With the first high school football games of 2017 less than two weeks away, here are 10 must-see games in the Midlands this season:
University Christian (Fla.) at Ben Lippen
Defending SCISA 3A champion gets a big test in its opener from the two-time defending Class 2A champs from Jacksonville, Fla. The Ben Lippen offense features QB Trad Beatty and WR Kyle Wright.
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Ridge View at Blythewood
Coach Perry Parks’ Blazers snapped a 12-game losing streak with a miracle comeback capped by a field goal on the last play of game this past season. The game will feature a pair of top defensive linemen: Ridge View’s Damon Daley and Blythewood’s Jaydon Brunson.
Fort Dorchester at Dutch Fork
Might be game of year in Midlands. South Carolina fans can get a glimpse of Gamecocks commit and Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner. Dutch Fork won both meetings between the teams this past season, including the Class 5A Lower State championship. RB Ron Hoff leads Dutch Fork.
Ben Lippen at Hammond
Hammond gets a shot at revenge against Ben Lippen, which ended the Skyhawks’ 27-game winning streak in regular season and then defeated them in the playoffs.
Newberry at Fairfield Central
Matchup usually lives up to the hype between the two Class 3A powerhouses
Chapin at Brookland-Cayce
Non-region matchup between two programs coming off trips to lower state championships last season
River Bluff at Lexington
New coaches Blair Hardin and Perry Woolbright get first taste of the rivalry, which produced big crowds and close games in the previous three years.
South Pointe at Ridge View
The Blazers could make a statement in the region opener against three-time defending state champion. South Pointe features Clemson signee Derion Kendrick and Gamecocks target Steven Gilmore.
A.C. Flora at Chapin
This game will go a long way toward deciding the Region 5-4A title. The past four matchups have been decided by 10 points or less.
Spring Valley at Dutch Fork
Game features two of the state’s top prospects in Spring Valley’s Channing Tindall and Dutch Fork’s Bryce Thompson
Also to consider: Lugoff-Elgin at Camden (Aug. 18); Sumter at Ridge View (Aug. 18); Batesburg-Leesville at Gilbert (Aug. 25); Irmo at Chapin (Sept. 1); Batesburg-Leesville at Saluda (Sept. 15); Dreher at Chapin (Sept. 29); Brookland-Cayce at Gilbert (Oct. 6); Newberry at Chapman (Oct. 20); South Aiken at Airport (Oct. 20); Lexington at White Knoll (Oct. 27); A.C. Flora at Dreher (Oct. 27)