High School Football

Analysis: What we learned, Week 5 game balls and next week’s top football matchups

Here are five things that stood out from Week 5 in Midlands high school football:

Segars settling in for AC Flora

There were plenty of questions around the AC Flora program coming into the season, and one of them was at the quarterback position.

Wise Segars transferred from Wilson Hall to Flora with a lot of unknowns about him. He was coming from a SCISA 3A program at Wilson Hall that ran the flexbone offense.

But halfway through the season, Segars seems to be settling in and played his best game of the season Friday in Flora’s 49-43 win over Chapin. Segars had 313 yards of offense and rushed for five touchdowns, including an 80-yarder in the first quarter.

“Learned that from Wilson Hall,” Segars joked about his 80-yard run. “It was tough, early in the spring getting used to everything. I wasn’t getting into the rhythm but I am starting to get into the rhythm and catch on. It has been really good.”

Flora coach Dustin Curtis joked Segars probably thought he was playing back at Wilson Hall with all the running that he did Friday. Segars had just 21 carries through the first four games but ran it 14 times against Chapin.

“He showed the wheels and was huge,” Curtis said. “His ability to read the plays tonight and his experience reading in his former system was the difference when we ran our stretch-read plays.

Give us more Gilbert and River Bluff

River Bluff and Gilbert have met every year since RB opened earlier this decade, and hopefully that won’t change.

The teams’ game Friday lived up to the build-up and they delivered a classic with the Gators rallying from two scores down to defeat the Indians 48-40.

Since his arrival, Chad Leaphart has Gilbert trending up. Blair Hardin has re-energized the Gators program since he got there three seasons ago. This game has given fans in Lexington County something to look forward to each year.

Who can run the table?

There are five unbeaten teams in the Midlands after the first half of the season, and I think two of them have a good chance to finish the regular season that way.

The obvious first choice is Dutch Fork. The three-time defending champs are unbeaten in their last 31 games and have outscored opponents 244-26 since Week 0.

I think AC Flora also has a real good shot to do the same. THe Falcons survived their toughest test of the season Friday with a win over Chapin and begin Region 4-4A play next week against Crestwood. The Falcons have a powerful running game led by Matthew Pack and the defense has the ability to get after the quarterback. Only one team, Orangeburg-Wilkinson, has a record above .500 in the region.

The path will be tougher for the other unbeatens, River Bluff, White Knoll and Camden.

River Bluff gets Dutch Fork in two weeks, and the Silver Foxes handled the Gators 56-14 last season.

White Knoll is 5-0 but still has Dutch Fork on the schedule. The Timberwolves open up region play next week against Lexington.

Camden will find out if it will go unbeaten over the next three weeks. The Bulldogs have a bye this week but then get Fairfield Central and defending 3A champion Chester to open up region play. If Camden wins those two games, it will be in the driver’s seat in Region 4-3A and have a good chance to go 10-0 in the regular season.

Westwood has chance to make early statement

I thought before the season that Westwood could contend for the Region 3-4A title, and they will get a chance to make a statement next week against perennial region favorite South Pointe.

Westwood stumbled in its opener against Lugoff-Elgin but has won four straight since, including Friday’s 26-7 win at Fairfield Central.

Quarterback Ahmon Green has put together back-to-back solid performances and the Redhawks have been pretty balanced on offense. Westwood’s defense is allowing just 10 points a game.

Hard to get a handle on B-C

It is hard to get a good read on the Brookland-Cayce football team.

The Bearcats had a couple of good wins, including Friday’s 35-27 victory against Newberry, and played a tough non-region schedule.

I still think B-C has the pieces to win a Region 5-4A title. If the team can get consistency at the quarterback spot, I think the Bearcats can compete for a region tile.

The region title will likely come down to last regular-season game against Airport.. But the Bearcats get a tough test next week against North Augusta.

Game balls

AC Flora offensive line: One of the strengths in Falcons’ 5-0 start. Didn’t allow a sack Friday and was key as Flora rushed for 432 yards in win over Chapin.

The Swamp: More than 5,000 poured into River Bluff’s homefield provided to be a great, playoff-type atmosphere for Friday’s clash with Gilbert. Fans got their money’s worth.

Pelion team: Not been an easy year for the Panthers, who finally got first win of the season Friday against Columbia.

Josh Strickland, QB, Blythewood: Had his best game of the season by going 17-of-20 for 344 yards and five touchdowns against Beaufort.

Andre Wilson, WR, Hammond: Had more than 200 all-purpose yards and touchdowns running, receiving and on special teams in win over First Baptist.

5 Games to Watch Next Week

Abbeville at Batesburg-Leesville: B-L coming off a bye and opens up region play against four-time defending Class 2A champs.

Dutch Fork at Chapin: Dutch Fork has scored 49 or more points in five straight games and gets a Chapin defense that has given up a lot of points and yards in last three weeks.

Gray Collegiate at Lamar: Gray Collegiate snapped Lamar’s 28-game home winning streak last year and gets a Silver Foxes team that rallied Friday to beat Lake View in overtime 36-34.

South Pointe at Westwood: Former Gamecock and first-year South Pointe coach Davonte Holloman returns to Columbia with his unbeaten South Pointe squad. South Pointe is 3-0 all-time against Redhawks.

White Knoll at Lexington: Big Region 5-5A opener for two rivals. Lexington defense will try and slow down WK quarterback Aveon Smith, who had nine touchdowns last time out.

How Midlands Top 10 Fared

1. Dutch Fork (5-0-1): Def Northwestern 49-0. Up next: at Chapin

2. River Bluff (6-0): Def. Gilbert, 48-40. Up next: at Dutch Fork (Oct. 11)

3. Gilbert (5-1): Lost to River Bluff, 48-40. Up next: vs. Swansea

4. (tie) White Knoll (5-0): Off. Up next: at Lexington

4. (tie) Camden (6-0): Def. Richland Northeast, 53-0. Up next: at Fairfield Central (Oct. 11)

6. AC Flora (5-0): Def. Chapin, 49-43. Up next: vs. Crestwood

7. Westwood (4-1): Def. Fairfield Central, 26-7. Up next: vs. South Pointe

8. Newberry (3-2): Lost to Brookland-Cayce, 35-27. Up next: at Woodruff

9. Hammond (4-2): Def. First Baptist, 55-7. Up next: at Augusta Christian

10. Saluda (4-1): Lost to Southside Christian, 16-13. Up next: vs. Silver Bluff

This week’s schedule

All games start at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday

Columbia at CA Johnson at Memorial Stadium

Fairfield Central at Keenan

Friday

Abbeville at Batesburg-Leesville

Ben Lippen at Wilson Hall

Calhoun County at Eau Claire at Keenan

Cardinal Newman at Pinewood Prep

Crestwood at AC Flora at Memorial Stadium

Dreher at Lower Richland

Dutch Fork at Chapin

Gray Collegiate at Lamar

Hammond at Augusta Christian

Heathwood Hall at Porter-Gaud

Lancaster at Richland Northeast at Harry Parone Stadium

Lugoff-Elgin at Sumter

Mid-Carolina at Emerald

Midland Valley at Airport

Newberry at Woodruff

North Augusta at Brookland-Cayce

North Central at Central

Northside Christian at Cathedral

Richard Winn at Newberry Academy

Ridge View at York

Silver Bluff at Saluda

South Pointe at Westwood

Spring Valley at Irmo

Swansea at Gilbert

White Knoll at Lexington

WW King at Jefferson Davis

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.
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