High School Football

5 top Midlands high school football story lines — and our Week 3 predictions

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.

Current Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart (53) and Lexington coach Perry Woolbright (ball boy, bottom left) appear in this 1991 Gilbert High School Football photo. Gilbert and Lexington meet for the first time in football Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Submitted photo

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

Bezjak: Airport

Dearing: Airport

Batesburg-Leesville at Newberry

Bezjak: Newberry

Dearing: Batesburg-Leesville

Blythewood at Fairfield Central

Bezjak: Blythewood

Dearing: Blythewood

Brookland-Cayce at Spring Valley

Bezjak: Brookland-Cayce

Dearing: Brookland-Cayce

Chapin at Lugoff-Elgin

Bezjak: Chapin

Dearing: Chapin

Dreher vs. Gray Collegiate at Benedict College

Bezjak: Dreher

Dearing: Gray Collegiate

Faith-Ridge Christian at Richard Winn

Bezjak: Richard Winn

Dearing: Richard Winn

Gilbert at Lexington

Bezjak: Gilbert

Dearing: Gilbert

Hammond at Ben Lippen

Bezjak: Hammond

Dearing: Hammond

Hartsville at Camden

Bezjak: Hartsville

Dearing: Hartsville

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

Bezjak: Westwood

Dearing: Westwood

McBee at North Central

Bezjak: North Central

Dearing: North Central

Mid-Carolina at Saluda

Bezjak: Saluda

Dearing: 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

Bezjak: Crestwood

Dearing: 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

Dearing: Wagener-Salley

This Season’s Records

Bezjak: 35-15

Dearing: 35-15