High School Football

Week 2 football observations, game balls and quick look at next week’s top matchups

Watch: Roger Pedroni’s game-winning TD pass with 22 seconds left in Chapin win

Chapin's Roger Pedroni hit Xavier Short on game-winning TD pass with 22 seconds left to defeat Lugoff-Elgin, 35-32.
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Chapin's Roger Pedroni hit Xavier Short on game-winning TD pass with 22 seconds left to defeat Lugoff-Elgin, 35-32.

Here are five things that stood out from Week 2 in Midlands high school football:

Camden, Gilbert look to be contenders in 3A

Camden and Gilbert pulled off two of the biggest wins among local teams Friday. Camden handed 4A power and No. 2-ranked Hartsville its first home loss since 2011 with a 41-27 win, and Gilbert won bragging rights over Lexington with a 31-14 win that coach Chad Leaphart called a “great win for the community.”

It is still early in the season, but both teams are capable of making deep playoff runs in 3A with Camden in the upper state and Gilbert in the lower state.

Both teams have playmakers on offense and dual-threat QBs in Gilbert’s Jy Tolen and Camden’s Jaffari Pearson. Camden running back Willis Lane has emerged as one of the surprise players in the first three weeks of the season.

Both teams’ defenses showed the ability to force turnovers as well.

Some closure in Seidel case?

If you were wondering what the punishment that Richland Two was going to hand down against Blythewood head coach Jason Seidel, we got part of an answer Friday night.

Seidel wasn’t on the sidelines for his team’s 35-21 win over Fairfield Central. His absence is likely part of a suspension for what Richland School District Two called “violations of the district’s position on recruiting.” The district never said what the punishment was or whether it involved Seidel missing any games.

We will see if Seidel’s punishment will last more than just one game. The Bengals are on the road the next two weeks, at North Augusta and Beaufort.

Hammond will be fine

Don’t let Hammond’s 1-2 start be a cause of concern. The Skyhawks played probably their two toughest games in the first three weeks in losses to Pennsylvania power Southern Columbia and Charlotte Country Day (NC) on Friday. That tougher schedule was by design for Hammond coach Erik Kimrey, who wanted his team ready by time the postseason rolls around.

The rest of Hammond’s schedule is with SCISA 3A teams, so there is no reason to not think the Skyhawks aren’t the favorite to win another title.

Chapin, Lugoff-Elgin put on a show

Chapin vs. Lugoff-Elgin might be an early contender for game of the year.

Both teams rallied from 10-point or more deficits during the game, and Chapin trailed 28-25 with 1:24 left to go and just fumbled inside Lugoff-Elgin 25-yard line.

But the Eagles’ defense got a big stop, and QB Roger Pedroni hit Xavier Short with the winning TD with 22 seconds left.

Gray Collegiate’s Mr. 400

Gray Collegiate quarterback Hunter Helms threw for 400 yards for the third straight game. The Holy Cross commit finished with 416 yards and 5 TDs in the win over Dreher despite not playing the fourth quarter.

Helms has unofficially thrown for 1,223 yards in the first three weeks.

Gray will be tested over the next three weeks with games against Oceanside Collegiate, White Knoll and Lamar going ahead.

Game Balls

CA Johnson — Scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-17 with less than a minute left to pull out the road win over Fox Creek. Hornets already have half of their win total from last season.

Ty Olenchuk, QB, Dutch Fork — Became the school’s all-time TD passing leader and now has 69 for his career. Should set the school’s all-time passing yardage mark at some point this season.

Ronnie Porter, RB, Heathwood Hall — Scored three touchdowns as Heathwood defeated Cardinal Newman for the first time since 2014. He finished with 166 yards rushing and also had nine tackles on defense.

Kevin Rholetter and Brandon Edwards, Blythewood — Rholetter was acting coach Friday for Blythewood in place of Seidel and guided Bengals to 35-21 win. Edwards caught a TD pass, ran for one and led the team with 12 tackles.

River Bluff defense — Gave up just 14 yards, scored a touchdown, had two safeties and blocked a punt for another score in win over Pelion.

5 Games to Watch Next Week

Brookland-Cayce at Irmo: Both teams coming off losses, and winner moves to 2-2 on season.

Gilbert at Airport: Should be high-scoring affair with the two of the Midlands’ top offenses facing off.

Gray Collegiate at Oceanside Collegiate (at The Citadel): Two rivals and two of the top-ranked teams in Class 2A square off at Johnson Hagood Memorial Stadium. Oceanside won last year’s meeting.

Heathwood Hall at Laurence Manning: Coming off a big win over rival Cardinal Newman, Highlanders hit the road to face unbeaten Laurence Manning.

River Bluff at Lugoff-Elgin: River Bluff hasn’t been tested in its first three games. That should change against L-E, which is better than its 1-2 record indicates.

How Midlands Top 10 fared

1. Dutch Fork (2-0-1): Def Irmo, 47-7. Up Next: vs. Boiling Springs

2. River Bluff (2-0): Def. Pelion, 62-0. Up Next: at Lugoff-Elgin

3. Gilbert (3-0): Def. Lexington 31-14. Up Next: at Airport

4. Camden (3-0): Def. Hartsville, 41-27. Up Next: vs. Fort Mill

5. Hammond (1-2): Lost to Charlotte Country Day, 24-21. Up Next: at Pinewood Prep

6. AC Flora (3-0): Def. Columbia, 48-0. Up Next: at Richland Northeast (Sept. 20)

7. White Knoll (3-0): Def. Keenan, 49-14. Up Next: at Aiken

8. Lexington (2-1): Lost to Gilbert, 31-14. Up Next: at South Aiken

9. Chapin (2-0): Def. Lugoff-Elgin, 32-28. Up Next: at Newberry

10. Brookland-Cayce (1-2): Lost to Spring Valley, 35-23. Up Next: at Irmo

Next week’s schedule

All games Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Augusta Christian at Cardinal Newman

Beaufort Academy at Richard Winn

Blythewood at North Augusta

Boiling Springs at Dutch Fork

Brookland-Cayce at Irmo

CA Johnson vs Keenan at Memorial

Calhoun County at Fairfield Central

Chapin at Newberry

Columbia at Chester

Dreher vs. Eau Claire at Keenan HS

Fort Mill at Camden

First Baptist at Ben Lippen

Gilbert at Airport

Gray Collegiate at Oceanside Collegiate (At The Citadel)

Hammond at Pinewood Prep

Heathwood Hall at Laurence Manning

Lexington at South Aiken

Lower Richland at Wilson

Mid-Carolina at Batesburg-Leesville

Pelion at Saluda

Newberry Academy at Northside Christian

Northwestern at Ridge View at District 2 Stadium

River Bluff at Lugoff-Elgin

Spring Valley at Richland Northeast (Harry Parone Stadium)

Wade Hampton (H) at Swansea

White Knoll at Aiken

WW King at Palmetto

Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for The State and Island Packet. He has covered high school sports in South Carolina for 16 years and is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.