Here five things to keep an eye on this week in Midlands high school football action:
Lexington County battle
Lexington and Gilbert finally meet on the gridiron Friday when the teams square off at what is expected to be a standing-room-only crowd at Lexington High School.
The teams never have played in football, but Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart and Perry Woolbright wanted that to change when Woolbright got the Lexington job last year. This is part of a two-year contract between the schools, but both coaches hope to continue the matchup in the future.
Leapahart and Woolbright have ties to both schools. Most of Leaphart’s family attended Lexington. His dad played on Lexington’s 1950 state title team and his brother Damone was the trainer at Lexington for 35 years before retiring early this year.
Woolbright’s father, Marty, coached Leaphart when he was the head coach at Gilbert. Perry Woolbright was a former ball boy at Gilbert and Leaphart has a picture in his office with Woolbright as the team’s ball boy.
Both teams come into the matchup 2-0 and are ranked in this week’s Midlands Top 10 with Gilbert tied for No. 2 and Lexington at No. 6.
Blythewood loses starting QB
Blythewood must go the rest of the season without quarterback Quinton Patten, who tore his ACL in the 18-7 loss to Westwood.
It’s the second year in a row Patten, one of the area’s top quarterbacks, has suffered an injury. He missed several games last year with a thumb injury.
King Ford came in for Patten last week and will be the starter. Ford was 12-of-24 with 102 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against the Redhawks.
District Stadium at Keenan opens
The first of Richland 1’s new or refurbished stadiums will be on display this week when District Stadium at Keenan opens.
CA Johnson hosts Fox Creek on Thursday and unbeaten Eau Claire hosts Wagener-Salley on Friday. The Shamrocks have been one of the area’s biggest surprises so far and look for their first 3-0 start since 1992.
Memorial Stadium and Lower Richland stadium, which underwent major renovations, are expected to host games as early as next week.
How will Spring Valley respond from blowout?
Spring Valley tries to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2008 when it hosts Brookland-Cayce (2-0). The Vikings are coming off a 63-0 loss to Dutch Fork. According to scfootballhistory.com, it is the most lopsided loss in school history. The 63 points were the most given up since 66 in last year’s playoff loss to Fort Dorchester.
It’s the first time since 1989 B-C and Spring Valley are meeting. The Vikings lead the series, 5-2.
Midlands SCISA 3A teams square off
All four Midlands SCISA 3A teams meet this week with Ben Lippen hosting Hammond and Heathwood Hall traveling to Cardinal Newman.
The game is the home opener for Ben Lippen, which will debut its new scoreboard. The Falcons picked up their first win last week at Pinewood.
The winner of Cardinal Newman and Heathwood moves to over .500 on the season. Heathwood snapped its 10-game losing streak last week with an OT win over Wilson Hall.
Midlands Top 10 poll
1. Dutch Fork (1-0)
2. (tie) Hammond (2-0)
2. (tie) Gilbert (2-0)
4. Westwood (2-0)
5. Brookland-Cayce (2-0)
6. Lexington (2-0)
7. River Bluff (2-0)
8. Spring Valley (0-1)
9. Chapin (1-0)
10. White Knoll (1-1)
Week 3 Picks
Columbia vs AC Flora at Benedict College
Bezjak: AC Flora
Dearing: AC Flora
Fox Creek vs. CA Johnson at Keenan Stadium
Bezjak: Fox Creek
Dearing: Fox Creek
Airport at Swansea
Batesburg-Leesville at Newberry
Blythewood at Fairfield Central
Brookland-Cayce at Spring Valley
Chapin at Lugoff-Elgin
Dreher vs. Gray Collegiate at Benedict College
Dearing: Gray Collegiate
Faith-Ridge Christian at Richard Winn
Bezjak: Richard Winn
Dearing: Richard Winn
Gilbert at Lexington
Hammond at Ben Lippen
Hartsville at Camden
Heathwood Hall at Cardinal Newman
Bezjak: Cardinal Newman
Dearing: Cardinal Newman
Irmo at Dutch Fork
Bezjak: Dutch Fork
Dearing: Dutch Fork
Keenan at White Knoll
Bezjak: White Knoll
Dearing: White Knoll
Lower Richland at Westwood
McBee at North Central
Bezjak: North Central
Dearing: North Central
Mid-Carolina at Saluda
Northside Christian at Greenwood Christian
Bezjak: Greenwood Christian
Dearing: Greenwood Christian
Pelion at River Bluff
Bezjak: River Bluff
Dearing: River Bluff
Richland Northeast at Crestwood
St. John’s at WW King
Bezjak: St John’s
Dearing: St. John’s
Wagener-Salley at Eau Claire at Keenan Stadium
Bezjak: Eau Claire
This Season’s Records