its first win since October, 2015.
Region 2-A standings
- Three teams make the playoffs
4 high school football surprises: Rock Hill pounding the football