Swansea (7-0, 2-0 Region 5-3A) vs. Strom Thurmond (6-1, 2-0)
Site: Doug Bennett Stadium.
Game notes: It’s the game of the week in 3A – No. 3 Swansea vs. No. 6 Strom Thurmond. The Tigers one of the four undefeated teams left in 3A, one of the 15 in all four of the SCHSL classifications. Swansea ranks No. 1 in scoring defense in the state, allowing just 39 points to date (5.6 points per game) and has posted three shutouts. Strom Thurmond leads the region in scoring offense (316 points, 45.1 ppg) and is fifth in 3A. On the other hand, Swansea is more than potent on offense (244 points, 34.8 ppg) and Strom Thurmond is rather penurious itself on defense (93 points allowed, 13.3 ppg) Swansea rolled to a 41-0 win over Midland Valley a week ago. It was the seventh straight win this season for the Tigers and the 13 in the team’s last 14 games. The passing combo of Jordan Chavis and Robbie brown continued to work its magic. Chavis was 9-for-14 passing for 217 yards and four touchdowns. Brown had four catches for 124 yards and two scores. For the season, Chavis is 63-for-118 for 1,114 yards and 15 TDs, while Brown has 27 grabs for 566 yards and seven tallies. The go-to man in the ground game is Travis Loadholt, who has 860 yards and seven touchdowns on the books. But the Swansea defense, led by Shrine Bowl pick Byron Johnson (43 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks) will have its hands full against the explosive Rebels. Johnson will need plenty of support from teammates Terrance Salley (41.5 tackles, 15 TFL, 7 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery), Johnathan Sutton (38.5 tackles, 9 TFL, 8 sacks), Randy Brown (35.5 tackles, 10 TFL, 4 sacks), Jacob Regalis (33.5 tackles, 14 TFL, 5 sacks) and Josh Livingston (22 tackles, 8 TFL, 6 sacks) Strom Thurmond’s only loss was to an out-of-state national power – Eastern Christian Academy (Maryland). The Rebels are quite balanced and productive offensively with senior running back Darius Hammond, a Shrine Bowl selection, in the forefront. Hammond has 629 yards rushing and 12 scoring runs and is averaging 104.8 yards a game and 8.6 yards. He also has 10 catches for 171 yards and one TD. Quarterback Jauveer Hammond is excelling in his first season as the varsity starter. He is 53-for-84 passing for 853 yards and 10 touchdowns and has 451 yards and seven TDs by land. The top receiver is Tykim Brooks, who has 31 catches for 492 yards and five scores. Kenyatta Dunbar (45 tackles), Aaron Cook (45 tackles) and Hykeem Brooks (25 tackles, 3 interceptions).
Series history: Strom Thurmond has won three of four encounters with the Tigers, most recently a 42-0 romp in 2007 during Swansea’s initial stay in Class 3A.
Chapin (2-5, 1-1 Region 4-3A) vs. Lower Richland (3-4, 2-0)
Site: Cecil Woolbright Stadium.
Game notes: Lower Richland rallied from a 20-14 halftime deficit to host Camden to treat an overflow homecoming crowd to a festive victory. The Diamond Hornets scored 30 unanswered points after the break to bag a 44-20 win and keep pace with A.C. Flora atop the region standings.LR needs one more win to assured itself of a winning region record for the first time in 20 years. One play late in the third quarter turned it all around. Facing a fourth down-and-7 situation at the Camden 35-yard line, quarterback Marcus Edmond broke a couple of tackles in the backfield and dashed 31 yards to set up the go-ahead – a 2-yard run by Edmond. The senior who is a North Carolina State commitment, set up the scoring march with an interception. In the fourth quarter, two touchdown runs by Thomas Minder and an interception return score by Almondo Brown turned the close game into a rout. Brown had two interceptions in the final frame, one set up a scoring drive, while the other was turned directly into six points. LR was the generous team in the first half with three turnovers of its own. Edmond finished with 120 yards rushing and 90 passing Chapin is looking to get going offensively after suffering its second whitewashing of the season last week – 34-0 by A.C. Flora.
Series history: Lower Richland swept its only two previous games against the Eagles (2008-09).
A.C. Flora (6-1, 2-0 Region 4-3A) vs. Westwood (0-7, 0-2)
Site: Memorial Stadium.
