Baxter’s Blitz

Baxter answers readers’ questions

scvarsity@ sc.rr.comSeptember 11, 2013 

Brookland-Cayce's Zeke Walker breaks through the arms of Panther defender Mike Smith,8, Friday night.

VAN HOPE — photo@thestate.com Buy Photo

Jim Baxter answers selected questions from Twitter followers

How far can Brookland-Cayce go this season?

The Bearcats are clearly an improved team, maybe the most improved in the Midlands area.

Coach Rusty Charpia has done a good job of redirecting the focus and the attitude of the players within the program in two years.

The new “pistol” offense utilizes the running back depth by spreading the defense. They can be a threat for Strom Thurmond and the region crown, but it is going to depend on three things:

First, Brookland-Cayce needs to get better and more threatening at wide receiver. Those two at the “X” and “Z” spots need to become go-to, playmaker type of players.

Second, Brookland-Cayce needs to get better on defense, especially against the pass and the big play.

Finally, they need to remain healthy. This is a program in the early stage of construction — not rebuild, but full construction. They do not have the depth to afford injuries.

Can Spring Valley make it to the state championship?

This is a good team. It has the ingredients to win the Region 5 title, as well as be a staunch opponent in the playoffs. As for making it to the state championship, it is too early to tell, especially with the lack of tests on their schedule.

Spring Valley’s offense can frustrate opponents. It has the ability to control the tempo, and that will be crucial against teams such as Byrnes and Northwestern. Their success and production are predicated upon running a high volume of plays.

The Viking’s offense has the ability to do that.

Defensively, they appear to be stronger than last year. They have the potential to make it far in the playoffs if they play mistake-free football — no turnovers on offense, and don’t give up big plays on defense. As long as they can play teams and keep from having to “catch up” or “trade touchdowns” with explosive offenses, they can win any game.

Who is the best high school player in the Midlands?

That is a tricky question. There is a difference between “player” and “prospect.” The other thing is, it is difficult to compare players in different positions.

I’m going to give you four players; an offensive skill player, an offensive lineman, a defensive skill player, and a defensive lineman.

As for offensive skill players, I believe the player showing me the most is Spring Valley running back John Miller, with eight touchdowns in two weeks.

As for offensive linemen, I like White Knoll’s Christian Taylor as a big, strong, offensive tackle.

The defensive skill player has to be Christian Miller of Spring Valley, who has appeared to be unblockable in the first two games.

The defensive line is a tough call but I’m going with Fairfield Central’s Chanti Jones right now.

Tweet your questions to Jim Baxter on Twitter @scvarsity

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