High School Football

Predictions, schedule and Week 3’s can’t-miss Midlands high school football games

Watch: Airport’s Nanders Lawrence amazing 53-yard TD run

Airport's Nanders Lawrence had a highlight reel 53-yard run in which cut-back almost length of field for touchdown in the 28-26 win over Swansea on Sept. 6, 2019.
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Airport's Nanders Lawrence had a highlight reel 53-yard run in which cut-back almost length of field for touchdown in the 28-26 win over Swansea on Sept. 6, 2019.

Here are the top games to watch and predictions for Week 3 of high school football in the Midlands:

5 can’t-miss games

Blythewood (2-1) at North Augusta (2-1): It’s and interesting non-region test for Blythewood, which had its best offensive showing of the season last week against Fairfield Central. QB Josh Strickland threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns. It will be NA’s first opponent from South Carolina this season. The Yellow Jackets played three teams from Georgia to begin year. Bengals won last year’s matchup, 15-12.

Chapin (2-0) at Newberry (1-1): Both teams are coming off nail-biting wins last week, with Chapin defeating Lugoff-Elgin in finals seconds and Newberry edging Batesburg-Leesville. Newberry’s Phil Strickland is 13-4 all-time against Chapin, including 6-3 as coach at Newberry.

Gilbert (3-0) at Airport (2-1): This has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. Gilbert is averaging 48 points a game and QB Jy Tolen has thrown for over 1,000 yards already. Airport’s Nanders Lawrence has emerged as one of the top dual-threat players in the Midlands. Lawrence has nine touchdowns in three games, including an amazing 53-yarder last week against Swansea.

Gray Collegiate (2-1) vs Oceanside Collegiate (2-0): One of two matchups in Class 2A that feature teams in the top 10 with the other being Abbeville vs. Southside Christian. Gray has a tough trio in quarterback Hunter Helms, running back KZ Adams and Omarion Dollison. Oceanside counters with QB Sean Cooney and RB Keegan Williams.

River Bluff (3-0) at Lugoff-Elgin (1-2): River Bluff has won its first three games by a combined 160-9 and backup quarterback Jackson Stone has played well in place of injured Michael Rikard. Lugoff-Elgin presents a tough challenge for River Bluff and lost 28-18 to the Gators last year. The Demons have been in both of their losses into the fourth quarter and let one slip away last week against Chapin.

Week 3 Midlands game schedule, predictions

Predictions from The State’s Lou Bezjak and Chris Dearing. (All games at 7:30 p.m.)


Augusta Christian at Cardinal Newman (Bezjak-Cardinal Newman; Dearing-Cardinal Newman)

Beaufort Academy at Richard Winn (Bezjak-Beaufort Academy; Dearing-Richard Winn)

Blythewood at North Augusta (Bezjak-Blythewood; Dearing-Blythewood)

Boiling Springs at Dutch Fork (Bezjak-Dutch Fork; Dearing-Dutch Fork)

Brookland-Cayce at Irmo (Bezjak-Irmo; Dearing-Irmo)

CA Johnson vs Keenan at Memorial (Bezjak-Keenan; Dearing-Keenan)

Calhoun County at Fairfield Central (Bezjak-Fairfield Central; Dearing-Fairfield Central)

Chapin at Newberry (Bezjak-Chapin; Dearing-Chapin)

Columbia at Chester (Bezjak-Chester; Dearing-Chester)

Dreher vs. Eau Claire at Keenan HS (Bezjak-Dreher; Dearing-Dreher)

First Baptist at Ben Lippen (Bezjak-First Baptist; Dearing-First Baptist)

Fort Mill at Camden (Bezjak-Camden; Dearing-Camden)

Gilbert at Airport (Bezjak-Gilbert; Dearing-Gilbert)

Gray Collegiate vs. Oceanside Collegiate, at The Citadel (Bezjak-Oceansie; Dearing-Oceanside)

