Spartanburg (3-1) at Northwestern (3-1)
Last week: Spartanburg beat Union County 37-7; Northwestern beat Byrnes 34-12
Last meeting: Northwestern won 24-21 (2011)
Key players: SHS - Sr. DE Ayele Jeter; Sr. DB Orinthius Byrd; Jr. WR/TE Tommy Washington; Sr. RB/WR Ladarius Jones. NHS - Sr. WR Wally Wilmore; Sr. LB Dantavis Bowser; Jr. DB Ladell Massey; Sr. RB Jerry Howard.
Need to know: Northwestern is starting to show that cut-throat nature on offense that made its 2015 state title team so ruthless. The one thing holding the Trojans back at the moment is turnovers; David Pierce’s club is actually negative-4 in turnover margin. Spartanburg is a solid team that offers Northwestern the potential to add to both offensive and defensive turnover categories. The Viking defense is stout, led by a pass rush that’s produced double-digit sacks already and a solid secondary marshaled by Orinthius Byrd and Jaylon Girdner.
Jimmy Wallace and Bret McCormick preview Northwestern-Spartanburg:
Rock Hill (1-3) at Dorman (1-2)
Last week: Rock Hill lost to Boiling Springs 35-32; Dorman beat Hillcrest 37-34
Last meeting: Dorman won 24-17 (2015)
Key players: RHHS- Jr. WR Eric Stroud; OL Reese Hinchman; Sr. DB Chesia Coleman; Sr. DL/LB Matt Klipa. DHS- Soph. WR Jacoby Pinckney; Sr. QB Jalen Fowler; Sr. OL T.J. Boyd; Sr. OL Ben Bernstein.
Need to know: This could be a close game. Dorman picked off a win in Rock Hill last season and it wouldn’t be a surprise for the Bearcats to return the favor this season. It’s been one thing or another in each of the three losses - all by a touchdown or less - that’s kept the 1-3 Bearcats from potentially being undefeated. They’ve also led at one point in all three losses. A road win over Dorman would be another crucial belief-booster for a talented but inconsistent Rock Hill bunch just before region play begins.
Jimmy Wallace and Bret McCormick preview Rock Hill-Dorman:
Mallard Creek (N.C.) (3-0) at South Pointe (3-1)
Last week: Mallard Creek beat Byrnes 21-14; South Pointe lost to St. Francis Academy 28-23
Last meeting: never played
Key players: MCHS- Sr. WR Ryan Jones; Sr. DL/C Grant Gibson; Sr. RB Darnell Walker; Sr. LB Larry Matkins. SPHS- Jr. K B.T. Potter; Jr. OL Keshawn Freeman; Jr. DB Jamari Currence; Sr. RB Voshon St. Hill.
Need to know: This matchup is littered with college football recruits and prospects. Mallard Creek alone will bring eight seniors already committed to FBS schools, with half of those to ACC or SEC schools. South Pointe’s talent lies more on the potential side at the moment and this will be a considerably uphill task for the Stallions. They did get a crash course in how to play against a physically larger team in last week’s game against St. Frances, but faded late in a 28-23 loss. The visitors from North Carolina will believe that they too can wear down South Pointe in the later stages of the game.
Lancaster (2-1) at Nation Ford (2-1)
Last week: Lancaster lost to Chester 24-21; Nation Ford beat York 28-16
Last meeting: Lancaster won 42-20 (2013)
Key players: LHS- Sr. QB Jamias Shropshire; Jr. DE Markees Watts; Sr. LB Desmond Hicks; Sr. WR Ji’Quan Stover. NFHS- Sr. WR Alex Stennett; Jr. DB/WR Ben Tuipulotu; Sr. OL Damian Peeples; Jr. LB Vinny Catan.
Need to know: It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reaction Lancaster produces to its upset loss at Chester last week. The comforting thing for coach Bobby Collins was his team did a little of everything wrong; it would have been more disconcerting if the Bruins had played well and lost. Lancaster’s host, Nation Ford, has quietly had a solid start to the season and this group of Falcons will be more up for the Bruins’ punishing style of play than in years past.
