October 11, 2013

Five Midlands high school games to watch

With everyone in league play, Week 7 lends to matchups that will impact the postseason:

BLYTHEWOOD (4-2) AT SPRING VALLEY (6-0) The Bengals enter their league-opener on a four-game win streak. After Spring Valley had sloppy games against lesser competition, it played closer to its potential in a 41-21 win over then-unbeaten White Knoll. The Vikings are the favorite to win the region and could be a state-title contender with a good defense and an offense led by running back John Miller. Spring Valley quarterback Chris Adams had his best passing game against White Knoll, going 6-of-7 for over 100 yards and a touchdown. This neighboring-town rivalry could be close, but the Vikings are the favorite.

WESTWOOD (2-4) AT DREHER (5-1) The Redhawks have made significant strides in their second season playing football, knocking off Ridge View two weeks ago and doubling their 2012 wins. Dreher has gotten off to one of the best starts in the Midlands, but the Blue Devils narrowly beat Lower Richland, 22-21, last week in the league opener. Dreher beat Westwood by a touchdown last season, and while the Redhawks could make it interesting, the result should be the same this time around.

LEXINGTON (4-1) AT NORTH AUGUSTA (6-0) The Wildcats have had an impressive first half of the season under new coach Josh Stepp. They’ve eclipsed their win total from last season with the help of senior quarterback Will Hunter, and they have only lost to a ranked and undefeated Spring Valley team. Playing North Augusta on the road will be Lexington’s toughest test yet, as the Yellow Jackets are coming off a bye week and are hoping to take advantage of Dutch Fork’s loss to Irmo in their quest to win the region.

GILBERT (3-3) AT BROOKLAND-CAYCE (5-1) After suffering their first loss last week in a game that likely decided the region winner, the Bearcats will have a chance to rebound against an up-and-down Gilbert team. The Indians turned a three-game winning streak into a two-game losing streak, dropping the league opener to Midland Valley in a 28-25 loss. With this game at home, the Bearcats are expected to get back on the winning track they were on before playing Strom Thurmond.

STROM THURMOND (5-1) AT AIRPORT (1-5) The Rebels reasserted themselves as the region favorites last week with a 42-13 win over then-undefeated Brookland-Cayce. After nine consecutive years of making the playoffs before last season’s 4-6 campaign, Airport has struggled. Strom Thurmond’s biggest challenges left in league play are possible upsets from Midland Valley or Swansea. But the Rebels are favorites against Airport. Isabelle Khurshudyan

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