High School Football

River Bluff-Dutch Fork matchup, plus Week 7’s other top football games, predictions

Here are the top games to watch and predictions for Week 7 of high school football in the Midlands:

5 Can’t Miss Games

River Bluff (6-0) at Dutch Fork (6-0-1): Matchup of two of the Midlands’ four unbeaten teams. Dutch Fork enters the game with a 32-game unbeaten streak and has outscored its opponents 323-63 this season. The Silver Foxes’ Ty Olenchuk needs five more touchdowns (rushing or passing) for 100 in his career. River Bluff is averaging 236.2 yards rushing per game and has won 14 of last 15 regular-season games with the lone loss coming to Dutch Fork last year. Dutch Fork leads all-time series 3-0 with average margin of victory of 40 points.

Camden (6-0) at Fairfield Central (4-3): Region opener for Camden, which is coming off a bye. Camden’s offense is averaging 44.2 points a game, and running back Willis Lane leads Midlands with 1,014 yards rushing. Fairfield leads the all-time series 8-3 but Camden won 56-13 last year to snap the Griffins’ six-game winning streak in the series.

Chapin (3-3) at White Knoll (5-1): White Knoll’s season took a big hit last week when quarterback Aveon Smith went down with a torn ACL against Lexington, ending his season. Jaelin Gray takes over for Smith at quarterback and is 8-of-19 for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Chapin has lost two straight coming into the game but leads the all-time series 2-1 and won 21-17 last year. Zavier Short leads Chapin receivers with 42 catches for 656 yards and nine touchdowns.

Blythewood (4-2) at Irmo (3-4): Region 4-5A opener for Blythewood, which is coming off a bye. Irmo snapped a two-game losing streak with a 27-26 win over Spring Valley last week to begin Region 4-5A play and is looking to start 2-0 in region play for the first time since 2015. Blythewood quarterback Josh Strickland threw for a season-high 344 yards and five touchdowns last time out against Beaufort on Sept. 27. Kaseem Vauls leads Irmo with seven sacks.

Heathwood Hall (5-2) at Ben Lippen (3-3): Heathwood’s five victories are already the most in a season since 2009. Ben Lippen has won four of the last five in series but Heathwood won, 27-26, last year. Both teams have running quarterbacks. Ben Lippen’s Will Taylor has rushed for 789 yards and eight touchdowns. Heathwood’s Alex Lewis has rushed for 841 yards and eight scores. HH’s Ronnie Porter leads the team with 916 yards and 11 scores.

Week 7 Midlands game schedule, predictions

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

AC Flora at Lakewood (Lou-AC Flora; Chris-A.C. Flora)

Airport at North Augusta (Lou-Airport; Chris-North Augusta)

Blythewood at Irmo (Lou-Blythewood; Chris-Blythewood)

CA Johnson at Calhoun County (Calhoun; Chris-C.A. Johnson)

Camden at Fairfield Central (Lou-Camden; Chris-Camden)

Cardinal Newman at Laurence Manning (Lou-Laurence Manning; Chris-Laurence Manning)

Chapin at White Knoll (Lou-Chapin; Chris-Chapin)

Chesterfield at North Central (Lou-Chesterfield; Chris-Chesterfield)

Clinton at Mid-Carolina (Lou-Clinton; Chris-Mid-Carolina)

Emerald at Newberry (Lou-Newberry; Chris-Newberry)

Gray Collegiate at Columbia at Bolden Stadium (Lou-Gray Collegiate; Chris-Gray Collegiate)

Heathwood Hall at Ben Lippen (Lou-Heathwood Hall; Chris-Ben Lippen)

Keenan at Chester (Lou-Chester; Chris-Chester)

Laurens Academy at Richard Winn (Lou-Richard Winn; Chris-Richard Winn)

Lower Richland at Crestwood (Lou-Lower Richland; Chris-Lower Richland)

Lugoff-Elgin at Spring Valley (Lou-Lugoff-Elgin; Chris-Spring Valley)

Newberry Academy at Clarendon Hall (Lou-Clarendon Hall; Chris-Clarendon Hall)

Ninety-Six at Saluda (Lou-Saluda; Chris-Saluda)

Orangeburg-Wilkinson at Dreher (Lou-O-W; Chris-O-W)

Pelion at Edisto (Lou-Edisto; Chris-Edisto)

Porter-Gaud at Hammond (Lou-Hammond; Chris-Hammond)

Richland Northeast at Ridge View at District 2 Stadium (Lou-Ridge View; Chris-Ridge View)

River Bluff at Dutch Fork (Lou-Dutch Fork; Chris-Dutch Fork)

Silver Bluff at Batesburg-Leesville (Lou-Batesburg-Leesville; Chris-Batesburg-Leesville)

South Aiken at Brookland-Cayce (Lou-BC; Chris-B-C)

St. John’s Christian at Northside Christian (Lou-St. John’s; Chris-St. John’s)

Swansea at Strom Thurmond (Lou-Strom Thurmond; Chris-Strom Thurmond)

Westwood at York (Lou-Westwood; Chris-Westwood)

WW King at Calhoun (Lou-Calhoun Academy; Chris-Calhoun Academy)

Season Totals for predictions

Lou Bezjak: 135-42-1

Chris Dearing: 143-34-1

SC Prep Media Polls

SCHSL

Class 5A: 1. Dutch Fork (11); 2. Byrnes; 3. Fort Dorchester; 4. Dorman; 5. Sumter; 6. Gaffney; 7. Clover; 8. River Bluff; 9. Carolina Forest; 10. T.L. Hanna

Receiving votes: Berkeley, Lexington, Woodmont, White Knoll

Class 4A: 1. Myrtle Beach (11); 2. Daniel; 3. South Pointe; 4. North Myrtle Beach; 5. Wilson; 6. A.C. Flora; 7. Wren; 8. Eastside; 9. Belton-Honea Path; 10. Greenville

Receiving votes: Hartsville, Walhalla, Travelers Rest, Westwood

Class 3A: 1. Dillon (7); 2. Chapman (4); 3. Camden; 4. Chester; 5. May River; 6. Gilbert; 7. Wade Hampton; 8. Aynor; 9. Strom Thurmond; 10. Woodruff

Other receiving votes: Marion, Cheraw, Waccamaw

Class 2A: 1. Abbeville (10); 2. Barnwell (1); 3. Southside Christian; 4. Oceanside Collegiate; 5. Timberland; 6. Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 7. Saluda; 8. Andrew Jackson; 9. Gray Collegiate; 10. (tie) Mullins, Woodland, Whale Branch

Others receiving votes: Andrews, St. Joseph’s

Class A: 1. Wagener-Salley (7); 2. Green Sea Floyds (2); 3. Lamar (2); 4. Lake View; 5. Blackville-Hilda; 6. C.E. Murray; 7. Branchville; 8. Ridge Spring-Monetta; 9. Great Falls; 10. (tie) Baptist Hill, Denmark-Olar

Others receiving votes: Cross, Whitmire

SCISA

Class 3A: 1. Hammond (4); 2. Laurence Manning; 3. First Baptist; 4. Heathwood Hall; 5. Ben Lippen

Also receiving votes: Porter-Gaud

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

Also receiving votes: None

Class A: 1. Thomas Heyward (3); 2. Carolina Academy (1); 3. Pee Dee Academy; 4. Bethesda Academy; 5. Dorchester Academy

Also receiving votes: Colleton Prep

SCISA 8-man: 1. Andrew Jackson Academy (3); 2. Clarendon Hall; 3. Richard Winn Academy; 4. St. John’s Christian; 5. Jefferson Davis Academy

Also receiving votes: None

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