The Nation Ford football team’s triumphant return to the gridiron did not go unnoticed.
On Tuesday, Players of the Week from the first weekend of football were selected by the Tri-County Coaches Association — and the Falcons emerged with three players receiving honors.
Nation Ford defeated Spartanburg, 20-6, on Friday. In the game, Nation Ford notched over 250 yards rushing, and the awards its players later received reflect the team’s success it had on the ground. Both the offensive lineman and offensive player of the week from the pool of 5A and 4A schools were from Nation Ford.
On the 3A, 2A and 1A selection side, Chester had two of its own earn Player of the Week honors after the team defeated Aiken, 52-6, on Thursday night.
Here are all of the selections, nominations and pertinent statistics from last week’s slate of high school football games.
5A, 4A selections
Offensive Player of the Week: Nation Ford’s Nathan Mahaffey was voted as the 5A, 4A offensive player of the week on Tuesday. In his team’s win, Mahaffey notched 229 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries.
Other nominations: Gabe Carroll of Clover, Jaylin Lane of Clover and Ger-Cari Caldwell of Northwestern.
Offensive Lineman of the Week: Blocking for Mahaffey was Devin Hodges of Nation Ford, who took home the offensive lineman of the week award on Tuesday. Hodges played 64 snaps and graded out at 93 percent. He also added four blocks that put defenders on their backs.
Other nomination: Damari Mazyck of Northwestern.
Defensive Player of the Week: Despite his team’s 28-21 loss to Sumter, Rock Hill’s Tylik Edwards was voted defensive player of the week. The cornerback had three total tackles, two interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
Edwards also had a Friday night worth writing about in special teams. He added 60 kick return yards and 35 punt return yards on Friday night.
Other nominations: Micah Brown of Nation Ford, Rontarious Aldridge of South Pointe, Jaden Hicklin of South Pointe, Jaylon Ballard of Clover and Derrick McCrorey of Northwestern.
Defensive Lineman of the Week: South Pointe’s Rontarious Aldridge was selected as defensive lineman of the week after his effort in his team’s 17-14 win over rival Northwestern. The senior recorded eight total tackles, three sacks, one pass deflection and two tackles for loss on Saturday.
Other nominations: Jaden Hicklin of South Pointe, Hakeem Jackson of Rock Hill, Zawon Brown of Northwestern and Brice Webb of Nation Ford.
Special Teams Player of the Week (co-selections): Nation Ford’s Quinn Castner and Northwestern’s Nick Acus split the vote for special teams player of the week on Tuesday. Both players are kickers.
Castner notched two field goals — one from 33 yards and the other from 29 yards — two extra points and two touchbacks in his season-opener.
Acus was also 2-for-2 on point after touchdown attempts, but he also handled punting responsibilities in a game where field position was important. He punted the ball nine times; his long was 62 yards, and he had two punts land inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line.
Other nominations: Tylik Edwards of Rock Hill.
3A, 2A, 1A selections
Offensive Player of the Week: Chester’s Stan Mills was the more-prolific of Chester’s two-speared rushing attack on Thursday night in its season-opening 52-6 win over Aiken, and he was later voted as the 3A, 2A, 1A offensive player of the week. On 10 carries, Mills notched 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Other nominations: Quinten Jackson of Catawba Ridge and Kyle McIlwain of Andrew Jackson.
Offensive Lineman of the Week: Lewisville’s Taylor Smith was voted as offensive lineman of the week on Tuesday. In his team’s season-opening win — which now marks the end of the Lions’s winless stretch that extended all the way back to 2017 — Smith graded out at 93 percent, adding three pancake blocks and paving the way for an offense that averaged over 10 yards per play.
Other nominations: Jeremiah Days of Chester and Noah Boone of Andrew Jackson.
Defensive Player of the Week: Scott Blackmon of Great Falls was awarded defensive player of the week honors on Tuesday.
Blackmon notched 16 tackles, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in his team’s win over C.A. Johnson on Thursday night — a win that took multiple overtimes.
Other nominations: Chriss Flynn of Lewisville, Chris Dove of Chester, Will Lowman of Catawba Ridge and Fred Elder of Andrew Jackson.
Defensive Lineman of the Week: His school’s inaugural game ended with a win — and, as of Tuesday’s vote, defensive linemen Asa Johnson has punctuated his 2019 debut with defensive lineman of the week honors.
Johnson notched 10 tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss on Friday night.
Other nominations: Scott Blackmon of Great Falls, Gavin Phillips of Andrew Jackson and Jaymes Gillcrese of Lewisville.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Steven McGarrity of Chester earned special teams player of the week honors with his strong boot. A former high school soccer player, the senior went 5-for-6 on point after touchdown attempts and knocked in a 41-yard field goal on Thursday night — the longest kick in the school’s history, per head coach Victor Floyd.
Other nominations: Demetric Hardin of Lewisville and Jake Vaughn of Andrew Jackson.