Midlands football players share their go-to pregame rituals
Here are five matchups to keep an eye on this week in the Midlands:
5 can’t miss games
▪ Abbeville at Newberry — Four-time defending state champion Abbeville brings 23-game winning streak into the game. Season opener for Newberry, which lost to Abbeville 49-0 last season.
▪ Airport at Brookland-Cayce — First of two games this year between rivals. This one doesn’t county in region standings but should be a good one and features two of the Midlands top backs in Airport’s Bruce Staley and Brookland-Cayce’s Will Way.
▪ Blythewood at Westwood — Blythewood faces its second straight rivalry matchup after opening up with one rival Ridge View on Monday. Westwood lost its opener to Lugoff-Elgin and hopes to have receiver Christian Horn back in the lineup this week after missing the opener.
▪ Dutch Fork at Spring Valley — Dutch Fork’s opener against Mallard Creek got called in the fourth quarter because of weather. Season opener for Spring Valley. Silver Foxes leads series 17-4.
▪ Mid-Carolina at Chapin — The Battle of the Bell is the longest continuous running rivalry in the state. Have met every year since 1961. Season opener for Chapin and M-C looking for first 2-0 start since 2011.
Week 1 Midlands game schedule, predictions
All games at 7:30 pm unless noted
Columbia vs. North Central at Keenan HS (Bezjak-North Central; Dearing-North Central)
Abbeville at Newberry (Bezjak-Abbeville; Dearing-Abbeville)
Andrew Jackson at WW King (Bezjak-Andrew Jackson; Dearing-Andrew Jackson)
Airport at Brookland-Cayce (Bezjak-Airport; Dearing-Airport)
Batesburg-Leesville at Gilbert (Bezjak-Gilbert; Dearing-Gilbert)
Ben Lippen at Hammond (Bezjak-Hammond; Dearing-Hammond)
Blythewood at Westwood (Bezjak-Blythewood; Dearing-Blythewood)
CA Johnson at Lewisville (Bezjak-Lewisville; Dearing-Lewisville)
Calhoun County at Pelion (Bezjak-Pelion; Dearing-Calhoun County)
Carolina Forest at Lower Richland (Bezjak-Carolina Forest; Dearing-Carolina Forest)
Cathedral Academy at Richard Winn (Bezjak-Cathedral; Dearing-Richard Winn)
Dreher at Lexington (Bezjak-Lexington; Dearing-Lexington)
Dutch Fork at Spring Valley (Bezjak-Dutch Fork; Dearing-Dutch Fork)
Gray Collegiate at Swansea (Bezjak-Gray Collegiate; Dearing-Gray Collegiate)
Hunter Kinard Tyler at Eau Claire at Keenan HS (Bezjak-HKT; Dearing-HKT)
Keenan at Irmo (Bezjak-Irmo; Dearing-Irmo)
Lancaster at Fairfield Central (Bezjak-Lancaster; Dearing-Lancaster)
Lugoff-Elgin at Camden (Bezjak-Camden; Dearing-Camden)
Mid-Carolina at Chapin (Bezjak-Chapin; Dearing-Chapin)
Newberry Academy at Palmetto Academy (Bezjak-Palmetto; Dearing-Palmetto)
Northside Christian at Laurens Academy (Bezjak-Laurens; Dearing-Northside)
Porter-Gaud at Cardinal Newman (Bezjak-Porter-Gaud; Dearing-Porter-Gaud)
Richland Northeast at River Bluff (Bezjak-River Bluff; Dearing-River Bluff)
Ridge-Spring Monetta at Saluda (Bezjak-Saluda; Dearing-Saluda)
Union at AC Flora at Memorial Stadium (Bezjak-Union; Dearing-Union)
Wayne Hills (NJ) at Ridge View (Bezjak-Ridge View; Dearing-Wayne Hills)
White Knoll at Colleton County (Bezjak-White Knoll; Dearing-White Knoll)
Wilson Hall at Heathwood Hall (Bezjak-Heathwood; Dearing-Wilson Hal)
Season Totals for predictions
Lou Bezjak: 14-9-1
Chris Dearing: 17-6-1