THIS WEEK’S BIG tickets don’t have the punch of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 like last week, but there are still huge games with big-impact potential:
1. DUTCH FORK
The No. 8 Silver Foxes will take their 2-1 record on the road to face off with the Dorman Cavaliers (2-1).
Impact: This game will probably be worth 4.5 points to the winner, as each is a DI school and each should finish with a winning record.
Players to Watch: Dutch Fork quarterback Derek Olenchuk threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the win against Rock Hill last week. He will be instrumental to the Foxes’ success. Linebacker Stephen Davis Jr. will cast a menacing memory for the Dorman faithful who remember his father’s prowess against the Cavaliers. Dorman quarterback Trey Robinson is the key cog in the Cavalier offense.
Key matchup: How well can the Dutch Fork defense defend the Cavaliers’ balanced offense? QB Trey Robinson can hurt them with his passing abilities or his running; the Foxes’ defense proved last week it is suspect to a strong passing attack and to versatile quarterbacks.
AT ASHLEY RIDGE
The No. 10 Stratford Knights (3-0) will take on underachieving Ashley Ridge (1-2), which ran away from West Ashley last week for its first win.
Impact: The Swamp Foxes have been picked as the favorites in their region, but struggled with two top-10 teams in their first two weeks of play. A win over a ranked Stratford team would go a long way in getting the momentum built up heading into region play.
Players to watch: SCVarsity.com’s top-ranked quarterback, Jacob Park, will be the leader of the Knights’ offense. Ashley Ridge running backs Romello Doctor and Vernon Moree comprise the best set of running backs in the state.
Key matchup: Stratford’s defense will need to step up big against the run if they are going to move to 4-0. Between Doctor, Moree, and quarterback Jacob Thompson, Ashley Ridge will bring the strongest run attack that Stratford has seen.
AROUND THE STATE
Lexington at Irmo: For the first time, these two teams meet in the Battle of the Dam with winless records.
Marlboro County at Conway: For many years, this Backyard Brawl was one of the state’s top tickets. Now, Conway is trying to avoid its fourth consecutive loss.
Rock Hill at Boiling Springs: This will be a battle showcasing two good offenses led by two outstanding quarterbacks — Josh Erby for Rock Hill and Daniel Thompson of Boiling Springs.
Lower Richland at Airport: The Diamond Hornets got their first win under Darryl Page last week against Richland Northeast and the Eagles are coming off a shutout loss at the hands of White Knoll two weeks ago.
Camden at Lugoff-Elgin: The battle of Kershaw County has lost some luster, but the atmosphere will be electric with each looking for its first win.