Here are five observations or things that stood out in the first week of high school football in the Midlands:
Blythewood, Westwood impress
Blythewood and Westwood turned in two of the more impressive performances on Friday night and will square off this week.
The Bengals came back from 14 points down and scored the final 30 points of the game to beat rival Ridge View 38-21 and give Jason Seidel a win in his debut as coach. It also snapped a two-game losing streak to the Blazers.
Seidel put his team through a rigorous offseason program and the team displayed that toughness against the Blazers. Seniors Quinton Patten and Jaylon Boyd, two players bothered by injuries last year, had big games and each rushed for more than 100 yards.
Blythewood’s defense held Ridge View to 123 yards of offense and 2.7 yards per play.
Westwood was dominant in the 53-14 win against Lugoff-Elgin and showed why they were ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A in the SC Prep Media Poll.
The Redhawks got a strong game from quarterback Ahmon Green, who threw for five touchdowns, and its two top receivers Christian Horn and Cortes Braham. Westwood’s special teams forced two turnovers on kickoffs and returned a punt and kickoff for a TD.
River Bluff gets early confidence boost
Blair Hardin’s second season at River Bluff already is looking a lot better.
The Gators, who won two games last season, scored a school-record 61 points in beating Fort Mill 61-34. Prior to last night, River Bluff had never scored 50 points in a game and scored more than 40 only five times since the school opened in 2014.
River Bluff’s run-heavy offense put up 560 yards, 435 coming on the ground. Braden Walker did the bulk of the damage with 259 yards rushing.
With a favorable early-season schedule, the Gators might be able to string a bunch of wins together.
Lexington might have its next QB
After contributing on the baseball team as a freshman, Cal Herndon looks to be a key part on the Lexington football team.
Making his first varsity start, the sophomore threw for two touchdowns and ran for two in the 28-21 win against Irmo.
Eau Claire pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the opening week with its 44-18 win against Lewisville.
The Shamrocks have won just one game in each of the past two years, so getting a win early will help their confidence in Michael Kelly’s first season.
Mixed results for new coaches
The six new coaches in the Midlands went 3-3 in their debuts this weekend with Blythewood, Eau Claire and Mid-Carolina winning and Heathwood Hall, Ben Lippen and Swansea losing.
Two of the three losses, Ben Lippen and Swansea, were by six points or less.
▪ Braden Walker, River Bluff – Junior, who moved from quarterback to running back this year, racked up 403 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns against Fort Mill.
▪ Ahmon Green, Westwood – Quarterback tossed five touchdowns in win against Lugoff-Elgin.
▪ Jordan Burch, Hammond – Five-star prospect did a little bit of everything against Charlotte Country Day with 58 yards rushing, blocked field goal, two sacks and a two-point conversion throw.
▪ Cal Herndon, Lexington – Had 227 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns
▪ Nanders Lawrence, Airport – Racked up 164 yards of offense on just eight touches and scored three touchdowns
▪ DeAndre Cook, Gilbert – Ran 30 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns
▪ Reed Charpia, Brookland-Cayce – Had 244 yards of offense and four TDs against White Knoll
▪ Aveon Smith, White Knoll - Threw for 193 yards and rushed for 153 with five total TDs in loss to B-C
How Midlands Top 10 fared
A look at how teams in the Midlands Top 10 poll did this week:
1. Dutch Fork (0-0) – vs. Mallard Creek (NC), ppd.
2. Hammond (1-0) – Defeated Charlotte Country Day (NC), 15-12
3. Spring Valley (0-0) – Off
4. Gilbert (1-0) – Defeated Gray Collegiate, 35-28
5. Ridge View (0-1) – Lost to Blythewood, 38-21
6. Fairfield Central (0-1) – Lost to Johns Creek (Ga.), 48-20
7. Westwood (1-0) – Defeated Lugoff-Elgin, 53-14
8. Brookland-Cayce (1-0) – Defeated White Knoll, 42-35
9. Newberry (0-0) – Off
10. Lexington (1-0) – Defeated Irmo, 28-21
Next week’s schedule
Friday, Aug. 24
AC Flora at Union County
Brookland-Cayce at Airport
CA Johnson at Lewisville
Camden at Lugoff-Elgin
Cardinal Newman at Porter-Gaud
Colleton County at White Knoll
Columbia at North Central
Dreher at Lexington
Eau Claire at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler
Fairfield Central at Lancaster
Gray Collegiate at Swansea
Gilbert at Batesburg-Leesville
Hammond at Trinity-Byrnes
Heathwood Hall at Wilson Hall
Keenan at Irmo
Lower Richland at Carolina Forest
Mid-Carolina at Chapin
Newberry at Abbeville
Pelion at Calhoun County
Pinewood Prep at Ben Lippen
Richard Winn at Cathedral
Ridge View at Providence Day
River Bluff at Richland Northeast
Saluda at Ridge Spring-Monetta
Spring Valley at Dutch Fork
Westwood at Blythewood
WW King at Andrew Jackson