York (5-3, 1-2 Region 3-4A) at Nation Ford (5-2, 2-0)
Last week: York lost to Gaffney 51-20; Nation Ford beat Fort Mill 49-27
Last meeting: York won 44-20 (2014)
Key players: YCHS - Sr. LB Marcus Snyder, Jr. RB Tyquan McCray, Jr. ATH Javione Matthews, Jr. WR Shandon Cobb. NFHS - Jr. LB Corbin Tesimale, Sr. LB/TE Jordan Helms, Sr. RB Tyree Chaplin, Jr. DB Harry Goodwin, Soph. DB Ben Tuipulotu.
Need to know: The Cougars have won six out of seven all-time in the series, but have to feel like slight underdogs against Nation Ford based simply on recent form. The Falcons have won five straight, averaging 46 points per contest during that stretch, and their defense has allowed just 161 points through seven games this season, a massive improvement from last the same juncture last year (353). It’s the defense that has the Falcons eying at least a No. 2 playoff seed from Region 3-4A.
No. 8 Lancaster (7-0, 1-0 Region 3-3A) at No. 2 South Pointe (6-1, 1-0)
Last week: Lancaster beat Clinton 24-16; South Pointe beat Chester 56-12
Last meeting: South Pointe won 14-7 (2014)
Key players: LHS- Sr. OL Graham Banks, Soph. DE Markees Watts, Jr. DB C’Darious Catoe, Sr. TE James Killian. SPHS - Sr. OL Paden Lipe, Sr. DL Desmond Minton, Jr. LB Bryson Cooper, Jr. RB Voshon St. Hill.
Need to know: Top-10 matchup pits teams with opposite offensive strengths against each other in a matchup that will quite likely decide the Region 3-3A title. Lancaster, off to its best start at least since the 1960s, won the tempo battle last year but lost the war, dropping a 14-7 contest to the Stallions at home. The difference was South Pointe converting its scoring opportunities while the Bruins failed to do so, scoring just once on four trips inside the 30-yard line. If Lancaster gets similar chances this season, it better take advantage. You know South Pointe will.
Fort Mill (5-3, 1-2 Region 3-4A) at Rock Hill (2-6, 1-2)
Last week: Fort Mill lost to Nation Ford 49-27; Rock Hill beat Clover 28-17
Last meeting: Fort Mill won 20-19 (2014)
Key players: FMHS - Jr. WR Thomas Chrisley, Sr. G Matt Neill, Sr. QB Rogan Wells, Jr. WR Gus Jarosz. RHHS - Jr. QB Dre Robinson, Jr. WR Kenny Agurs, Sr. LB Khari Hunter, Sr. DB Delik King.
Need to know: Rock Hill can claw back into the Region 3-4A playoff race with a home win Friday against the Yellow Jackets. Fort Mill has won four of the last seven, indicative of how close the series has been in recent years. Last week was Rock Hill’s first game with over 260 yards of total offense since its win over Chester, and the Bearcats will have to at least replicate that feat against a Yellow Jackets squad that will no doubt be peeved after dropping the Milltown Showdown to Nation Ford. Both are 1-2 in region play and a win would be critical for playoff hopes.
No. 2 Northwestern (6-1, 2-0 Region 3-4A) at Clover (1-6, 0-2)
Last week: Northwestern was idle; Clover lost to Rock Hill 28-17
Last meeting: Northwestern won 42-7 (2014)
Key players: NHS - Sr. WR Julian Shockley, Jr. RB Jerry Howard, Sr. DE Trae’von Hinton, Sr. DT Jamah Mitchell. CHS - Jr. OL Jackson McDowell, Jr. TE Hayden Milley, Jr. FB Tanner Tolson, Sr. RB Cody Payne.
Need to know: Northwestern has lost to Clover once since 1976, and Friday doesn’t look like a likely candidate for No. 2. The main reason is the strength of the Trojan defensive line, which will get a good test from a sizeable Clover offensive line up front, but is only allowing 1.9 yards per rush this season. Coming off a bye week, Northwestern should be fresh and ready for an assault on the second half of its schedule, which should include a lengthy run in the playoffs.
Broome at Chester
Last week: Broome lost to Union County 34-0; Chester lost to South Pointe 56-12
Last meeting: Broome won 58-44 (2014)
Key players: BHS - Jr. FB/LB D’Marco Jackson, Soph. RB Jairus Jeter, Sr. LB Zach Long. CHS - Jr. QB Malik Williams, Sr. LB Dre Johnson, Sr. LB/S Quan Young, Sr. OL/DL Stanley Yarborough.
Need to know: Big game for Chester, like, real big. The Cyclones are 0-2 in region play, but they’ve already played probably the best two teams in the region. Four teams make the playoffs, meaning wins over Broome and Clinton would put Victor Floyd’s program in the postseason for the first time since 2012. Jet Turner’s Centurions will be smarting from a shutout loss last week and their option running attack will make for a tough night for the undersized and thinly-rostered Cyclones.
Indian Land (4-3, 1-2 Region 4-2A) at North Central (3-4, 0-3)
Last week: Indian Land lost to Mid-Carolina 54-30; North Central lost to Andrew Jackson 35-15
Last meeting: Indian Land won 20-6 (2014)
Key players: ILHS - Sr. WR Ryan Albino, Sr. FB/DL Austin Gordon, Sr. LB Trevor Martin, Soph. QB David Loughry. NCHS - Jr. ATH Cedrick Cunningham, Soph. QB Bubba Williamson.
Need to know: North Cetnral arrives on the Warriors’ schedule at just the right time, it would seem. Indian Land has beaten the Knights 10 of the last 11 meetings, and Louis Clyburn’s team - after a 3-0 start - has scored just 15 points in its last three games, all losses in region play. Indian Land got its offense back on track last week, but needs to return to its turnover-producing ways in the first four games, all Warrior wins.
Great Falls (1-6, 1-0 Region 3-A) at No. 1 McBee (6-0, 1-0)
Last week: Great Falls lost to Gray Collegiate 40-0; McBee’s game with C.A. Johnson was postponed
Last meeting: McBee won 60-8 (2014)
Key players: GFHS - Soph. QB Connor Henson, Jr. ATH Aaron Rice. MHS - Sr. RB Jordan Fair, Sr. RB Dashonnell Wright.
Need to know: Chester News and Reporter’s Travis Jenkins pointed out that since Sept. 18, McBee has played one half of football, due to a bye week, two games postponed or canceled and its win over Lewisville being called at the half because of treacherous weather. That probably won’t matter at all against Great Falls, which will be overmatched against the state’s top 1A team thanks in part to mounting injuries. Bigger games are ahead for the Red Devils, notably their contest with Lewisville on Oct. 30.
Region standings headed into Week 8