High School Sports

Football: Strom Thurmond at Batesburg-Leesville

Site: Panther Stadium. Time: 7:30 p.m.

Storyline: Long-time rivals Batesburg-Leesville and Strom Thurmond will be squaring off in region play for the first time since 1981 when both schools were in Class 3A. Adding to the pressure, B-L is coming off a 21-20 overtime loss to Gilbert in the Region 3-2A opener and is looking to avoid a 0-2 conference start for only the second time since dropping down to Class 2A in 1982.

Strom Thurmond notes: The Rebels were supposed to be rebuilding in 2008, but you can’t tell by the record. Strom Thurmond is off to a 6-0 start with an impressive 21-7 win over Class 4A North Augusta being the highlight of the non-region campaign ... Last week, the Rebels topped Mid-Carolina 28-6 in their Region 3-2A debut, despite managing just 79 rushing yards in the game. Javon Brown picked up the slack, hitting 12 of 21 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown. The new starting quarterback is 44-for-91 passing for 604 yards and three TDs by air, and has 351 yards and three scores by land. Maurice Brown leads the team in rushing (421 yards, 7.3 yard average) and scoring (10 TDs). He scored twice vs. M-C … Linebacker Cord Butler had a big game in the region opener with nine tackles, one interception and one blocked punt. Tra’ves Bush is the leading hit man for the season with 87 tackles to date.

Batesburg-Leesville notes: The Panthers (4-2, 0-1) are still smarting from last week’s stumble vs. Gilbert, when an unnecessary roughness penalty after Elliott Jeffcoat’s OT touchdown run resulted in a missed PAT pick (in essence a 35-yard field goal) that left them one point short of extending the game … Jeffcoat sent the game into extra time when he turned a short pass from Jamal Bryant into a 52-yard scoring play in the fourth quarter. Jeffcoat took care of all the B-L scoring – one by land, two by air. He finished with 70 yards rushing on 17 carries and caught six passes for 115 yards … Bryant was 3-for-6 passing for 88 yards and one TD in place of injured starter K.J. Johnson, who injured on the last play of the first half and did not return. Johnson had 82 yards rushing and was 5-for-5 passing for 76 yards and one TD in the opening 24 minutes … Tavon Waters led the defense with 11 tackles vs. the Indians.

Series history: Friday's game will be the 44th meeting of the teams since the series debuted in 1961. The only breaks in the rivalry came during the 1978-79 and 1986-87 scheduling cycles. Lexington, Newberry and Saluda are the only schools that B-L has played more times than Strom Thurmond through the years. The Rebels from Edgefield County have four of the last five clashes to increase its series lead to 24-19. Thurmond handed the Panthers a 41-13 whipping last season to avenge a 51-45 shootout loss in 2006.

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