High School Football

Analysis: What we learned, Week 8 game balls and next week’s top football matchups

Here are five things that stood out from Week 8 in Midlands high school football:

Wide-open Class 3A

Gilbert and Camden won their Top-10 matchups on Friday night, but there should be a big shakeup in the rankings when they come out Tuesday.

The No. 5 Indians defeated No. 9 Strom Thurmond 30-26 on a late touchdown while No. 6 Camden defeated defending state champion and No. 3 Chester 28-7.

In other action, No. 1 Dillon lost to No. 7 Aynor while Beaufort defeated No. 4 May River. It was Dillon’s first region loss since 2009.

Dillon has been the powerhouse in 3A Lower State for years, but this year the race appears to be wide open. In the upper state, Chapman looks to be the favorite, with Camden, Chester, Fairfield Central, Union County and Newberry worthy challengers.

QB injuries

AC Flora and Blythewood both had their quarterbacks leave Friday night games with injuries.

Flora’s Wise Segars was carted off in an ambulance after a big hit against Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Falcons coach Dustin Curtis said it was only precautionary and Segars is doing fine. His status for this week’s game against Lower Richland is uncertain.

Curtis said he hopes to have leading rusher Matt Pack back this week. Pack missed the game with an ankle injury.

Blythewood QB Josh Strickland left the game against Sumter with a knee injury. Bengals coach Jason Seidel said Saturday it was a sprained knee and he should be fine.

Ridge View gets its shot

Ridge View coach Perry Parks wasn’t worried about his team’s 1-3 start.

The Blazers played a tough early schedule with games against Blythewood, Daniel and Wayne Hills (New Jersey). Parks did it to challenge his team headed into region play and it has worked. RV has rattled off four wins in a row and will host South Pointe next week for the Region 3-4A championship.

“We never been undefeated in region play going into the game against those guys,” Parks said Friday after the 29-18 win over Westwood. “It is going to be a beautiful game.

“We don’t play cupcakes. We play games that are going to get us ready for postseason play. Non-region doesn’t count. If we aren’t good in an area, we are going to get it exposed early in the year and get it corrected.”

Airport, B-C on collision course

Airport and Brookland-Cayce have played once this season in a non-region game, but the second matchup will have bigger stakes involved.

If the Eagles and Bearcats each win this week, it will set up a winner-take-all for the Region 5-4A title the following week at B-C. The Bearcats won the first matchup back in August.

Region title still in reach for Spring Valley

Spring Valley’s postseason fate is in the air going into the final two weeks.

The Vikings’ still can win the Region 4-5A title if they beat Sumter next week and Blythewood in the season finale. But if SV loses twice, there is a chance they can miss the playoffs.

Game Balls

Tyrik McDaniel, DB, Dutch Fork: Tied school record with third punt return for a touchdown.

Ridge View special teams: Blazers executed two fake punts which led to TDs in 29-18 win over Westwood.

CA Johnson football team: Hornets won their fourth game Friday with a win over Eau Claire. It is the first time since 2011 CAJ has won at least four games in a season.

Charlie Skehan, Cardinal Newman, LB: Had two interceptions including a 52-yarder for a TD in Cardinals win over Wilson Hall.

Camden O-line and running game: Bulldogs rushed for 319 yards in win over defending champion Chester.

Columbia football team: Caps won first game of season Friday against Hemingway.

5 Games to Watch Next Week

Chapin at Lexington: Lexington needs a win to set up showdown with River Bluff the following week for second-place in region. A Chapin loss would drop them into fourth, and only top three spots are guaranteed of making playoffs.

Lower Richland at AC Flora: Winner wins Region 5-4A title. Biggest thing for Flora is health of running back Matt Pack and quarterback Wise Segars

Fairfield Central at Chester: Fairfield Central could clinch share of Region 4-3A title with win. A Chester victory might create a three-way tie for first. Chester likely without QB Zan Dunham for a third straight game.

Saluda at Abbeville: First place in Region 2-2A on the line in this matchup.

South Pointe at Ridge View: Former Gamecock DeVonte Holloman brings his unbeaten South Pointe team to Midlands for third straight week. Winner of Region 3-4A at stake this time.

How Midlands Top 10 Fared

1. Dutch Fork (8-0-1): Def. Lexington, 43-7. Up next: at White Knoll (Nov. 1)

2. AC Flora (7-0): Def. Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 28-14. Up next: vs. Lower Richland

3. River Bluff (8-1): Def. Chapin, Up next: vs. White Knoll

4. Gilbert (6-1): Def. Strom Thurmond, 30-26. Up next: at Edisto

5. Lexington (6-2): Lost to Dutch Fork, 43-7. Up next: vs. Chapin

6. Camden (7-1): Def. Chester, 28-7. Up next: at Indian Land

7. Hammond (7-2): Def. Laurence Manning, 47-7. Up next: at Cardinal Newman

8. Blythewood (5-3): Lost to Sumter, 28-7. Up next: at Lugoff-Elgin

9. Airport (6-2): Def. Aiken, 37-12. Up next: vs. South Aiken

10. Westwood (5-3): Lost to Ridge View, 29-18. Up next: vs. Lancaster

This Week’s Schedule

Friday

All Games at 7:30 p.m.

Aiken at Brookland-Cayce

Blythewood at Lugoff-Elgin

Calhoun Academy at Newberry Academy

Camden at Indian Land

Camden Military at Heathwood Hall

Columbia at Calhoun County

Chapin at Lexington

Dreher at Lakewood

Fairfield Central at Chester

Fox Creek at Batesburg-Leesville

Gray Collegiate at Eau Claire at Keenan Stadium

Gilbert at Edisto

Hammond at Cardinal Newman

Lancaster at Westwood

Lewisville at North Central

Lower Richland at AC Flora at Memorial Stadium

Newberry at Union County

Northside Christian at Holly Hill

Porter-Gaud at Ben Lippen

Richland Northeast at York

Saluda at Abbeville

South Aiken at Airport

South Pointe at Ridge View

Strom Thurmond at Pelion

Sumter at Spring Valley

WW King at Richard Winn

White Knoll at River Bluff

Woodruff at Mid-Carolina

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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