High School Sports

Preview: 3A Upper State football

Clinton (7-3) at Fairfield Central (7-3)

Game notes: The Red Devils and Griffins are no playoff strangers. In fact, the teams met five times in postseason play between 1999 and 2006. The teams were in the same region for two seasons in FC first two varsity seasons (1986-87) … Clinton still loves to run the ball, but the Red Devils are more pass oriented than at any time in their history. Quarterback Grant Templeton is 62-for-118 passing for 1,146 yards and six touchdowns. Kenny Cook is the top receiver with 24 catches for 480 yards and two TDs, and Ryan Underwood (16-381-4) is another viable option. In fact, this is the first time in school history that a Clinton quarterback has more than 1,000 passing at the end of the regular season with no 1,000-yard running back in the mix. The top rusher this season is Montel Keitt (179-960-8). The Red Devils still sports a healthy per-game rushing average (235.7), but the contributions are more balanced … Fairfield has gone from a passing team in recent years back to the running game coach Reggie Kennedy hung his hat on as a young coach at Kingstree. The Griffins ran to the No. 1 seed in Region 4-3A behind the ground exploits of Joseph Morgan (122-1006-8), Greg Gadsden (99-537-9) and, of late, Dwight Curlee (49-295-3) … FC has just one win in seven tries vs. Clinton – a 12-3 win in the team’s first playoff clash in 1999 … Clinton boasts an impressive 65-26 playoff record since 1970.

Lugoff-Elgin (7-3) at Riverside (5-5)

Game notes: The Demons turned things around late in the Region 4-3A after three straight close setbacks, and grabbed the No. 3 seed in Region 4-3A … The Demons head to the Upstate to face a Riverside team that has become more of a running team out the spread after incorporating an option package this season. Quarterback Austin Lawrence had his best rushing total of the season (89 yards) in last week’s 29-26 upset of Greer that cost the Yellow Jackets the Region 2-3A championship. Deandre Cheeks also had a season-high running total in the big win (127 yards) … L-E brings a balanced offensive approach with many different contributors pooling talents for an impressive unit average of 328.9 yards per game … Forrest Koumas is 57-for-114 passing for 1,016 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ten different players have contributed as receivers with Julian Baxter (26-392-4) and Devonte Alexander (15-375-4). The same is true in the running game where Koumas (79-445-5), Darius Custard (57-397-3), Baxter (45-441-6) and E,J, Ruiz (57-316-9) have all made significant contributions … Riverside does not have much of a playoff resume. The Warriors are 5-10 in the postseason and have made it past the second round only in 1987 and 2006 … The Demons are looking to top last season 2-1 playoff run. L-E has never made it past the third round.

Chapin (7-3) at Union County (5-5)

Game notes: The banged-up Eagles are wearing out after getting off to a 7-0 start under new coach Scott Earley. In the span of three weeks, with injuries to key players mounting, Chapin went from a title contender in Region 4-3A to sweating out making the playoff cut … Quarterback Michael Weimer and top running back Josh Sanga are on IR, leaving top receiver Victor Frick as the emergency quarterback. Chapin’s offense produced just three points in a 19-10 loss to Fairfield Central in last week’s regular season finale … The Eagles are facing Union County, a team that emerged as the No. 1 seed in Region 2-3A because Greer was upset by Riverside last week … With all the offensive woes, Chapin’s defense carries a heavy load entering the playoffs. The unit leaders have been Ryan Elliott (76 tackles, 18 TFL, 6 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries), Chase Austin (160 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 sacks), Zach Gause (41 tackles, 9 TFL, 5 sacks) and Alex Fisher (57 tackles, 3 interceptions) … Union County has fallen on hard times of late. The Yellow Jackets are 10-11 over the past two seasons and were expelled from the playoffs in the first round for the first time since 1994 last season. Between 1994 and 2007, the Jackets won 40 of 49 playoff games and four state championships.

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