Lou Bezjak

Airport playing with confidence after slow start

Airport High's Kerryon Richardson
Airport High's Kerryon Richardson dmclemore@thestate.com

After a slow start, Airport has turned things around.

The Eagles have won two in a row since their 1-4 start, including Friday’s 40-36 win over Aiken, and are tied for first place in Region 4-4A. Friday’s win was their second consecutive victory decided by five points or less.

Airport trailed 21-3 in the first quarter, but finished by scoring the final 10 points for the win. Aiken had a chance to win and drove to the 13-yard line, but Jamir Robinson’s interception sealed the victory.

“We’re starting to play as a whole and just having fun playing the game, buying into what the coach (Kirk) Burnett is telling us,” said Airport WR/DB Kerryon Richardson, who had 102 yards receiving. “We have a lot of confidence right now, but we know we still have a lot of work to do.”

Burnett credits the turnaround with the team’s improved offense and running the ball with Robinson and CJ Wright, who combined for more than 200 yards rushing Friday. The Eagles have scored more than 40 points in each of the past two games.

“We haven’t been having many droughts during games, maybe a punt here or there, but for the most part we have been consistent,” Burnett said.

The Eagles hope to continue the momentum as they travel to No. 8 South Aiken on Friday. The teams are tied for the region lead. Airport finishes the season with games against Chapin and North Augusta.

“All three tough teams right there, and are better than the two teams we just played,” Burnett said. “We know we got to continue to play better to have a chance.”

Unbeatens putting up the points

Dutch Fork, Gilbert and WW King all improved to 7-0, with each team scoring more than 40 points. Dutch Fork, the No. 1 team in 5A, has scored 30 or more points in each of its seven victories.

Gilbert continued its surprising start with a 49-28 win over No. 4 Strom Thurmond. It’s the Indians’ seventh victory, the first time that’s happened since 2007. Gilbert hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since recording nine victories in 1999.

Running back Catriez Cook had another big game, rushing for 287 yards and five touchdowns. For the season, Cook has 1,350 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.

W.W. King is one of two unbeaten teams in SCISA 8-man, along with Andrew Jackson.

Scoring explosion for Flora

After scoring 73 points in its first five games, A.C. Flora has put up 107 in its past two contests.

The Falcons scored 61 points on Friday in defeating Midland Valley. It was Flora’s highest total since scoring 72 last year against Lower Richland.

A.C. Flora scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.

Special delivery for Parks

Ridge View coach Perry Parks didn’t stick around long after his team’s win over Richland Northeast.

Moments after the 28-14 victory over the Cavaliers, Parks was on his way to the hospital after learning his wife, Katie, had gone into labor with the couple’s second child. Lola Elaine Parks was born Saturday morning around 10 a.m.

Shamrocks break through

Eau Claire picked up its first win with a 52-16 victory against C.A. Johnson.

It was the most points Eau Claire has scored since scoring 52 against CAJ in 1990, and was four off the school record scored against Camden in 1965.

With Eau Claire winning, Mid-Carolina, Pelion and Lower Richland are the remaining winless Midlands teams.

Top performers

A.C. Flora defense – Falcons picked off four passes, and returned one for a score in 61-47 victory over Midland Valley.

Kenny Benton (Blythewood) – He had 233 total yards and two scores in Thursday’s win over Lexington.

Brett Burnett (Airport) – He was 12-of-17 passing for 229 yards with two touchdowns, and also ran for a score in win over Aiken.

Catriez Cook (Gilbert) – Senior ran for 287 yards, scored five TDs and caught one pass for 15 yards in win over Strom Thurmond.

Corbett Glick, Lucas Prickett and Henry Locke (Hammond) – Glick threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, with Prickett hauling in nine passes for 186 yards and two scores, all in the first half of the blowout win over Wilson Hall. Locke tied a school record with four sacks and finished with 15 tackles.

Reese Nichols and Ron Hoff (Dutch Fork) – Nichols threw for 245 yards and accounted for four scores. Hoff rushed for 205 yards, two scores in win over White Knoll.

Dai’Quan Wells (Lexington) – Rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns in loss to Blythewood.

Ones to watch

A look at next week’s top matchups in the Midlands:

Airport at South Aiken – First place in Region 4-4A up for grabs.

Blythewood at White Knoll – Win would put Blythewood in strong position to claim second place in Region 5-5A.

Chapman at Newberry – Teams are part of the four-way tie for region lead.

Chester at Fairfield Central – Region 4-3A title might be decided in this game.

Dutch Fork at Spring Valley – Dutch Fork has won eight in a row in series.

Pinewood Prep at Hammond – Rematch of last year’s SCISA 3A championship, won by Hammond.

Ridge View at Westwood – Westwood has lost first two region games by a combined eight points.