Clover (4-0) at York (1-3)
Last week: Clover beat Franklin Christian 50-6; York beat Fort Mill 49-39.
Last meeting: York won 35-3 (2015)
Key players: CHS- Jr. RB/CB Connor Owens; Sr. DE A.J. Pennington; Jr. WB/LB Willy Clark; Sr. TE Jackson Parrish. YHS- Sr. RB Tyquan Huntley; Sr. WR Shandon Cobb; Jr. DL Kyle Ersek; Sr. DB Detorien Rawlinson.
Need to know: Clover ran 71 plays in last year’s 35-3 loss to York, with the Cougars snapping just 37. The Blue Eagles’ ball control plan worked, to an extent. But the plan becomes doubly harmful when lengthy, time-consuming drives don’t end in points as was often the case last year against York. Clover can’t have that happen again this year if it wants to beat a York team that’s won the last five against the Blue Eagles, allowing just four total touchdowns in those games.
Northwestern (4-1) at Gaffney (4-0)
Last week: Northwestern beat Spartanburg 35-31; Gaffney beat Hillcrest 31-10.
Last meeting: Northwestern won 51-6 (2015)
Key players: NHS- Sr. QB Gage Moloney; Sr. WR Dequez Harris; Jr. LB Christian Steele; Sr. LB Dantavis Bowser. GHS- Jr. RB/MLB Cameron Rice; Jr. QB Tyshun Sarratt; Sr. CB Deshawn Evans; Sr. DE Ashonti Richardson.
Need to know: Northwestern missed 24 tackles as a team last week against Spartanburg, which will concern coach David Pierce headed into Friday’s contest at Gaffney. The Indians are blessed at the skill positions, especially at receiver with D.J. Logan and Dennis Smith, who both average around 16 yards per catch. Combine Gaffney’s explosiveness on offense with its care for the ball - just two turnovers in four games - and you’ve got a vintage Indians offense. This will be a gut-check game for the Trojans.
Indian Land (1-4) at Nation Ford (3-1)
Last week: Indian Land lost to Chesterfield 41-21; Nation Ford beat Lancaster 35-14.
Last meeting: never played
Key players: ILHS- Sr. RB/OLB Lee Massey; Soph. QB Jay Hildreth; Jr. WR/CB John Gregory; Sr. CB/SB Matt Murray. NFHS- Sr. WR Alex Stennett; Sr. TE Bryce Kopyta; Jr. DB Tim Smith; Sr. OLB/SB Halen Burgess.
Need to know: Another tough game for bruised and battered Indian Land. Nation Ford is surging into Region 3-5A play with its only loss coming against South Pointe, and the Falcons, who have a tougher defensive spine this season, are well-equipped to handle Indian Land’s power rushing attack. Besides injuries, inexperience and turnovers have hurt the Warriors, who start sophomore QB Jay Hildreth this week after junior starter David Loughry was lost for the year.
Lugoff-Elgin (2-3) at Lancaster (3-2)
Last week: Lugoff-Elgin lost to South Aiken 27-7; Lancaster lost to Nation Ford 35-14.
Last meeting: N/A
Key players: LEHS- Sr. RB Jermaine Jenkins; Sr. OLB Alex Irby; RB Rahmel Burton; Jr. QB Chandler Price. LHS- Sr. RB Farrika Grier; Sr. QB Jamias Shropshire; Jr. DE Markees Watts; Sr. DB C.D. Catoe.
Need to know: Lancaster had its nose bloodied a bit the last two weeks but a home game against the Demons offers a chance to right the ship. Lugoff-Elgin won two games combined in the last four seasons, but under Matthew Campbell, the Demons have already reached that threshold before the 2016 halfway mark. Both sides have big offensive lines so it’ll be decisive to see which can create the most room for capable ball-carriers like Rahmel Burton and the Bruins’ Farrika Grier and Ant Foster.
Carolina Pride (2-3) at Chester (4-1)
Last week: Carolina Pride lost to Charlotte Latin 49-8; Chester beat Lower Richland 54-19.
Last meeting: never played
Key players: CP- Sr. QB Garrett Ward; Jr. SB Harrison Poe; Jr. LB Toris Saifele; Sr. WR Matthew Broussard. CHS- Sr. QB/DB Malik Williams; Jr. WR/DB T.J. Hollis; Sr. OL/DL Xi Simpson; Soph. LB Rollo Hall.
Need to know: Chester is on its longest winning streak (four games) since the 2012 team won five straight. With the help of wide splits on the offensive line, the Cyclones are creating gaping running lanes on offense and creating turnovers on defense, led by junior defensive back Quay Hardin. It’s hard to know what to expect from Carolina Pride, a Charlotte-based outfit that’s been blown out by three big private schools and beaten a pair of non-traditional programs. The Pride moves the ball through the air primarily, which should leave Hardin (five interceptions in five games) licking his chops.
C.A. Johnson (1-3) at Lewisville (5-0)
Last week: C.A. Johnson lost to Bethune-Bowman 22-20; Lewisville beat Eau Claire 22-12.
Last meeting: Lewisville won 48-20 (2015)
Key players: CAJHS- Jr. MLB/RB Raqwaun Pace; Soph. DT Johnathan Malone; Sr. DE Dahon Mixon; Jr. WR M’Sonti Chinn. LHS- Sr. QB Trey Keels; Sr. MLB Darryl Manning; Sr. CB/WR Mike Hill; Jr. OLB/WR Johnny Courtney.
Need to know: Lewisville is cruising at the moment, which is probably an uneasy feeling for coach Will Mitchell. The Lions have won five of the last six games against C.A. Johnson and could get another one Friday night if its front seven again boss a game. Lewisville has allowed less than 33 yards rushing in four of five games this season and the Lions are piling up quarterback sacks, led by Darryl Manning’s area-high 10.
Great Falls (0-5) at North Central (2-2)
Last week: Great Falls forfeited to Carolina Wildcats; North Central lost to Andrew Jackson 25-0.
Last meeting: Great Falls won 48-21 (2011)
Key players: GFHS - Jr. QB Connor Henson; Sr. ATH Aaron Rice; DL Artez Blackmon; WR/DB Tommy Belk. NCHS - Sr. LB Deaunte Samuel; Sr. RB Cedrick Cunningham; Sr. DB Markiez Bradford.
Need to know: Great Falls forfeited last week’s game against the Carolina Wildcats because of injury and fatigue concerns after playing two games in five days with low numbers. But that gave John Barrett’s team an extra week to get ready for North Central, a team the Red Devils have beaten eight straight times. Barrett, Great Falls’ first-year coach, confirmed that his team would in fact play Friday night’s game. Central to their efforts will be slowing Knights running back (and leading tackler) Cedrick Cunningham who is a speedy and physical ball-carrier.