IT’S WEEK TWO of the high school football season and the games will gradually carry more weight from here on out. Here’s a look at the big tickets involving Top Ten teams from around the state.
1. Fort Mill at Dutch Fork: The Silver Foxes of Dutch Fork played hard but came up a PAT short in a one-point loss to St. Xavier (Ky.) last week. They need to flex their muscles to get their confidence back and get down to the business that counts — playing strong instate, focusing on the region crown and getting in good position for the playoffs. Fort Mill won last week, but the question is, was it a quality win?
Impact of game: This is a 4A matchup and every game counts toward earning points for seeding in the playoffs.
Players to watch: Dutch Fork quarterback Derrik Olenchuck is No. 8 on the scvarsity 2014 QB list and can be a key to this offense if he protects the football. Wide receivers Jordan Berry and Brigman German are targets for Olenchuk. Senior quarterback Rylan Wells and running back Tony Godbolt are the playmakers for Fort Mill. Offensive lineman Cooper Clegg is a four-year starter and an anchor for the offensive line.
Key matchup: Dutch Fork’s offense against the Jacket defense. Fort Mill shut down Lugoff-Elgin in the run and passing game, but the Silver Foxes are a different creature, and slowing them down will be a task.
2. Greenwood at Dorman: Was Dorman’s win against Rock Hill an illusion aided by a weak Bearcat team or are the Cavaliers really back? Greenwood would like to repeat last year’s win against the Cavs. .
Impact of game: For Dorman, a win against a 4A team that is sure to have a winning record is going to be more points for the playoff system. For Greenwood, this is all about building momentum as the Eagles attempt a make it back to the DII championship game.
Players to watch: Dorman quarterback Trey Robinson rushed for 116 yards and passed for 160 yards last week. Running back Shondrell Keenan needs to touch the ball more. Greenwood running back Octavious Morgan and quarterback Evin Sims are key components of an Eagle offense that can run or pass.
Key matchup: Eagles’ defense against the Dorman offense. Dorman ran the ball 39 out of 55 plays and averaged 6 yards per carry. Greenwood will need to slow down that run game to get its offense the touches it needs.
3. Wando at West Ashley: The lower state is not exactly the hotbed of powerhouse football for 4A, but these two are definitely in line to be the second best behind Goose Creek.
Impact of game: After a big win against Beaufort, Wando can cement its position in the Low-Country pecking order with a win against Ashley Ridge.
Players to watch: Wando quarterback Christian Hart completed 14 of 22 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns in 37-0 win against Beaufort in the season opener. Running back Romelo Doctor is the playmaker for West Ashley.
Key matchup: West Ashley pass defense against Wando’s offense. The Warriors had little run production in their win against Beaufort. They will need more balance.
OUTSIDE THE LINES
4A Top 10: North Augusta at Valdosta (Ga.) — The Yellow Jackets are 2-0 and taking on a team that is one of the winningest high school football programs in the country. The Jackets have gotten great play from a balanced offense, rotation of two good quarterbacks and a solid defense. Look for senior quarterback Cody Turner and running back Devonte Pressley to be keys to this game. If Pressley has another big night rushing the football, the Jackets could pull off an upset.
3A Top 10: A.C. Flora at North Gwinnett (Ga.) — The Falcons are flying high after two good wins and are taking on a traditionally tough North Gwinnett team. The Falcons will face a tough Bulldog defense anchored by Maryland commitment, linebacker Jalen Brooks. Offensively, North Gwinnett returns three starters and the Falcons defense needs to capitalize on that inexperience by forcing turnovers.
Baxter’s Blitz, which appears in The State on Mondays and Thursdays, is written by Jm Baxter, the owner of scvarsity.com. Read his previous columns on midlandspreps.com.