Lewisville is 6-0 but the Lions’ caliber gets its realest tests the next two weeks, at No. 5 McBee this Friday, followed by a home game against No. 1 Lamar.
The Lions are one of three undefeated teams left in the 1A ranks. They’re scoring 38.7 points per game and allowing just 11.3.
Lewisville is healthier than it’s been the last few years headed into these two crunch contests. Mitchell recently polled his team on which of the 27 juniors and seniors had played in all three previous games against Lamar and McBee. Only four raised their hands.
Will Mitchell talks about the McBee and Lamar games:
Shunting Lancaster, Indian Land and Chester from the non-region schedule certainly helped keep players healthy, and blowouts like last Friday’s 52-0 shutout of C.A. Johnson have ensured that everyone has played, not just the standouts.
“We only dress about 27,” said Mitchell. “If you dress out, you play. There isn’t anybody that stands on the sideline with a clipboard, looking at the stands. So hopefully that helps with our team-building too.”
Before the year, and as its progressed, Mitchell’s concern has centered on how his team - very experienced in the amount of games played but equally as new to success - would handle a hot start. That question is still to be answered, but probably will be in the next two weeks.
“It’s real important how they approach this game,” said Mitchell. “Everybody’s gonna be ready to play at 7 o’ clock Friday. How ready are you at 4:30 on Monday? On Tuesday at 4:30? Because these are the days when we do the work that shows up on Friday.”
New playoff formats
Region play kicks off in the York, Chester and Lancaster counties area this weekend, so it’s time to start thinking about playoffs.
The 2016 realignment canned the mysterious and mystical points system, and essentially rendered the non-region portion of the schedule ineffectual to a team’s postseason hopes. So the real football is only now getting underway.
The new brackets are much easier to follow throughout the season and subsequently predict come November.
In 5A, the local Region 4 - Northwestern, Rock Hill, Clover, Fort Mill and Nation Ford - will send four teams to the playoffs, where they will meet the four teams from Region 3, which includes Byrnes, Spartanburg, Gaffney, Dorman and Boiling Springs. Ouch (unless you’re the rest of the 5A Upper State).
At the 4A level, Region 3 - York, Lancaster and South Pointe’s league - is twinned with Region 1, which counts Daniel, Greenville, Pickens, Wren and Belton-Honea Path as its five members. Chester and Indian Land are the two local teams in 3A (Region 4); the playoff teams from their region will match up with Region 3-3A, which includes annual powerhouses Woodruff and Newberry, as well as Broome, Chapman, Mid-Carolina and Clinton.
The 1A bracket has the fewest teams and the most deviations from the standard set by the other four. Sixteen teams make the playoffs, including three at-large bids. The top-two teams from Region 3 and Region 6 get first round byes, while the winners of the other four leagues also get a free pass to the second round. Region 2-A - Great Falls, Lewisville, Lamar, McBee and Timmonsville - will send three teams to the postseason. All three will get a first round home game with the region champion getting a first round bye and a home game in the second round.
Cheers to less confusion and guessing.
York needs to get started earlier
York cobbled together a furious rally in the fourth quarter last Friday, but a 25-22 loss to Clover again underscored the Cougars’ need to show up in the first half.
When asked afterward about that tendency through the first four games, a rueful smile came over Bobby Carroll’s face. He blamed himself for not having his players prepared, then said “this team’s got to grow up at some point.”
The Cougars (1-4) have been out-scored 108-54 in the first two quarters of games this season. They’ve out-scored their opponents 80-56 in the third and fourth quarters and nearly came back to beat Nation Ford, Union County and Clover, all games that ended in defeat.
Maybe it’s time for new pregame music? As mentioned earlier, the non-region slate counts for zip, so Carroll’s crew just needs to win twice in the remaining games to make the playoffs. York hosts Richland Northeast Friday in its Region 3-4A opener, no doubt looking for a faster start than its managed in the last month.
Malik Williams: Shrine Bowl snub
Chester coach Victor Floyd was grumpy Tuesday about his star quarterback’s omission from the Shrine Bowl, and for good reason. Malik Williams has piloted Chester to a 5-1 start and the cusp of the 3A state rankings by rushing for 710 yards and 13 touchdowns in just six games. He’s also 47-of-77 passing for 852 yards and seven touchdowns, with just one interception.
The Appalachian State commit should be able to console himself with a North-South all-star spot. The North squad’s coach, Camden’s Jimmy Neal, coaches in Chester’s new region and should be well aware of Williams’ abilities. The senior should be a fit on any all-star roster, whether as a quarterback, receiver or all-around athlete.
Malik Williams’ highlights against Lancaster:
Tri-County players of the week from Week 5
4A, 5A schools
Offensive player of the week: Kirk Rygol, Nation Ford- senior QB won for the second straight week after completing 20-of-27 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns, with just one interception in the Falcons’ 40-3 win over Indian Land.
