Local high school football prospects have been busy taking visits to college campuses the last few weekends, but have also been receiving visitors at their schools.
South Pointe senior defensive back Nick McCloud took a visit to East Carolina two weekends ago and was impressed. He already held an offer from ECU, and last week added his first ACC offer, from N.C. State. McCloud adds that one to a steadily swelling list that includes Kansas State, Northwestern, Appalachian State, Marshall, Buffalo, Charlotte, and a number of other smaller programs. The 6-foot-2 cornerback leads the area in interceptions with four.
Logan Rudolph has been another active college campus visitor, but he too picked up an initial ACC offer last week, the big defensive end’s coming from Duke. Rudolph has offers from Kentucky, East Carolina, Georgia State, Appalachian State and Charlotte, but Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson pointed out earlier in the season that most of those were based off his tight end/receiver game film from the previous two seasons. Rudolph is off to a blistering start this season with 46 tackles, eight sacks and three forced fumbles, and most of the new offers will likely be from schools envisioning him as a defensive end.
Chester’s Malik Williams was the third local player to pick up an offer from an ACC school, Duke in his case. The Blue Devils are Williams’ first scholarship offer, but the talented junior QB should add several more to the list in the coming months. Wake Forest, West Virginia and California are all interested in the elusive athlete.
Another South Pointe player having an excellent season, sophomore Derion Kendrick, added to his growing list of offers from college football’s elite when Tennessee made him a scholarship offer in late September. Kendrick, who has 42 tackles on defense and four offensive touchdowns, adds Rocky Top to a list that already includes UNC, South Carolina, Clemson and Florida.
Weather repercussions on high school sports schedule
The health and security of everyone affected by the unusually heavy rainfall last weekend is top priority, as is cleaning up a mess that still isn’t entirely done being created.
High school sports, already coping with a very wet and lightning-filled September, are also being impacted by what could be lengthy school closures this week. Some teams that postponed last Friday’s games until Monday now face the possibility of having to play twice this week, if they’re able to at all. Pictures on social media Sunday and Monday showed numerous schools with practice fields and stadiums completely underwater. Raging flood waters cut a ravine through Ridge View High School’s practice field, just behind the goal post in one end zone.
Some classifications and schools – particularly schools in the Lower State – are lobbying the South Carolina High School League to bump the high school football season back a week. The 2A classification was fortunate to have a bye week between Lower and Upper State championships and the state championship game. That bye week will now be filled in order to get in games that won’t be played this week. The 2A playoffs will now start with the 4A schools on Nov. 13.
Dillon High School principal Dr. Shawn Johnson said he polled 2A schools, “and they voted overwhelmingly (over 75 percent) for Week 11 to now be used for make-up games from Week 6 or 7. If you do not need make-up games and you qualify for the playoffs then Week 11 now becomes a bye week.”
The state swimming championships were also scheduled for Saturday in Columbia, but have been moved back a week to Oct. 17 due to safety concerns with the University of South Carolina pool, which is not currently operational.
Northwestern defense squelching opposing offenses
Northwestern has a bye week, allowing time to reflect on the defensive bullying they’ve done in the first seven games of the season.
James Martin’s group has held six of seven opponents below 100 yards rushing, with the lone exception Woodside (Va.), which runs a wing-t offense. The Trojans are only giving up 1.9 yards per carry and have forced 17 fumbles, nine of which they recovered.
55 Northwestern’s defense has produced 55 tackles-for-loss, including 21 sacks, through the first seven games of the season.
In an era where the football flies around and points pile up in a hurry, Northwestern has held four of seven opponents to seven or fewer points, and scoring on just 6-of-15 visits into the Trojans’ defensive red zone. If this team ends up playing football on the first Saturday in December, it will be its defense that got it there.
Tri-County Players of the Week (from Week 6)
Co-offensive players of the week: Jerry Howard, Northwestern, and Brett Ferguson, Fort Mill- both backs had big Friday nights with Howard racking up 257 total yards (210 on the ground) and a pair of touchdowns, while Ferguson piled up 227 yards and two touchdowns on 23 touches for Fort Mill.
Defensive player: N/A
Co-offensive linemen: Austin Randolph, Fort Mill, and Demontre Buckson, Northwestern- Randolph graded out at 89 percent as Fort Mill ran for nearly 300 yards in a win over Clover. Buckson had a very similar effort in the Trojans’ win over York, grading 89 percent with a pancake as Northwestern also rushed for 306 yards.
Defensive lineman: Trae’von Hinton, Northwestern- senior defensive lineman had 10 tackles, including two for a loss and a sack, during Northwestern’s win over York.
Special teams: N/A
1A, 2A, 3A schools
Offensive player of the week: Heath Gandy, Andrew Jackson- junior rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries during the Volunteers’ 17-14 upset of Lamar.
Defensive player: Tex Haven, Andrew Jackson- Haven made 10 tackles with three assists, a sack, two tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery during the Vols’ win over Lamar.
Offensive lineman: Charlie Ellis, Lancaster- The Bruins had another big game running the ball, and Ellis was a big reason why, grading out at 88 percent with one pancake block.
Defensive lineman: Houston Brantley, Lancaster- Brantley had four tackles-for-loss, including two sacks, one of which led to a safety, during the Bruins’ win over Chester Thursday night.
Special teams: Trevor Latham, Lancaster- Latham hit a 41-yard field goal, had a touchback and made all four of his extra point attempts.
Northwestern moves up in 4A rankings; Lancaster, South Pointe stay put in 3A
Northwestern’s 36-7 win over York, coupled with Byrnes’ narrow loss to Spartanburg and Hillcrest’s overtime defeat against Westside, pushed the Trojans up to No. 2 in the 4A polls released Tuesday evening. York fell to No. 10 but remains ranked.
South Pointe and Lancaster didn’t move in the 3A poll, with the Stallions still No. 2 and Lancaster still No. 8.
1. Spartanburg; 2. Northwestern; 3. Byrnes; 4. Fort Dorchester; 5. Westside; 6. Hillcrest; 7. Dorman; 8. Lexington; 9. Ashley Ridge; 10. York
Others receiving votes: Conway, Westwood, Dutch Fork, Blythewood
1. Hartsville; 2. South Pointe; 3. Greer; 4. Seneca; 5. Chapin; 6. Belton-Honea Path; 7. Airport; 8. Lancaster; 9. Hilton Head; 10. Myrtle Beach
Others receiving votes: Georgetown, Union County, Hanahan
1. Dillon; T2. Batesburg-Leesville; T2. Newberry; 4. Strom Thurmond; 5. Abbeville; 6. Lake Marion; 7. Woodruff; 8. Fairfield Central; 9. Timberland; 10. Chesterfield
Others receiving votes: Andrews, Saluda, Pendleton
1. McBee; 2. Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 3. Christ Church; 4. Allendale-Fairfax; 5. Calhoun County; 6. Lake View; 7. Cross; 8. Williston-Elko; 9. Lamar; 10. Southside Christian
Others receiving votes: C.E. Murray, Ridge Spring-Monetta, Estill
The S.C. Prep Media Football Poll is conducted by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal with voting from Andrew Macke, Greenwood Index Journal; Bob Castello, Greenville News; Mike McCombs, The Island Packet; Chris Clark, Orangeburg Times and Democrat; Chris Dearing, The State; Ian Guerin, 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.