High School Football

Week 3 football observations, game balls and quick look at next week’s top matchups

Here are five things that stood out from Week 3 in Midlands high school football:

Gilbert maintaining focus

Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart won’t let his team look ahead to its big matchup with River Bluff on Sept. 27, but that didn’t let the students from doing it.

For the second straight week, the Gilbert student section started chanting “We Want River Bluff!!!” near the end of the game.

The Indians are off to a 4-0 start and quarterback Jy Tolen has asserted himself as one of the Midlands’ best quarterbacks early in the season. He has thrown for almost 1,300 yards and has a lot of weapons around him with the running back combo of Ty Walker and Dre Cook to go along with receivers Matt Reed and Alec Holt.

Gilbert’s offensive line is underrated and its defense shut out a very good Airport team in the final quarter Friday.

Barber’s back for Fairfield Central

Fairfield Central got a boost Friday night with running back Will Barber back in the lineup.

Barber suffered a leg injury in a jamboree in Aug. 12 and was expected to miss four to six weeks.

Griffins coach Demetrius Davis said he didn’t use Barber a lot Friday against Calhoun but his workload should increase in the coming weeks.

Barber had 1,190 yards from scrimmage last season and nine touchdowns.

Walker back on track

It took four games but River Bluff standout running back Braden Walker finally went over 100 yards for the first time this season.

Walker had 172 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Lugoff-Elgin. The senior entered the game with just 204 yards rushing through three games. He had 1,487 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

The Gators haven’t needed big games from Walker with blowout wins in their first three games and the emergence in the passing game of Jackson Stone. Riley Myers also has helped out in the running game and was the team’s leading rusher heading into Friday’s matchup.

But the Gators will need bigger games from Walker as their schedule gets tougher in the second half of the season.

Newberry gaining momentum

Newberry coach Phil Strickland had a lot of questions about his team following its first scrimmage against Gilbert in early August.

But three games into the season, Strickland’s questions are getting answered. The Bulldogs won their second straight game with a 31-14 victory over Chapin. Newberry defeated a good Batesburg-Leesville team the weak before.

Newberry had 446 yards of offense against the 5A Eagles, including 307 on the ground.

Weather has impact again

Hurricane Dorian didn’t cancel any games in the Midlands last week but heavy rain had an impact on Friday’s games.

Several games were delayed with two games moved to Saturday and Batesburg-Leesville vs. Mid-Carolina to be played on Monday.

Game Balls

Lexington’s Owen Cofer: Had six tackles and big interception with less than three minutes left to seal 35-28 win over South Aiken.

Camden running game: Had three players rush for more than 100 yards in game: Mikah Davis (181), Willis Lane (123) and Jaffari Pearson (124). As a team, the Bulldogs ran for 425 yards in the win over Fort Mill.

Ahmorae Wilmore: Newberry running back had 218 yards and three touchdowns in win over Chapin.

Hunter Helms/KZ Adams, Gray Collegiate: Usually don’t give game balls in losing efforts, but Gray Collegiate duo deserve it. Helms threw for more than 300 yards and three scores while Adams rushed for 215, three touchdowns in loss to Oceanside Collegiate.

Javaris DeSant, RB Keenan: Rushed for season-high 205 yards and three touchdowns in win over CA Johnson.

5 Games to Watch Next Week

Dutch Fork at Blythewood: Blythewood has one of the best secondaries in Midlands and will be tested by top-ranked Dutch Fork’s big-play passing game.

Gray Collegiate at White Knoll: White Knoll is looking for its second 5-0 start in school history and will try to slow down Gray’s high-scoring offense.

Newberry at Fairfield Central: One of best non-region matchups year in and year out. This year’s game shouldn’t disappoint either.

Ridge View at Daniel: Ridge View stumbled against Northwestern and now gets long road trip to face second-ranked Daniel, which features Tyler Venables.

West Florence at Camden: Second straight 5A opponent for 3A Camden. Both teams are unbeaten and ranked in their respective classes.

How Midlands Top 10 Fared

1. Dutch Fork (2-0-1): def. Boiling Springs, 50-6. Up Next: at Blythewood

2. River Bluff (4-0): def. Lugoff-Elgin 36-19; vs. Irmo

3. Gilbert (4-0): def. Airport, 42-32. Up next: at Dreher

4. Camden (4-0): Def Fort Mill. Up next: vs. West Florence

5. AC Flora (3-0): Of. Up next: at Richland Northeast

6. White Knoll (4-0): def. Aiken, 51-6. Up next: vs. Gray Collegiate

7. Chapin (2-1): Lost to Newberry, 31-14. Up next: vs. Spring Valley

8. Gray Collegiate (2-2): Lost to Oceanside Collegiate, 49-42. Up Next: at White Knoll

9. Airport (2-2): Lost to Gilbert, 42-32. Up next: at Lower Richland

10. Westwood (2-1): Off. Up next: at South Aiken

This week’s schedule

Thursday

Columbia vs. Fox Creek at Keenan HS

Friday

AC Flora at Richland Northeast at Harry Parone Stadium

Airport at Lower Richland

Batesburg-Leesville at Lexington

Ben Lippen at Augusta Christian

CA Johnson at Pelion

Cardinal Newman at First Baptist

Carolina Pride at Keenan

Dutch Fork at Blythewood

Eau Claire at McCormick

Gilbert at Dreher at Memorial Stadium

Gray Collegiate at White Knoll

Hammond at Wilson Hall

Heathwood Hall at Pinewood Prep

Irmo at River Bluff

Jefferson Davis at Richard Winn

Lugoff-Elgin at Fort Mill

Mid-Carolina at Ninety-Six

Newberry at Fairfield Central

Newberry Academy at Wardlaw

Ridge View at Daniel

Spring Valley at Chapin

Swansea at Calhoun County

Westwood at South Aiken

West Florence at Camden

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