My big-ticket games this week:
1. GOOSE CREEK AT DUTCH FORK
An unbeaten, though untested, defending Division II 4A state champion will take on a rising Dutch Fork team.
Impact: This game is probably more important in playoff implications to Dutch Fork than to Goose Creek because of the Foxes’ two losses.
Players to watch: Goose Creek has SCVarsity.com’s top player, Tramel Terry, along with the state’s top running back, Caleb Kinlaw. Dutch Fork wide receiver Jordan Berry is a big-play guy.
Keys to the game: Dutch Fork quarterback Derek Olenchuk needs to move the ball around more because teams are keying on Berry. The Foxes must score quickly and frequently because they will not be able stop the Gators’ offense.
2. A.C. FLORA AT AIRPORT
These two are in different regions this season, but bragging rights are a point of emphasis.
Impact: Last season, the Falcons picked the Eagles apart, 48-24, and unseated the Eagles as the Midlands’ gold standard of 3A.
Players to watch: A.C. Flora quarterback Jake Lewis has proven effective in leading the offense. Sophomore defensive back Rion Davis is rising to be one of SCVarsity.com’s top players for the 2015 class. Airport quarterback Sir Sutton will lead the Eagles offense.
Keys to the game: The Falcons need to shut down the zone read ground game and force the Eagles to throw.
3. SOUTH POINTE AT FORT MILL
How odd does it seem to be talking about a big-ticket game with Fort Mill? This game has huge region implications. The Yellow Jackets (4-1) remember last season’s three-point loss to the Stallions, who went on to win the 3A state title.
Impact: Each team will end the season with a winning record, so their point value is increased for the victor’s playoff tally.
Players to watch: South Pointe quarterback Devin Pearson makes the Stallions’ offense run. Fort Mill quarterback Ryan Wells has been successful behind a veteran offensive line.
Keys to the game: South Pointe’s speed on defense will make it difficult for the Jackets to stretch the field or get to the edge.
Boiling Springs at Byrnes: The Bulldogs take their physical game to Duncan to take on the state’s best football team.
Dorman at Gaffney: Another huge 4A matchup with playoff and region implications. The Cavaliers are on the rise; the Indians are struggling.
Newbery at Union County: Big rivalry with two of the top teams from their classifciations.
Chesterfield at Lamar: The Rams of Chesterfield have a chance at making a run in the 2A Division II, but the 1A Foxes will give them a big test.
Williston-Elko at Wagener-Salley: The Blue Devils have stumbled this season. This game with a rising War Eagle team is huge for the 1A standings.