York (0-3) at Fort Mill (2-2)
Last week: York lost to Nation Ford 28-26; Fort Mill beat Orangeburg-Wilkinson 41-7
Last meeting: York won 42-28 (2015)
Key players: YHS- Sr. LB Ke’Trael Lytle; Sr. RB TyQuan Huntley; Sr. OL Michael Cartwright; Jr. DL Kyle Ersek. FMHS- Sr. LB Jordan Markowski; Sr. WR Thomas Chrisley; Jr. OL Trey Reed; Sr. RB/DB Ronnie Hughes.
Need to know: Fort Mill has been penalized 21 times in four games, exactly half as many as its opponents. If the Yellow Jackets don’t hurt themselves they’ll have a good shot of getting over .500 Friday night in a game against former region foe York. The wheels fell off fast for the Cougars, who are trying to get their situation steadied. Moving Shandon Cobb back to receiver should help a stagnant offense get moving a bit, but York needs its defense to continue improving. They’ve allowed 23 and 28 points the last two weeks after Rock Hill scored 49 in the season opener, but need turnovers to produce defensive points and short fields to aid the offense.
Chester (3-1) at Lower Richland (0-4)
Last week: Chester beat Lancaster 24-21; Lower Richland lost to Richland Northeast 36-12
Last meeting: Chester won 43-14 (2015)
Key players: CHS - Sr. RB/LB Jalyn Reid; Soph. OL Wyatt Tunall; Sr. DT Jarez Hardin; Jr. CB/WR Quay Hardin. LRHS - Jr. QB Tevaughn Higgins; Soph. RB Keyshawn Capers; Jr. DB Malich Jacobs; Sr. WR Keyon Hair.
Need to know: Chester has won all four meetings against Lower Richland. It’ll be telling to see how the Cyclones handle the aftermath of last week’s upset win over Lancaster, especially a game in which they’ll be favored to win. A big key for Victor Floyd’s team through four games has been turnover margin; the Cyclones have only coughed the ball up twice - one fumble and one interception - but have forced 11 giveaways by opponents.
Great Falls (0-4) at Carolina Wildcats (2-2)
Last week: Great Falls lost to Ware Shoals 72-22; Carolina Wildcats beat Carolina Gladiators 32-8
Last meeting: never played
Key players: GFHS- Jr. QB Connor Henson; Sr. WR/LB Shann Roberts; Sr. OL/DL ZyKevious McIlwain; Sr. RB/WR Aaron Rice. CW- Jr. DB Juwan Hallums; Sr. RB Ron Johnson; Sr. QB Blake Tolbert; Sr. LB Cameron Delano.
Need to know: Great Falls led Ware Shoals 22-0 last week before surrendering 72 straight points in a fourth loss. The Red Devils need to shake off the shock from experience when they head to Liberty, S.C., to face the Wildcats. Carolina Wildcats play in the same independent league as local outfit Carolina Crusaders, and they tend to run the ball much more than they throw it. Great Falls needs to move the chains offensively and keep the opposition’s defense on the field Friday or it could be another tough night.
Indian Land (1-3) at Chesterfield (2-1)
Last week: Indian Land lost to Broome 28-21; Chesterfield beat Anson County (N.C.) 13-12
Last meeting: Chesterfield won 61-30 (2015)
Key players: ILHS - Sr. RB Lee Massey; Soph. LB Robbie Csuhta; Sr. RB Ryan Albino; Sr. LB Logan Teeter. CHS - Jr. QB Savion Watson; Soph. WR Shyheim Rivers; Jr. WR Max Fields; Sr. LB Dustin Rayfield.
Need to know: Chesterfield is a pass-happy team with just 10 seniors. The Rams average around 300 yards through the air per game so far and will definitely threaten Indian Land’s youthful secondary. Ball control will be critical for the Warriors, who need a big game as usual from Lee Massey. Last year’s 61-30 Chesterfield win in this matchup is not the blueprint; Indian Land’s 10-7 win in 2014 is.