THIS WEEK’S BIG tickets around the state:
North Augusta at Lexington: Big battle in Region 5-4A. The North Augusta Yellow Jackets are playing good football, led by quarterback Cody Turner and running back Davonte Pressley. Lexington is on a two-game win streak after starting the season 0-4. The Wildcats will hit the Jackets with a balanced attack led by junior quarterback Will Hunter.
Spring Valley at Blythewood: The Vikings suffered their first loss last week against White Knoll and are anxious to get back to winning ways. Blythewood has been right there with the Vikings in consistency, and this game is huge for the Region 4-4A title race. The challenge will be the Bengals run game, led by Dean Beckford, against the fearsome front seven of the Vikings’ defense.
Ridge View at Irmo: Two teams that have shown improvement but continue to struggle, the Blazers and Yellow Jackets meet in a game high in importance to each for region standings. Neither has been consistent on offense and that will be the key to this game.
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Airport at Strom Thurmond: Airport will try to keep from going 0-2 in region play. The Rebels are unbeaten instate, and the duo of Javear and Darius Hammond at quarterback and running back have been a lethal combination for opponents.
Newberry at Abbeville: A game with huge region implications as two of the top teams in 2A collide. The Panthers of Abbeville are No. 1 and have played well since the return of sophomore quarterback Kelly Bryant. Newberry continues to pound the football successfully and this should be a physical game.
Belton-Honea Path at Daniel: The biggest matchup in the upstate as 3A No. 3 and No. 5 collide in a game that has region championship written all over it. The Bears of BHP have played lights-out on offense with a line anchored by junior Jordan Watson. Daniel is playing stronger defense than any other team in the state.
Crestwood at Hartsville: Two of the strongest lower state 3A teams match up for region play, as No. 2 ranked Hartsville hosts the 5-1 Crestwood Knights. This game will be over before any other game in the state with two teams who seldom put the ball in the air. The winner has to be considered the heavy favorite for the crown in the state’s toughest 3A region.
Darlington at Manning: Another Region 6-3A match up, the Falcons of Darlington are off to a great start and the Manning Monarchs appear to be as strong as they have ever been, including their championship 3A days in the early 2000s.
Lamar at Lewisville: Big game between ranked opponents who share a region. The Lions are 6-1, with their loss coming to 3A Chester, while the Lamar Silver Foxes are 4-2. Lions quarterback Laquavious Walls is the leader of the offense, which has produced 235 points in seven games.
Mauldin at Gaffney: With a sputtering offense, Gaffney (3-3) has elected to put wide receiver Shaquille Davidson at quarterback to give the Indians more versatility. The Gaffney offenseproduced 14 points per game in the past three games and is looking for a spark.
Socastee at Myrtle Beach: The top two teams in the coastal area collide in what should produce the eventual region champion. Socastee’s lethal ground attack is led by quarterback Hunter Renfrow, while the Seahawks prefer to move the ball through the air with quarterback Tyler Keane. The Seahawks have struggled on defense and that could be the difference in the game.
Spartanburg at Dorman: The rivalry has lost its luster with the diminishing success of the Vikings in recent years. A 4-2 Cavalier team could be one of the top three Big 16 teams in the upstate. Quarterback Trey Robinson is playing outstanding football, completing 70 percent of his passes.