Honorable mention: Rodney Brown, Northwestern; Semaj Lakin, Clover.
Defensive player: Hayden Milley, Clover- linebacker made 10 tackles (eight solos), recorded a sack and intercepted a fourth quarter pass to seal the Blue Eagles’ 25-22 win over York.
Honorable mention: Corbin Tesimale, Nation Ford; D.J. Agurs, Northwestern.
Offensive lineman: Fred Reid, Lancaster- sophomore lineman graded 92 percent with three pancakes and no sacks allowed during the Bruins’ 32-6 win over Lugoff-Elgin.
Honorable mention: Garrett Lutz, Clover.
Defensive lineman: Markees Watts, Lancaster- junior defensive end was active in the Bruins’ win last Friday, making four tackles-for-loss and three sacks, and blocking both a punt and a field goal.
Honorable mention: Areon Walls, Northwestern; Derrick Phillips, Clover.
Special teams: Skyler DeLong, Nation Ford- kicker hit four extra points, a 28-yard field goal and punted for a 35-yard average during the Falcons’ win over Indian Land.
Honorable mention: N/A
1A, 2A, 3A schools
Offensive player of the week: Malik Williams, Chester- another back to back winner, Chester’s senior QB completed 8-of-10 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball six times for 87 yards and three more touchdowns during the Cyclones’ blowout of Carolina Pride.
Honorable mention: Jay Hildreth, Indian Land; Johnny Courtney, Lewisville; Tex Haven, Andrew Jackson.
Defensive player: Tex Haven, Andrew Jackson- two-way player made nine tackles, three sacks, three tackles-for-loss and forced a fumble during Andrew Jackson’s win over Central.
Honorable mention: Dillon Howie, Indian Land; Jene Thompson, Lewisville.
Offensive linemen: Xi Simpson, Chester, Jeremy Montgomery, Indian Land, and Qua Simpson, Lewisville- all three graded out 88 percent in their teams’ respective games. Chester’s Simpson had five knockdown blocks and two that paved the way for touchdowns, while Lewisville’s Simpson had four highlight blocks and a pancake.
Honorable mention: N/A
Defensive lineman: Ethan McGriff, Chester- senior made 10 tackles and recorded three QB sacks during Chester’s win over Carolina Pride.
Honorable mention: Logan Teeter, Indian Land; Josh Belk, Lewisville.
Special teams: Johnny Courtney, Lewisville- returned two punts for 67 yards total and a touchdown, punted once for 37 yards and also converted a fake punt on fourth down for 13 yards during the Lions’ blowout of C.A. Johnson.
Honorable mention: John Erby, Chester; Brandon Dickerson, Indian Land.
State rankings headed into Week 6
1. Dutch Fork; 2. Northwestern; 3. Fort Dorchester; 4. Boiling Springs; 5. Westside; 6. Spartanburg; 7. Gaffney; 8. Dorman; 9. Sumter; 10. Blythewood
Others receiving votes: T.L. Hanna, Clover, Greenwood
1. South Pointe; 2. Myrtle Beach; 3. Hartsville; 4. Ridge View; 5. Belton-Honea Path; 6. Cane Bay; 7. North Myrtle Beach; 8. Greer; 9. South Aiken; 10. Richland Northeast
Others Receiving Votes: Union County, North Augusta, Hilton Head Island, Chapin, Lancaster
1. Dillon; 2. Bluffton; 3. Fairfield Central; 4. Bishop England; 5. Strom Thurmond; 6. Chapman; 7. Woodruff; 8. Gilbert; 9. Brookland-Cayce; 10. Newberry
Others receiving votes: Lake City, Broome, Powdersville, Chester
1. Abbeville; 2. Bamberg-Ehrhardt;. 3. Cheraw; 4. Barnwell; 5. Southside Christian; 6. Calhoun County; 7. Saluda; 8. Allendale-Fairfax; 9. Lee Central; T10. Blacksburg; T10. Batesburg-Leesville
Others receiving votes: Carvers Bay, Chesterfield, Liberty, Andrews, Andrew Jackston
1. Lamar; 2. Lake View; 3. Lewisville; 4. McBee; 5. Cross; 6.Hemingway; 7. Blackville-Hilda; 8. Williston-Elko; 9. Baptist Hill; 10. C.E. Murray
Others receiving votes: St. John's, Bethune-Bowman, Ridge Spring-Monetta
The S.C. Prep Media Football Poll is conducted by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal with voting from Michael Christopher, Greenwood Index Journal; Bob Castello, Greenville News; Chris Clark, Orangeburg Times and Democrat; Chris Dearing, The State; Joe Hughes, 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.