High School Football

HS Football Pivot: playoffs realistic for Great Falls; Rock Hill’s 2nd RB shows out

Great Falls should have its eyes on the playoffs

After breaking a 24-game losing streak, Great Falls reaches the middle of the 2018 season with a 3-2 record. The Red Devils have one more non-region game -- Friday at home against Camden Military -- before they commence Region 2-A competition. Can Scotty Steen’s team make the postseason?

Absolutely. Region 2-A lost Lewisville to the 2A classification this past offseason, and the Lions weren’t replaced. That leaves Great Falls, Timmonsville, McBee and Lamar. Three of those teams will make the 1A postseason. Great Falls opens region play in two weeks against McBee, which is coached by Rock Hill native Johnny Kline. The Panthers are 0-4, and though they’ve played a difficult schedule, the game has to be circled by Great Falls as the one it needs to win to make the postseason.

“That McBee game is gonna be very tremendous,” said Steen Friday night. “It is the next step in the project.”

Great Falls has a difference-maker in 6-foot-6 receiver Kelton Talford. He was offered a basketball scholarship by Maryland-Eastern Shore over the weekend, but has an equally bright future in football, should he choose that path. Steen pointed out that teams have to double-cover Talford, which leaves other parts of the field open for teammates.

“You can’t cover everybody,” said Steen.

York football is on the board

It’s been a tough start to 2018 for the Cougars, who lost their first three games, and also lost another chance at a win when the Rock Hill game was postponed because of Hurricane Florence. It’s unclear if that game will be made up at the end of the season, because of numerous variables that will go into deciding whether it’s worth playing or not.

A game certainly worth playing, this Friday when the Cougars head down to Blythewood to open Region 3-4A against Ridge View. The Blazers had a solid non-region showing, including a win over Northwestern in Rock Hill. But York has owned the series with Ridge View, including last season’s 59-26 blowout.

Something clicked offensively for York against Fort Mill. We’ll have a better idea this weekend of whether that was because the Cougars fixed things, or because of the opponent last week.

Two running backs at Rock Hill

Noah Thompson was already averaging 91 yards rushing per game as Rock Hill High’s second running back -- pretty good, right? -- behind Narii Gaither. But that average spiked last Friday night when Thompson rumbled for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries during the Bearcats’ blowout of Lugoff-Elgin.

“Aw man, Noah’s awesome,” Rock Hill coach Bubba Pittman said after the game. “When there wasn’t a hole, he made a hole, broke some long ones. I thought he played really, really well.”

Thompson’s steady contributions, and his eruption when given the brunt of the load, should give Bearcat coaches confidence that they’ve got enough in the offensive backfield for the times when Gaither needs to play more linebacker.

Looking ahead

  • South Pointe opens its Region 3-4A title defense against Westwood, a strong challenger to the Stallions’ region throne. South Pointe last lost a region game in 2013, 25 games ago, and the Stallions’ junior QB Tahleek Steele continues to up his game. He threw TD passes to five different players last week, including another one to senior athlete Marice Whitlock, who has become a lock for The Herald’s plays of the week video every Thursday morning. (He’ll be in it again this week after this one-handed scoring catch.)
  • Speaking of South Pointe-Westwood, the game will be a good opportunity to see RedHawks defensive back Cam Smith, a South Carolina Gamecocks commit, and one of the top prospects in the state. Watching Smith over the summer, he plays with the outwardly brash confidence that so many of South Pointe’s best players have exuded in recent years. It’ll be fun to watch the long, lean cornerback go against a program built on seemingly unshakeable confidence.
  • Region 3-5A looks again like it’ll be a jumbled mess, so go ahead and get the tie-breaker scenarios ready. Fort Mill-Rock Hill and Nation Ford-Clover open the region schedule this weekend, with the second of those two games genuinely feeling like a coin toss. The same could be said for most of the games in this league in 2018.