Lou Bezjak

Picks and previews for third week of high school football playoffs

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

Friday’s games

Batesburg-Leesville (7-5) at Barnwell (11-1)

Players to Watch: B-L: Bishop Cannon, DB Keshaun Williams; BA: RB Mykal Lee, Brandon Harvey

Notes: Second meeting of year between teams and second consecutive year the teams have met in the playoffs. War Horses won, 44-41, on Oct. 6 after rallying from 21-point deficit. … B-L’s Tay Wilson needs 65 yards for 1,000 on the season. … Barnwell’s Mykal Lee and Brandon Harvey each have rushed for more than 1,000 yards. … B-L has won eight consecutive road playoff games.

Pick: Barnwell

Brookland-Cayce (8-4) at Timberland (9-3)

Players to Watch: B-C: QB Reed Charpia, RB Rasheed Taylor; T: JacQuez Mitchell, RB Roger Gibbs

Notes: First meeting between the teams. … B-C looking to make it to its second consecutive Lower State title game. … Timberland has won seven straight after a 2-3 start and outscored its opponents, 239-54. … B-C’s Rasheed Taylor has 23 TDs.

Pick: Timberland

Dillon (12-0) at Gilbert (12-0)

Players to Watch: D: DB Tyquan Porter, RB Jalen Williams; G: WR Manny Bright, RB Cody Temples

Notes: First meeting. … Gilbert is in the third round of the playoffs for first time since 1992. … Dillon’s Tyquan Porter has 10 interceptions and is a Shrine Bowl selection. … Dillon has won at least 10 games in 16 consecutive seasons and played in five consecutive state title games. … Gilbert is averaging 494 yards of offense per game. … Indians RB DeAndre Cook needs 55 yards for 1,000.

Pick: Gilbert

Emerald (9-3) at Fairfield Central (9-3)

Players to Watch: E: RB Keshawn Settles, Treshawn Chamberlin; FC: LB Dorian Glenn, RB Tony Ruff

Notes: First meeting. … Fairfield has won seven consecutive games with the past three by seven points or less. … Emerald’s Keshawn Settles rushed for 396 yards and five touchdowns last week against Broome.

Pick: Fairfield Central

Lower Richland (7-5) at Hartsville (11-1)

Players to Watch: QB Tevaughn Higgins, LB Malich Jacobs; H: RB Tiyon Evans, QB AJ Joyner

Notes: Ninth meeting and first since 2005. … Hartsville leads series, 6-2. … Lower Richland rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit and won on a Hail Mary from Tevaughn Higgins to Keonta Jacobs on the final play to defeat Myrtle Beach last week. … Hartsville running back Tiyon Evans has 1,552 yards rushing and 22 TDs. … LR quarterback Tevaughn Higgins has 744 yards of total offense and 11 TDs in the Diamond Hornets’ first two playoff wins.

Pick: Lower Richland

Spring Valley (11-1) at Fort Dorchester (12-0)

Players to Watch: SV: QB Quincy Hill, LB Channing Tindall; FD: QB Dakereon Joyner

Notes: Fort Dorchester won the previous meeting, 28-14, in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. … SV’s Quincy Hill, Jacquez Terrell and Jaylon Morris have combined for 2,241 yards rushing . … Fort Dorchester quarterback and South Carolina commit Dakereon Joyner has 2,856 yards total offense and 44 total TDs . … Fort Dorchester receivers Justin Williams and Raquan Simmons have combined for 25 TD catches. … SV trying to win its 12th game for the seventh time in school history and first since 2013.

Pick: Spring Valley

Summerville (9-2) at Dutch Fork (10-1)

Players to Watch: S: Shaq Davis, OL Jackson Hutto; DF: RB/WR Bryce Thompson, LB Alex Smith

Notes: Dutch Fork leads series, 4-0, including two victories last year. … Teams were supposed to play in the regular season on Sept. 8, but it was canceled because of Hurricane Irma. … A victory would give DF coach Tom Knotts his 90th victory at Dutch Fork and 386th overall. A victory also would be the 199th in Dutch Fork history. … Silver Foxes are averaging 48.7 points per game and giving up 12.6. … Bryce Thompson has scored at least three TDs in eight consecutive games and has 35 for the season, seven off Matt Colburn’s single-season mark of 42.

Pick: Dutch Fork

Wardlaw Academy (12-0) vs. Northside Christian (7-5)

Players to Watch: WA: RB Will Padgett, QB Britt Gosset; NC: Chris Rhone, Noah Powell

Notes: SCISA 8-Man Division II championship. … Northside is making its first appearance in the championship game in just its second year of playing football. Crusaders will be moving to 11-man football next year. … The Crusaders’ two playoff wins have come by a combined 10 points. … Wardlaw is averaging 59 points per game and looking for its second consecutive title.

Pick: Wardlaw

Saturday’s game

Laurence Manning (10-2) vs. Hammond (11-0)

Players to Watch: LMA: WR Taylor Lee, QB Braydon Osteen; H: QB Corbett Glick, DL Jordan Burch

Notes: SCISA 3A championship game. … Second meeting of season. Hammond won 35-21 on Sept. 1. … Hammond is going for 15th state title. … Hammond QB Corbett Glick needs 24 yards for 3,000 yards passing. … Alex Huntley and Ben Ginsberg are tied for the Hammond lead in sacks with 7. … WR Lucas Prickett needs 11 yards for 1,300 receiving.

Pick: Hammond

Last Week: 8-3

Season: 227-55