High school football | commentary

Baxter: Dutch Fork should rule return

April 13, 2014 

A WEEKEND OF college spring games got me interested in looking at Midlands preps teams and their focus in the spring.

Today, I want to look at Class 4A, Region IV.

Dutch Fork returns to the region, as Irmo flips to Region V. The Silver Foxes should be the team to beat in the Midlands, but will need to find a quarterback to replace three-year starter Derek Olenchuk, who led the team to two state title appearances.

Dutch Fork also has holes to fill on the defensive front and in places on the offensive line.

Spring Valley will compete for the region’s top spot, but are looking for a coach after Miles Aldridge left for Hough (N.C.) High. I believe a smooth transition would be promoting Robin Bacon, who has head coaching experience and was offensive coordinator under Aldridge.

Whoever it is, the Vikings’ new coach will need to find a quarterback, and fill large holes on defense at linebacker with the graduation of Christian Miller and Josh Harlan.

Blythewood will be looking for a replacement for Lynard Jamison, who was one of the more exciting offensive players in the Midlands. It also loses key players at linebacker and defensive back. Look for linebacker Hassan Belton and corner Dominique Lemon to step up as the leaders.

Westwood moves up from Class 3A to replace Richland Northeast, which moves down to 3A. The Redhawks have a talented roster that made the playoffs last season, and return a wealth talent.

Westwood’s offense will be led by quarterback Nick Leveretter and his top target, receiver Adonis Lee. The biggest hole on offense will be at running back with the graduation of Christian Brown.

On defense, coach Rodney Summers will need to find a noseguard for the 3-man front and a safety.

The Ridge View Blazers lost a lot of talent to graduation. They lose safety Daryl Shamlee and linebacker Javaris Mickle on defense. They have Dennis Daley to anchor the offensive fron,t but will need construction elsewhere in the trenches.

Coach Raymond Jennings’ team should be strong at linebacker with Malcolm Montgomery and Joshua Hill.

Coach Scott Jones’ Lugoff-Elgin Demons will count on Will Jones anchoring the offensive line, and Daniel Quattlebaum at receiver.

On defense holes are abundant, but the Demons return experienced sophomores Vincent Stevenson and linebacker Malek Lyles. Gunnar Catoe should contribute on both sides of the ball.

Early projection

Class 4A, Region IV

1. Dutch Fork

2. Spring Valley

3. Westwood

4. Blythewood

5. Ridgeview

6. Lugoff-Elgin

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