Lou Bezjak

Week 9 picks and previews of top games

Spring Valley Vikings wide receiver Malik Wesley (12) makes a big gain during a game against Lexington. The Vikings travel to Dutch Fork on Friday in matchup between two of the Midlands’ top teams.
Spring Valley Vikings wide receiver Malik Wesley (12) makes a big gain during a game against Lexington. The Vikings travel to Dutch Fork on Friday in matchup between two of the Midlands’ top teams. jblake@thestate.com

Looking at this week’s top high school football games in the Midlands and picking winners:

Chapin (5-3) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (3-5)

Internet: www.spreaker.com/user/9145869

Players to watch: C: OL Hank Manos, WR Xzavion Gordon; O-W: RB Theo Johnson, Nicholas Lawson

Notes: Chapin is tied with Dreher for first place in Region 5-4A, but O-W and Lower Richland are just a half-game behind … Chapin beat O-W last season. … Final region game of season for Chapin, which closes regular season next week against Airport. … Chapin has given up 35 or more points in two of its three losses.

Pick: Chapin

Fairfield Central (5-3) at Chester (8-1)

Players to watch: FC: LB Dorian Glenn, LB/S Theron Byrd; C: QB John Erby, WR/DB Quay Hardin

Notes: Winner of game wins Region 4-3A championship. … Fairfield won last year’s matchup, 28-21. … FC defense has 23 sacks this season. … Chester QB John Erby has 31 total touchdowns this season.

Pick: Fairfield Central

Spring Valley (8-0) at Dutch Fork (6-1)

Players to watch: SV: LB Channing Tindall, QB Quincy Hill; DF: RB/DB Bryce Thompson, LB Alex Smith

Notes: Winner of game wins Region 5-5A championship and home-field advantage in lower state playoffs. … Spring Valley hasn’t defeated Dutch Fork since 2006. … Both teams are averaging more than 40 points a game and more than 400 yards of offense.

Pick: Dutch Fork

Swansea (3-5) at Brookland-Cayce (5-3)

Players to watch: S: QB Kendall Coats, WR Mikey Jones; B-C: RB Rasheed Taylor, WR/DB Dominick Perry

Notes: If Swansea wins game, it clinches second place in Region 5-3A. B-C needs a win against Swansea and win next week against Strom Thurmond or a win against Swansea and ST loss to Pelion on Friday to clinch second. … B-C’s Rasheed Taylor needs 71 yards rushing for 1,000 on the season. … A win gives Swansea its most wins since winning seven in 2014.

Pick: Brookland-Cayce

Westwood (4-4) at Ridge View (5-3)

(At Spirit Communications Park)

Players to watch: W: LB Brice Harkness, WR Montre Miller; RV: DL Damion Daley, WR Bernard Porter

Notes: Westwood leads series 3-2, but Ridge View won last season, 27-14. … Westwood, Ridge View and Lancaster are in a three-way tie for third place in Region 3-4A with two games left. Westwood plays Richland Northeast next week and RV faces Lancaster. … Second consecutive year RV has played a game at Spirit Communications Park.

Pick: Ridge View

Football picks

(Picks in bold face caps)

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE at Silver Bluff

Camden at INDIAN LAND

CHESTERFIELD at North Central

COLUMBIA at McCormick

DREHER at Aiken

GILBERT at Edisto

GRAY COLLEGIATE at Eau Claire

HAMMOND at Pinewood Prep

IRMO at River Bluff

Keenan at FOX CREEK

LOWER RICHLAND at A.C. Flora

LUGOFF-ELGIN at Darlington

ORANGEBURG PREP at Heathwood Hall

SOUTH AIKEN at Airport

SOUTH POINTE at Richland Northeast

STROM THURMOND at Pelion

WHITE KNOLL at Blythewood

Wilson Hall at BEN LIPPEN

WOODRUFF at Mid-Carolina

Last Week: 20-4

Season: 161-44

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