Hammond at Pinewood Prep (Bezjak-Hammond; Dearing-Hammond)

Heathwood Hall at Laurence Manning (Bezjak-Laurence Manning; Dearing-Heathwood)

Lexington at South Aiken (Bezjak-Lexington; Dearing-Lexington)

Lower Richland at Wilson (Bezjak-Wilson; Dearing-Wilson)

Mid-Carolina at Batesburg-Leesville (Bezjak-Batesburg-Leesville; Dearing-Batesburg-Leesville)

Pelion at Saluda (Bezjak-Saluda; Dearing-Saluda)

Newberry Academy at Northside Christian (Bezjak-Newberry Academy; Dearing-Newberry Academy)

Northwestern at Ridge View at District 2 Stadium (Bezjak-Ridge View; Dearing-Ridge View)

River Bluff at Lugoff-Elgin (Bezjak-River Bluff; Dearing-River Bluff)

Spring Valley at Richland Northeast at Harry Parone Stadium (Bezjak-Spring Valley; Dearing-Spring Valley)

Wade Hampton (H) at Swansea (Bezjak-Wade Hampton; Dearing-Wade Hampton)

White Knoll at Aiken (Bezjak-White Knoll; Dearing-White Knoll)

WW King at Palmetto (Bezjak-Palmetto; Dearing-Palmetto)

Season Totals for predictions

Lou Bezjak: 50-23-1

Chris Dearing: 52-21-1

SC Prep Media Polls

First-place votes in parentheses

Class 5A: 1. Dutch Fork (12)’ 2. Gaffney; 3. (tie) Byrnes, Fort Dorchester; 5. Dorman; 6. Hanna; 7. Sumter; 8. River Bluff; 9. West Florence; 10. Berkeley. Receiving votes: Carolina Forest

Class 4A: 1. Myrtle Beach (12); 2. Daniel; 3. North Myrtle Beach; 4. South Pointe; 5. Wilson; 6. Hartsville; 7. Greer; 8. AC Flora; 9. Ridge View; 10. Eastside. Receiving votes: North Augusta, Walhalla, Greenville, Wren, Belton Honea Path, Travelers Rest

Class 3A: 1. Dillon (8); 2. Chapman (3); 3. Camden; 4. Chester; 5. May River; 6. Wade Hampton (H); 7. Gilbert; 8. Cheraw; 9. Strom Thurmond; 10. Aynor. Receiving votes: Marion, Woodruff, Indian Land, Union County, Fairfield Central, Newberry

Class 2A: 1. Abbeville (12); 2. Barnwell; 3. Timberland; 4. Southside Christian; 5. Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 6. Saluda; 7. Oceanside Collegiate; 8. Gray Collegiate; 9. Whale Branch; 10. Andrew Jackson. Receiving votes: Pageland Central, Woodland, East Clarendon

Class A: 1. Green Sea Floyds (10); 2. Wagener-Salley (1); 3. Lamar (1); 4. Lake View; 5. Blackville-Hilda 6. C.E. Murray; 7. Denmark-Olar; 8. Baptist Hill ; 9. Ridge Spring-Monetta; 10. Branchville. Other receiving votes: Great Falls, Williston-Elko, St. John’s, Calhoun Falls Charter, McBee, Dixie, Hemingway


Class 3A: 1. Hammond (5); 2. First Baptist; 3. Laurence Manning; 4. Heathwood Hall; 5. Porter-Gaud

Class 2A: 1. Robert E. Lee (2); 2. Florence Christian (2); 3. Trinity-Byrnes (1); 4. Williamsburg; 5. Hilton Head Christian

Class A: 1. Thomas Heyward (5); 2. Carolina Academy; 3. Pee Dee Academy; T4. Dillon Christian; T4. Bethesda Academy

8-man: T-1. Clarendon Hall (2); T-1. Andrew Jackson Academy (2); 3. Beaufort Academy; 4. Jefferson Davis; 5. St. John’s Christian