Midland Valley an early favorite

08/20/2014 8:48 PM

08/20/2014 8:50 PM

The Region V-3A is going to be improved this year with several teams contending for the top spot. But Midland Valley is the favorite heading into week zero of the 2014 season.

The Mustangs return almost everyone from a solid lineup in 2013, including one of the region’s top offensive stars in quarterback Daniel Carr, who will be throwing to Division I wide receiver prospect Kameron Brown.

Brookland-Cayce has looked good in preseason but has sputtered on offense. They have a solid lineup in the trenches, anchored up front by senior tackle Del Wilkes. Defensively, they should be stronger but the success of this team will be dependent on the quarterback.

Airport looks to be improved from the past two seasons. Senior K.D. Jackson returns at quarterback and has split time with junior Josh Tucker and sophomore Brett Burnett in the preseason. All three quarterbacks have different strengths and give the Eagles diversity at the position.

Aiken drops down from Class 4A and will need to fill the void created by the graduation of their top two players last year. But they have an athletic quarterback and appear to have found a replacement at running back to give them a scoring threat.

Swansea watched its season unravel last season with injuries. But they return experience at quarterback, and they have senior linebacker Jonathan Sutton back. They lost talented skills players to graduation and whether they will use Sutton on both sides of the ball this season remains to be seen.

Gilbert returns the top running back in the region in Dekayus Leaphart and they’ve filled the quarterback spot nicely with Nick Hendricks, who has seen a lot of playing time in the past two seasons in a backup role. They are big up front.

Preseason Region Player Of The Year: Daniel Carr, QB, Midland Valley. Carr is a big-time play maker.

Preseason Sleeper Player Of The Year: Jonathon Earl, RB, Airport. Earl, a powerful athlete, will take over running duties for the Eagles and could play defense as well.

Toughest Schedule: Midland Valley takes on 4A power North Augusta in its opener, follows with 4A South Aiken before taking on 2A powerhouses Strom Thurmond and Silver Bluff. Brookland-Cayce has a tough on taking on 2A-DII champion Batesburg-Leesville and 2A-DI state runner-up Fairfield Central.

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