Dreher vs. Lower Richland
Site: Memorial Stadium (Thursday).
Game notes: Dreher closed out the non-region slate at 5-0 and with a 35-20 win over C.A. Johnson. The Blue Devils continue to enjoy its best start since 1997 and are within reach of matching or topping the best single-season win count by the program since at least 1960 (8-3 in 1997). The quest for the first winning region record since 1998 begins this week in the first round of the Region 4-3A campaign Dreher utilizes three players at quarterback, depending on the situation. Hakim Frazier has 421 yards passing and four scoring throws and 356 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Howard Henderson had 179 yards passing and two scoring tosses. Tyrek Outler is employed in the Wildcat formation. Donovan Ward (73-434-2) and Keon Corbin (40-245-1) are productive in the running game. Outler has contributed 159 yards rushing, is the top receiver with 16 catches for 254 yards and has scored five touchdowns. Zaki Pickett (51 tackles), Andrew Goyins (45 tackles) and Keito Jordan (23 tackles, 5 TFL, 5.5 sacks) are among the leaders on defense Lower Richland, which had a bye last week, went 1-4 in on-region testing under new coach Darryl Page. The Diamond Hornets highlight was a 40-33 shootout win over 4A Richland Northeast.
Series history: This is one series Lower Richland has dominated through the years. In fact, the Diamond Hornets have won the last five meetings, including last season’s 21-20 decision, to increase its lead to 22-6 since 1970.
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Camden vs. A.C. Flora
Site: Zemp Stadium.
Game notes: A.C. Flora (4-1) is 4-0 against south Carolina foes and begins Region 4 play on the heals of a 63-35 win over Airport. The Falcons have been productive offensively in tune-ups – posting 1,261 yards rushing and 706 yards passing. Jake Lewis has taken over at quarterback with good results. The junior is 38-for-59 passing for 671 yards and five touchdowns, and also has 300 yards and six touchdown on the ground. The balanced running attack also features Aven Pollard (37-418-8), Keith Goss (38-191-2) and JuWan Simon (24-155-3). Lewis’ big-play receivers are Schroder Carlton (8-136-3) and Shelton Whittaker (10-255-2). Tyan Vereen (54 tackles, 7 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB pressures), Rion Davis (45 tackles, 2 interceptions) are two of Flora’s defensive specialists Camden (2-3) has bounced back nicely from a 0-3 start. The Bulldogs closed out non-region play with a 21-20 win over former region rival Lakewood – a decision that iced by a 69-yard kickoff return touchdown by Cedric Cook with 4:32 to go in the game and an inyerception by sophomore Darius Smith at the two-minute warning. QB Josh Council had 52 yards rushing and one TD and 53 yards passing with one scoring toss to Alexx Cooke.
Series history: ACF snapped a 13-game losing streak against the Bulldogs with a 17-0 win in the last meeting in 2007, but Camden still enjoys a commanding 16-4 since the first meeting in 1976.
Westwood vs. Chapin
Site: Westwood District 2 Stadium.
Game notes: Westwood (0-5) finally get back to competition on more equal footing after four straight games against Class 4A District 2 foes. The Redhawks enter their first Region 4 outing averaging 6.2 points and 178.6 yards per game, while allowing 37.4 points and 350.4 yards. Turnovers have been a big problem – 13 so far Chapin (1-4) closed the non-region phase of the season with a 24-21 loss to neighboring Mid-Carolina. Robie Lopez had a team high 97 yards rushing on 11 carries against the Rebels. Two of Matt Charpia’s three pass completions went for touchdowns. Nate Blakenship is Chapin’s top defender, leading in tackles (43) and defensive points (95).
Series history: It’s the first meeting of the teams.
Swansea vs. Airport
Site: Doug Bennett Stadium.
Game notes: Sixth-ranked Swansea (5-0) has won 12 of its last 13 games and returns to Class 3A region play with renewed optimism. The Tigers managed only three wins in 20 tries during their first stint in Region 5 (2006-09), but this is a new era of Swansea football. Travis Loadholt, Jordan Chavis and Robbie Brown were the offensive headliners during the tune-up phase of the campaign. Loadholt has rushed for 710 yards and seven touchdowns and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Chavis is 48-for-96 passing for 734 yards and 10 TDs. Brown is the top receiver with 18 receptions for 288 yards and four scores. Terrance Salley has 12 catches for 217 yards and five TDs. Kicker Arthur Myers is 20-for-23 in PATs and 4-for-5 in field goals. Swansea’s tough defense features Byron Johnson 31 tackles, 5 TFL, 4 sacks), Randy Brown (27.5 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks), Salley (27.5 tackles, 9 TFL, 7 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD), Jacob Regalis (22.5 tackles, 8 TFL, 4 sacks) and Josh Livingston (16 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks) Airport (3-2) is fresh from a humbling 63-35 loss to A.C. Flora and enters region play with more questions than answers. Sir Sutton has 253 yards rushing and 503 yards passing, but the Eagles most dangerous play maker is receiver/kick returner Anthony Stewart, who had four scoring catches and is averaging 17.0 yards per kickoff return and 25.7 yards per punt return. Dre Pettus, Alfred Parker and Rodney Smith share the team tackle lead with 36 stops apiece.
Series history: Airport beat Swansea three times in four tries during the Tigers’ initial stay in Region 5.
Midland Valley vs. Gilbert
Site: L.L. Willis Stadium.
Game notes: Gilbert makes it official Class 3A debut in this week’s Region 5 opener in Graniteville. The Indians finished with a 3-2 non-region record after dropping a tough 24-21 decision to Batesburg-Leesville last week. The go-to men on offense are RB Omar Bethea and QB Mitch Spires. Bethea had already run for 863 yards and 14 touchdowns on 123 carries. Spires is 47-for-95 passing for 737 yards and three TDs and had also run for 284 yards and two scores. Spries spreads the wealth around receivers Chris Dyer (14-302-2), Raymond Padgett (12-172-1) and Jalen Bright (11-126-1). Zach Their has been solid on defense with 53.5 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery Midland Valley (1-4) closed out a four-game losing streak with a 22-6 win over 1A Baptist Hill last week. Dre Carr powered thew Mustangs with 192 yards rushing and two TDs on 24 carries.
Series history: Not only is Friday’s game the first 3A region out for Gilbert, it is the Tribe’s first meeting with the Mustangs.
Brookland-Cayce vs. Strom Thurmond
Site: The Cage.
Game notes: Strom Thurmond’s return to Class 3A begins with a trip to face Brookland-Cayce. The Rebels are off to a typically fast start, winning four in a row after opening the season with a one-point loss to a nationally ranked prep school team from Maryland. ST closed non-region testing with a 42-14 rout of Silver Bluff. Darius Hammond ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries and quarterback Jauveer Hammond had 115 yards by air, 89 yards by land, two scoring runs and one scoring throw Brookland-Cayce (1-4) had a bye week to get ready for region play. The Bearcats have lost four in a row since opening the season with a 48-12 win over C.A. Johnson. QB Zeke Walker has thrown for 689 yards and three touchdowns to date.
Series history: Strom Thurmond went 8-4 against the Bearcats between 1996 and 2007 before moving down to Class 2A.