Strom Thurmond vs. Columbia
Site: . Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game notes: Though this is the first game of the Region 3-2A campaign for both teams, the region title may ultimately be decided Friday in Edgefield County Columbia fell from fifth to eighth in the latest Class 2A rankings after suffering a tough, 14-13 loss to Wade Hamption in Greenville in last week’s final non-conference outing. QB Ky Tyler was needed for defensive duty at linebacker, and responded with 11 tackles, including one TFL and one sack, and one forced fumble. DB Natrone Derrick had five tackles and an interception and returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. On offense, Tyler is 61-for-120 passing for 1,097 yards and 13 touchdowns, and also has 317 yards rushing and nine TDs No. 2 Strom Thurmond is 5-0 and fresh from a 52-7 thrashing of Silver Bluff. The potent Rebels attack features running backs Darius Hammond (52-439-7) and Malcolm Watkins (50-401-7) and QB Raleigh Yeldell (31-for-512 passing, 588 yards, 4 TDs).
Series history: Columbia was an 18-13 winner in the first regular season meeting of the teams since 1991. Strom Thurmond, however, has a commanding 10-2 lead against the Capitals
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Keenan vs. Eau Claire
Site: Bolden Stadium. Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game notes: Keenan enters the Region 3-2A opener with a 2-3 record. RB Daetron Hyman (71-403-7) QB Titus Hopkins and WR Matrick Belton (19-363-1) are the Raiders offensive leaders. Tyler George and Jeremy Austin shared the team tackle lead with 47 stops apiece The Shamrocks are 0-5 and allowing an average of 44 points a game.
Series history: Eau Claire ended a three-game losing skid against the Raiders with a 35-6 win last season, but Keenan still rules the series by a significant 23-10 margin.
Batesburg-Leesville vs. Gilbert
Site: Panther Stadium. Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game notes: Batesburg-Leesville is 0-5 this season caught in a seven-game losing streak, but there is hope for recovery in Region 3-2A play. Gilbert (1-4) is coming off a 35-0 loss to Swansea
Series history: B-L has prevailed 23 times in 25 tries against the Indians since the series inaugural in 1988.
Swansea vs. Silver Bluff
Site: Doug Bennett Stadium. Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game notes: Swansea enters Region 5-2A with a 3-2 record and fresh from a 32-0 win over Gilbert. Travis Loadholt (404 yards rushing, 8 touchdowns) is the Tigers offensive leader Silver Bluff is also 3-2, but has lost two in a row while scoring only seven points.
Series history: Silver Bluff has won seven in a row against the Tigers to take a 15-9 lead in the series. The Bulldogs scored a 28-10 win last year in the first meeting of the teams since 2003. Swansea’s last positive outcome was in the third round of the 1997 state playoffs.
Pelion vs. Edisto
Site: Pelion Stadium. Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game notes: Pelion begins Region 5-2A play with a 2-3 after sitting out Week 5 with a bye. Jamar Pontoon is the Panthers go-to guy. The senior running back has 658 yards rushing and five touchdown runs on 92 carries Edisto went 2-3 in non-region testing and is coming off a 34-13 win over Battery Creek.
Series history: Pelion ended a five game losing skid last year in a 21-7 win, but it was just the second success for the Panthers in nine tries against the Cougars from Orangeburg County.