Game notes: A.C. Flora continues to pour it on offensively. The Falcons whipped Chapin 34-0 to remain unbeaten against South Carolina opposition this season. Jake Lewis is the trigger man offensively. The junior quarterback is 54-for-80 passing for 961 yards and eight touchdowns with just one interception, and he also leads the team in rushing with 491 yards and nine scores on 98 carries. Aven Pollard (41-435-8), Keith Goss (51-367-6), JuWan Simon (41-353-7) and James Croffie (30-204-1) are the other regular ground contributors. Shelton Whittaker (18-465-5) and Schroder Carlton (14-205-3) are Lewis’ favorite targets in the passing game. Defensively, Tyan Vereen (71 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 6 QB hurries), Rion Davis (58 tackles, 3 interceptions, 8 PBU), Goss (44 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries) and Tyrell Goodwin (28 tackles, 10. 5 TFL, 3 sacks) have all played well First-year Westwood has been very competitive in region losses to Chapin (28-13) and Dreher (29-22), but now the Redhawks are facing the prospect of an 0-10 report. The passing game has supplied most of the offensive highlights. QB Davis King is 97-for-181 for 860 yards and four touchdowns. Vyncint Smith and Adonus Lee have emerged as reliable receivers. Smith has 33 catches for 346 yards and three TDs, while Lee has hauled in 23 throws for 314 yards and two scores.
Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.
Camden (2-5, 0-2 Region 4-3A) vs. Dreher (6-1, 1-1)
Site: Zemp Stadium.
Game notes: Camden let a 20-14 lead well into the third quarter slip away last week in a 44-20 loss at Lower Richland. The Bulldogs are next-to-last in scoring defense in 3A, allowed 323 points (an average of 46.1 points per game). The next score of any kind will set a new single-season school record for points allowed. QB Josh Council was 15-for-36 passing for 186 yards and also had 55 yards rushing Dreher is coming off a 29-22 win over first-year Westwood. Hakim Frazier was 9-for-19 passing for 214 yards and three touchdowns and accounted for the Blue Devils’ other TD with a 3-yard run. Donovan Ward and two catches – both netting touchdowns. Bradford Lemmons netted 103 yards and one TD on his two receptions. The bad news was Dreher running game struggled again – producing just 89 yards on 27 attempts. Keenan Leonard had a big game on defense with 15 tackles. Keito Jordan chipped in with seven tackles and one sack. Kwashon Drayton had the only takeaway in the game – an interception.
Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time since 2007. Dreher has managed only two wins in 15 tries against the Bulldogs.
Airport (3-4, 0-2 Region 5-3A) vs. Gilbert (3-4, 1-1)
Site: Eagle Stadium.
Game notes: Airport has lost three in a row, including two to region powerhouses Swansea and Strom Thurmond. The Eagles need to get down to business to make the state playoff cut. Airport’s season offensive leaders are quarterback Sir Sutton and receiver/kick returner Anthony Stewart. Sutton leads the team is rushing (269 yards, 3 TDs) and passing (540 yards, 4 TDs). Stewart has 16 catches for 289 yards and four scores and 238 yards and one TD on special teams. He also has three interceptions on defense. Rodney Smith (55 tackles, 4 sacks) and Dre Pettus (52 tackles) lead the hit parade on defense Gilbert thumped Brookland-Cayce 49-13 for its first-ever 3A region win. Omar Bethea headlined the historic occasion with 167 yards rushing and three touchdown runs. Bethea now has 1,149 yards and 18 TDs on 174 carries. Linemen Davis Farmer (95%, 4 knockdowns) and Gage Smith (94%, 5 knockdowns) graded out well up front. Mark Grieco and Zach Their were the Indians’ defensive stars. Grieco finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception return touchdown. Their had 18 total tackles and one interception.
Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.
Brookland-Cayce (1-6, 0-2 Region 5-3A) vs. Midland Valley (2-5, 1-1)
Game notes: Brookland-Cayce has lost six in a row since opening the season with success against C.A. Johnson. The Bearcats have been out-scored by a combined margin of 105 points to 23 in their first two region outings and making the state playoff is becoming very much a long-shot proposition Midland Valley took a 41-0 loss at the hands of unbeaten Swansea last week, but can pretty much lock down a postseason spot with a win.
Series history: B-C snapped a four-game losing streak to the Mustangs with a 28-7 win last season. Midland Valley enjoys a 20-12 series lead.