Batesburg-Leesville vs. Abbeville
Site: Panther Stadium.
Game notes: Two-time Class 1A Division I champion Abbeville, officially returns to the 2A ranks with its Region 2 opener at Batesburg Leesville. The A Panthers (4-1) closed out non-region testing with an impressive 24-22 win over 3A Clinton. Sophomore quarterback Kelly Bryant made the most of his first playing time this season – running for 126 yards and passing for 48 more. Bryant, a starter as a freshman, had been on the shelf since suffering a shoulder injury at a jamboree in August. Fullback C.J. Martin also had a big effort against Clinton with 139 yards on 20 totes Batesburg-Leesville (3-2) nipped Gilbert, 24-21, in its final non-region outing. Quarterback Jac’Quiel Chandler led the way – running for 105 yards and passing for 80. Chandler’s 27-yard scoring run in the third quarter put B-L in the lead for good and his short scoring toss to Austin Coleman in the fourth quarter was the clincher.
Series history: Friday marks the first region meeting of the teams since 2003, and the first confrontation of any sort since Abbeville dealt B-L a 37-26 exit visa in the third round of the 2009 Class 2A state playoffs. Batesburg-Leesville leads the series by a 19-11 margin in the modern era, but Abbeville has won three in a row and six of the last eight contests.
Columbia vs. Fairfield Central
Site: Memorial Stadium.
Game notes: Columbia opens Region 3-2A action in the wake of a bye week and a 1-4 showing in non-region outings. The Capitals haven’t started this poorly since 2000 when they finished 1-9. QB Anthony Brown, RB Quinten McMillian and WR Diante Petruso are Columbia’s most productive offensive men so far, while Sharquise Cooks and Gerald Snooks are among the defensive leaders Fairfield Central (3-2) had a demanding non-region schedule to ge ready for its first-ever region campaign at the 2A level. The Griffins final tune-up produced a 42-6 blowout against Cheraw.
Series history: Fairfield Central swept two games with Columbia in its first two varsity seasons, but the teams have not met since 1987.
Eau Claire vs. Pelion
Site: Bolden Stadium.
Game notes: Both teams enter the Region 3 opener with 1-4 records and wins over C.A. Johnson Pelion’s main problems have been on defense. The Panthers are allowing an average of 43 points a game. Offensively, Pelion has some punch with quarterback Zach Hawkins, receivers Freddie Phillips and Terry Davis and running backs Isaiah Jenkins and Carlton Richard making solid contributions EC, which has won only one of its last 17 games, has scored just 18 points total in its four losses this season, and has been dealt back-to-back shutout losses in its last two outings. Last week, the Shamrock were thumped 49-0 by Lewisville. EC’s defense surrendered 422 yards, while the Shamrock attack counted with only 105. Michael Driggs’ 39 rushing yards was the highlight.
Series history: Pelion swept Eau Claire in the first two meetings (2008-09). Friday’s game marks the first-ever region clash of the schools.
North Central vs. Keenan
Site: North Central Stadium.
Game notes: Keenan (3-2) closed out non-region testing on a down note two weeks ago – a 65-0 loss to York. The Raiders hope a bye week clears the air as they get ready for the Region 3-2A against the Knights in Boonetown North Central (3-2) returns to 2A this season after six seasons at the small-school level. The switch in the base of operations is even more significant because the move places the Knights in a Midlands-based region for the first time. Last week, NC suffered a 42-6 loss to inter-county rival Andrew Jackson. RB Tristan McCathern, who started the season as a backup quarterback, has emerged as the Knights go-to man.
Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.
Great Falls vs. C.A. Johnson
Site: Pride Valley.
Game notes: C.A. Johnson fell to 0-6 this season with a 35-20 loss to Dreher. It was the ninth straight loss for the Green Hornets, dating back to last season. QB Mike Knox had 63 yards rushing and 122 yards passing with two touchdown throws. Peter Goodman had one scoring catch and also had a kickoff return touchdown. Tarik Pryor is CAJ’s season tackle leader with 62 confirmed stops Great Falls fell to 2-4 in the wake of a mistake-filled 27-7 loss to Buford. The Red Devils had 85 yards in penalties and turned the ball over four times.
Series history: Great Falls is 2-0 against CAJ since the Green Hornet joined Region 3-A in 2010.