Here are five observations or things that stood out in the ninth week of high school football in the Midlands:
Boyd’s return to sidelines at RNE
Friday’s best moment had nothing to do with a touchdown or big play on the field.
Having Josh Boyd on the Richland Northeast sidelines was one of the best stories of the season. The RNE quarterback had open-heart surgery Oct. 12 after suffering a heart attack but was with his teammates on the bench for their game against York.
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Boyd was in good spirits, laughing and joking with his teammates. He also reconnected with members of the Columbia Fire Department, who saved his life and were honored in a pregame ceremony.
It also was a great gesture by York players and student body, who presented Boyd with a check of more than $4,000 to go toward his medical bills.
Rivalries to decide things next week
Region 4-5A: Irmo has a chance for at least a share or outright claim to region title if it defeats Sumter. If Irmo wins and Blythewood loses to Spring Valley, the Yellow Jackets are champions.
If Irmo loses and Blythewood wins, there will be a three-way tie for region title and it will go to a tiebreaker. Sumter wins title outright with a win. Blythewood can finish second with a win.
Region 5-5A: Winner of Lexington-River Bluff game gets a home playoff game.
Region 4-4A: Longtime rivals AC Flora and Dreher will decide the championship at Memorial Stadium. The Falcons win it outright with a victory. The Blue Devils win the title with a win and Lower Richland loss to Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
If Dreher wins and Lower Richland wins, there will be a three-way tie and it goes to tiebreaker.
Region 5-4A: Brookland-Cayce and Airport meet for the second time this year but with more at stake. Brookland-Cayce wins the title with a win over its rival. If Airport wins and North Augusta loses, the Eagles win the championship.
If Airport wins and North Augusta wins, North Augusta wins region title because it defeated Airport earlier this season.
Speaking of Airport, the Eagles have put together a strong season after a couple of disappointing years.
Airport is assured of its first winning season since 2015 and it defeated South Aiken, 24-7, on Friday for the first time since 2011.
The Eagles have won four of their last five after a 2-2 start and scored 30 points or more during that span.
Costly loss for Camden
But the Bulldogs lost to unbeaten Chester in overtime on Oct. 12 and followed that up with a loss to Indian Land on Friday. Camden can still finish second in the region but must beat Keenan and have Fairfield Central to beat Indian Land for a three-way tie in Region 4-3A.
Quincy Riley delivers again
A.C. Flora’s Quincy Riley showed why he is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the area again.
Riley recorded his sixth special teams touchdown of the season Friday against Lower Richland and also picked off three passes for the Falcons, who are a win away from the Region 4-4A title.
Riley should be a lock to be make either the Shrine Bowl or Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl, which will be announced Sunday and Monday.
Tristan Allen, DB, Lexington – Became Midlands’ co-leader in interceptions with fifth pick of season to go along with five tackles and a forced fumble.
Jordan Burch, RB/DE, Hammond – Rushed for 88 yards, three touchdowns and caught a TD pass. Also had two sacks on defense.
Thomas Green, RB, Columbia – Ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns
Quincy Riley, DB/WR, AC Flora – Returned opening kickoff 70 yards for TD and had three interceptions in win over Lower Richland. Senior has six special teams TDs this season.
Braden Walker, WR, River Bluff – Rushed for 190 yards and a TD in win over White Knoll
How Midlands Top 10 Fared
1. Dutch Fork (7-0) – Off this week
2. Hammond (9-0) – Defeated Cardinal Newman, 63-27
3. River Bluff (7-1) – Defeated White Knoll, 24-13
4. Camden (6-3) – Lost to Indian Land, 20-8
5. Blythewood (6-2) – Defeated Lugoff-Elgin, 31-7
6. Ridge View (5-3) – Lost to South Pointe, 38-35
7. A.C. Flora (6-2) – Defeated Lower Richland, 38-12
8. Spring Valley (5-3) – Lost to Sumter, 38-0
9. Irmo (5-3) – Off this week
10. Brookland-Cayce (6-3) – Defeated Aiken, 27-3
This Week’s Schedule
Eau Claire at Columbia (Keenan Stadium)
Gilbert at Pelion
Airport at Brookland-Cayce
Blythewood at Spring Valley
Cardinal Newman at Ben Lippen
Dreher at AC Flora (Memorial Stadium)
Fairfield Central at Indian Land
Gray Collegiate at CA Johnson (Keenan Stadium)
Hammond at Heathwood Hall
Keenan at Camden
Lancaster at Ridge View
Lower Richland at Orangeburg-Wilkinson
Nation Ford at Chapin
Newberry at Mid-Carolina
Ninety Six at Abbeville
North Central at Buford
Richland Northeast at Westwood
River Bluff at Lexington
Saluda at Batesburg-Leesville
Spartanburg Christian at Northside Christian
Sumter at Irmo
Swansea at Edisto
Wardlaw at Richard Winn
White Knoll at Dutch Fork
WW King at Clarendon Hall