High School Football

High school playoff preview: What do we need to know about our area team’s opponents?

Come Friday night, high school football teams within The Herald’s coverage area will be put in the spotlight.

Clover, South Pointe, Rock Hill and Chester host, and Lewisville, Great Falls, Indian Land, Lancaster, York and Nation Ford travel in the first round of the 2019 high school football state playoffs.

Here’s what you need to know about each matchup.

Boiling Springs at Clover

Clover (10-0, 5-0) is coming off two big wins — one against Catawba Ridge, 63-14; and one against Fort Mill, 45-10 — to end the season after clinching the region and homefield advantage in the playoffs against Rock Hill three weeks ago.

Boiling Springs scouting report

RECORD: 4-6, 3-4

KEY PLAYER(S): Jalen Dodd (junior quarterback); Cameron Mills (junior; leads team in rushes).

HOW THE BLUE EAGLES MATCH UP: In Boiling Springs’ final contest of the season, the team was shut out, 28-0, by Byrnes. Per the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Bulldogs gained close to 10 yards of offense in the first half — which bodes particularly well for a Clover offense that has started fast all season.

Greer at South Pointe

South Pointe (10-0, 5-0) is coming off a convincing win against York last week, 48-21. York is also a playoff team.

Greer scouting report

RECORD: 3-7, 2-3 region

KEY PLAYER(S): Hollis Crosby (sophomore quarterback, broke off a 50-yard touchdown last week); Isaiah Foster (senior wide receiver, deep threat).

HOW THE STALLIONS MATCH UP: Greer needed its 28-7 win over Blue Ridge last week to make the playoffs. The team seems to use its quarterback a lot, rushing and passing. The teams that have moved the ball best against South Pointe have relied on the run.

Gaffney at Rock Hill

Rock Hill (7-3, 3-1) is coming off a down-to-the-wire win over Northwestern, 21-14, where it caused three turnovers.

Gaffney scouting report

RECORD: 7-3, 5-2

KEY PLAYER(S): Undre Lindsey (quarterback); JeMari Littlejohn (receiver; caught three touchdown passes last week).

HOW THE BEARCATS MATCH UP: In its last contest of the 2019 regular season, Gaffney scored 28 points off of turnovers. The Bearcats, on top of protecting the ball, will want a big performance from its special teams, including 5A, 4A special teams player of the year, Tylik Edwards.

Nation Ford at Byrnes

After losing its final region game two weeks ago to Rock Hill, Nation Ford (6-4, 2-2) is coming off a 36-29 win over Chapin.

Byrnes scouting report

RECORD: 9-1, 6-1

KEY PLAYER(S): Lawrence Scott (senior quarterback in pass-heavy offense); Nazeviah Burris (junior wide receiver).

HOW THE FALCONS MATCH UP: Byrnes’ offensive and defensive lines greatly outsize Nation Ford’s, which may spell trouble for the Falcons’ run-first offense.

York at Belton-Honea Path

York (4-6, 2-3) dropped its last regular season game against South Pointe, but it won the two “must-win” games prior to that to earn a playoff berth.

Belton-Honea Path scouting report

RECORD: 6-3, 3-2

KEY PLAYER(S): Jeremiah Johnson (ATH); Will Blackston (Shrine Bowl tight end, also plays on line); R.J. Ellis (bruising running back, focal point of offense).

HOW THE COUGARS MATCH UP: York has been playing its last few games as if they were playoff games, head coach Dean Boyd said after its win over Richland Northeast. And it’s been working. The team will need to have the same sense of urgency, and play bigger than it is, against Belton-Honea Path.

Lancaster at Daniel

Lancaster (2-8, 1-4) ended its season losing its last four games, including last week to Ridge View, 35-9.

Daniel scouting report

RECORD: 9-0, 5-0

KEY PLAYER(S): Tyler Venables (senior quarterback, won his area’s offensive player of the week award last week).

HOW THE BRUINS MATCH UP: Daniel is a powerhouse: in tradition, in team and in numbers. Lancaster’s downfall all season has been its lack of numbers, as it has fallen off against teams in the second half of games several times.

Newberry at Chester

Chester (8-2, 3-1) had a week of rest last week. The Cyclones defeated Fairfield Central in the last game they played.

Newberry scouting report

RECORD: 6-4, 3-2

KEY PLAYERS: Ahmorae Wilmore (bruising running back that also plays linebacker).

HOW THE CYCLONES MATCH UP: Chester and Newberry each have most of its players play both sides of the ball, and on paper, they’re quite similar. That said, Chester is a different team with sophomore quarterback Zan Dunham, who returned against Fairfield Chester after being sidelined for a few weeks in the middle of the regular season.

Indian Land at Woodruff

Indian Land (5-6, 2-2) is coming off a win over Fairfield Central, 28-14, last week.

Woodruff scouting report

RECORD: 7-3, 4-1

KEY PLAYERS: B.J. Bailey (senior quarterback).

HOW THE WARRIORS MATCH UP: In its most recent contest, Woodruff forced three interceptions. The Warriors, in its wins, are accustomed to winning the turnover battle, particularly with the help of defensive back A.J. Jefferson, who has been surging as of late.

Lewisville at Abbeville

Lewisville (4-6, 2-4) won its last two games in a row — two games it had to win to secure a playoff berth — with 19 players one week and 21 the next. The Lions are getting hot at the right time.

Abbeville scouting report

RECORD: 10-0, 5-0

KEY PLAYERS: Ja’bryan Sanders (running back); Jordan Moore (mobile quarterback).

HOW THE LIONS MATCH UP: Despite how much the Lions are rolling, Abbeville appears to be its same, dominant self it is year after year. Abbeville will win the battle in number of players on its team — so Friday’s question becomes: Can this Demetric Hardin-led team overachieve once again?

Great Falls at Ridge Spring-Monetta

Great Falls (5-4, 1-2), like its rival in Lewisville, also needed to win its last game to make the playoffs. For the seniors on this team, this is their first experience playing in the postseason.

Ridge Spring-Monetta scouting report

RECORD: 6-4, 5-2

KEY PLAYERS: Tray Dean (defensive lineman); Collier Sullivan (running back but plays both sides of the ball).

HOW THE RED DEVILS MATCH UP: Ridge Spring-Monetta dresses about double the amount of players as the Red Devils do, per its Max Preps roster. Like he has been all season, Great Falls running back D.J. Adams will likely be asked to do a lot on Friday night to counteract this disadvantage.

Alex Zietlow covers sports for The Herald, where he has been an editor and reporter since August 2019. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2019 and was a summer sports intern for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., prior to coming to Rock Hill.
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