Lou Bezjak

High school football playoff picks and previews of top games

Looking at this week’s top high school football games in the Midlands and picking winners for the first week of the playoffs.

West Ashley (5-4) at Spring Valley (9-1)

Players to Watch: WA: RB Jordan Pettigrew, LB Kamden Middleton; SV: LB Channing Tindall, RB Anthony Wilson

Notes: Second consecutive year teams meeting in playoffs. Vikings won, 55-18, last year. … Spring Valley giving up 14.9 points per game. … K’onte Brown leads the Vikings with eight sacks. … Vikings have four players with more than 500 yards rushing, led by Quincy Hill’s 735.

Pick: Spring Valley

Carolina Forest (5-5) at Lexington (7-3)

Players to Watch: CF: QB Matt Beale, OL Tommy Schubert; L: LB Logan Cripe, RB Jordan Hiller

Notes: Third meeting between teams. Lexington leads 2-0. … Lexington defense ended season with two consecutive shutouts and has three for the season. … Wildcats running back Jordan Hiller needs 78 yards for 1,000 yards rushing this season. … Carolina Forest has made the playoffs three straight years for first time in school history.

Pick: Lexington

Irmo (6-4) at Summerville (7-2)

Players to Watch: I: RB Kendell Flowers, DE Trajan Jeffcoat; S: OL Jackson Hutto, QB Johnathan Bennett

Notes: Ninth meeting between teams and first since 2009. Series tied 4-4. … Teams met in three consecutive Class 4A state championships from 1978-80. … Irmo’s six wins are its most since 2013. … Yellow Jackets haven’t won a playoff game since 2012. … Irmo’s defense has 13 interceptions.

Pick: Summerville

Dreher (7-3) at Lugoff-Elgin (6-4)

Radio/Internet: 1590 AM or www.kool1027.com

Players to Watch: D: RB Jay Washington, RB Da Da Washington; L-E: OL Wyatt Campbell, LB Tyrik Richardson

Notes: First meeting between teams since 2007. … L-E leads series, 6-3. .. Dreher looking for first playoff win since 1994. L-E’s last postseason victory came in 2008. … Blue Devils won share of Region 6-4A title for the first time in school history. … Dreher RB Jay Washington has nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

Pick: Lugoff-Elgin

Cheraw (7-3) at Gray Collegiate (7-3)

Players to Watch: C: RB Quan Pittman, WR Jalen Coit; GC: QB Hunter Helms, RB Julian Jackson

Notes: First meeting between teams. … Game played at Bolden Stadium and is Gray’s first home playoff game in school history. … Cheraw is averaging 38.3 points per game. … Braves lost final two games of regular season. … GCA quarterback Hunter Helms has thrown for 2,032 yards and 15 TDs.

Pick: Cheraw

Ridge View (7-3) at South Aiken (8-2)

Players to Watch: RV: WR Bernard Porter, DE Damion Daley

Notes: Teams met in third round of last year’s playoffs with South Aiken winning, 50-7. … South Aiken is averaging 40.3 points per game. … Ridge View’s Bernard Porter has 51 catches for 1,021 yards. … Blazers finished season on three-game winning streak after dropping first two region games.

Pick: South Aiken

Football picks

(Picks in bold face caps)

Stratford at DUTCH FORK

White Knoll at SUMTER

Airport at YORK

Westwood at NORTH AUGUSTA

Darlington at LOWER RICHLAND

Crestwood at CHAPIN

Camden at PALMETTO

Southside at FAIRFIELD CENTRAL

Pendleton at NEWBERRY

Aynor at GILBERT

Loris at BROOKLAND-CAYCE

SWANSEA at Georgetown

Keenan at LEE CENTRAL

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE at Mullins

Last Week: 20-1

Season: 203-48

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