High School Sports

November 1, 2012

This week in Class 3A football Nov. 2

First round play begins for five Midlands teams. A.C. Flora, Chapin and Swansea rate home games, while Lower Richland and Gilbert hit the road.

A.C. Flora (9-1) vs. Pickens (5-5)

Site: Memorial Stadium.

Game notes: A.C. Flora advanced all the way to the Lower State game last season. The Region 4 champion Falcons’ quest to go even farther on the playoff trail begins at home this week Flora was an offensive machine during the regular season, averaging 44.3 points and 447.6 yards per game on the attack. The ground game is the Falcon calling card – 301.6 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry. Flora is blessed with enviable depth in the backfield with six regular runners averaging 5.3 yards or more per carry. The list includes quarterback Jake Lewis (123-651-11) along with Aven Pollard (66-710-16), Keith Goss (73-551-8), JuWan Simon (56-473-8), R.J. Joyner (42-275-3) and James Croffie (32-220-1). When the Falcons turn their attention to the air, Lewis is 76-for-118 passing for 1,409 yards and 11 touchdowns. Shelton Whittaker (23-701-7) and Schroder Carlton (22-297-4) are reliable and productive receivers. The Falcons defense allowed an average of 21.3 points and 326.7 yards per game during the regular season, but the unit came on strong in the last few weeks after allowing 51 points in a win over Camden in the first region game in Week 6. Since then, the coaching staff simplified the defensive approach to good effect. Over the final four games, the Falcons posted two shutouts and were hit for just 13 points and an average of 210 yards. Tyan Vereen (110 tackles, 10 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 8 QB pressures), Rion Davis (80 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, 3 interceptions), Goss (72 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 pressures, 2 fumble recoveries), Eli Collier (52 tackles), Tyrell Goodwin (43 tackles, 14 TFL, 3 sacks, 6 pressures) and Will Turman (32 tackles, 3 interceptions) are among the unit leaders Pickens has never been much of a force in the state playoffs. In fact, the Blue Flame postseason report card shows only six first-round wins in 26 tries since 1970.

Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.

Chapin (5-5) vs. Greenville (7-3)

Site: Cecil Woolbright Stadium.

Game notes: Chapin finished in second place in Region 4 to earn its first home playoff date since 2004. The Eagles enter the playoffs with a new look on offense with Barrett Charpia and Matt Charpia switching places. Matt’s now the quarterback with Barrett at receiver. The running game features Jacob Eddington and Robie Lopez. The Eagles defensive leaders include Greer Layne (92 tackles, 6 TFL), Nate Blakenship (90 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries), Chandler Engel (77 tackles) and Carter White (50 tackles, 3 interceptions) Greenville finished in a three-way tie for the Region 2 championship. The Red Raiders have a balanced attack featuring RB Jamond Thomason (171-946-11), quarterbacks Clark Scolamiero (65-for-144, 758 yards, 7 TDs) and Carson Spiers (64-for-101, 872 yards, 12 Ds and receivers Caleb Franklin (24-482-6), Najee Bowens (24-289-1) and Cam Wakefield (22-259-2).

Series history: the teams are meeting for the first time.

Swansea (9-1) vs. Orangeburg-Wilkinson (6-4)

Site: Doug Bennett Stadium.

Game notes: Orangeburg-Wilkinson had a good showing in its first season at the 3A level, posting an overall winning record and finishing in the black in region play for the first time in 12 years. The bruins standout on defense is North-South selection Jamarious Loynes, who has 62 tackles, five interceptions, 15 pass break-ups Swansea’s first year back in 3A produced nine wins in the regular season – the most since the undefeated, state championship season of 1993. The Tigers offensive leaders include running back Travis Loadholt (206-1246-10), quarterback Jordan Chavis (69-for-140, 1,191 yards, 15 TDs) and receivers Robbie Brown (34-679-8) and Byron Johnson (24-343-6). Johnson (60 tackles, 11 TFL, 4 sacks), Johnathan Sutton (59 tackles, 13 TFL), Terrance Salley (57 tackles, 18 TFL, 9 sacks, 2 interceptions), Randy Brown 49 tackles, 13 TFL, 6 sacks), Jacob Regalis (46 tackles, 19 TFL, 7 sacks) and Josh Livingston (33 tackles, 9 TFL, 7 sacks) are among the defensive stalwarts.

Series history: This is the first meeting of the teams.

Hanahan (9-1) vs. Gilbert (4-6)

Site: Wiley Knight Stadium.

Game notes: Hanahan posted its best regular season record in eight years in its first season back in Class 3A after 28 seasons on the 2A level. QB Anthony Smalls makes the Hawks go on offense. The North-South pick has combined for more than 2,200 yards running and passing. He’s thrown for 1,485 yards and 23 touchdowns to date. The top receiver is Mario Gates (1,102 yards, 13 TDs) and Octavious Hayes is the top running threat (1,003 yards, 12 TDs) Gilbert makes its 3A playoff debut. RB Omar Bethea and QB Mitch Spires are the Indian offensive headliners. Bedthea has 1,317 yards rushing on 215 carries and 20 touchdowns. Spires is 79-for-164 passing for 1,131 yards and four TDs to go along with 556 yards and nine scores by land. Chris Dyer (24-425-2) is the top receiver. Zach Their (102 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 interception) is the leader on the defensive side.

Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.

Blue Ridge (9-1) vs. Lower Richland (4-6)

Site: Blue Ridge Stadium.

Game notes: Lower Richland made the state playoff cut for the first time since 2008 in Darryl Page’s first season at the Diamond Hornets helm. Scoring the first playoff win since 1995 will be a challenge. LR is in for a long road trip to rural Greenville County against a team that is smarting from its first loss of the season. Blue Ridge saw its unbeaten record and an outright Region 2 championship vanish in a 35-7 loss to archrival Greer. In the end, the Tigers, Greer and Greenville shared the region title. Still, Blue Ridge, which faced a rebuilding project at the start of the season, has enjoyed its most successful season since 1989.

Series history: The teams are meeting for the first time.

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