Here are some of the top games to watch for Midlands teams in the first round of SCHSL and SCISA playoffs:
Games to Watch
Chapin (4-6) at Dutch Fork (9-0-1): Second meeting of the season between the two teams. Dutch Fork won 55-10 on Oct. 4 and leads all-time series 6-2. Silver Foxes have 35-game unbeaten streak into the game. Dutch Fork QB Ty Olenchuk and WR Jalin Hyat could make school history Friday. Olenchuk needs 175 yards to become the school’s all-time passing yards leader. Hyatt needs 130 yards to become the school’s all-time receiving yards leader.
Chapin got one of the two at-large berths in the playoffs. It is the Eagles’ first playoff appearance since moving up to Class 5A last season. Chapin is believed to be the only team in state history to make playoffs in all five classifications
Westside (5-4) at Spring Valley (5-5): First matchup between two teams. Vikings finished the season by winning three of the last four games to be second in Region 4-5A. Spring Valley quarterback DQ Smith has thrown for 2,103 yards, rushed for 529 yards with 34 total TDs. Westside is coached by former Lexington and Chapin coach Scott Earley.
Westwood (7-3) at Eastside (8-2): Second meeting between the two teams. Eastside won 48-15 in third round of 4A playoffs. Westwood QB Ahmon Green has 2,235 total yards and 24 total TDs. Redhawks defense is giving up 14.2 points a game. Westwood has won its last two first-round games on the road. Eastside is ranked No. 8 in Class 4A.
Walhalla (7-3) at AC Flora (9-1) (at Memorial Stadium): First meeting between the two teams. Second straight year Flora has hosted a first-round playoff game. Falcons are averaging 424 yards per game on offense. AC Flora should have leading rusher Matt Pack (ankle) back for game. Walhalla looking for first playoff win since 1995. Winner of game faces Travelers Rest-Ridge View winner next week.
Travelers Rest (8-2) at Ridge View (6-4) (at District 2 Stadium): Second straight year two teams meet in playoffs. RV won 76-0 last season. Ridge View has made it to the third round of playoffs in two of the last three years. TR’s Brooks Russ-Martin leads team with six interceptions.
Cardinal Newman (5-5) at Heathwood Hall (7-4): Second meeting of the year between two teams. Heathwood won 35-19 on Sept. 6. Heathwood RB Ronnie Porter (1,506) and QB Alex Lewis (1,209) each have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season. Porter and Lewis combined for five TDs in first meeting against Cardinal Newman. CN’s Charlie Skehan leads the Midlands in tackles with 147 and also is tied for the team lead with three interceptions.
Midlands game schedule, predictions
Predictions from The State’s Lou Bezjak and Chris Dearing. (All games at 7:30 p.m.)
Laurens at Blythewood (Lou-Laurens; Chris-Laurens)
Westside at Spring Valley (Lou-Spring Valley; Chris-Spring Valley)
Chapin at Dutch Fork (Lou-Dutch Fork; Chris-Dutch Fork)
Lexington at Fort Dorchester (Lou-Fort Dorchester; Chris-Fort Dorchester)
West Ashley at River Bluff (Lou-River Bluff; Chris-River Bluff)
Lugoff-Elgin at Summerville (Lou-Lugoff-Elgin; Chris-Summerville)
Westwood at Eastside (Lou-Westwood; Chris-Westwood)
Walhalla at AC Flora (Lou-AC Flora; Chris-Walhalla)
Travelers Rest at Ridge View (Lou-Ridge View; Chris-Ridge View)
Marlboro County at Lower Richland (Lou-Lower Richland; Chris-Lower Richland)
Colleton County at Airport (Lou-Airport; Chris-Airport)
Newberry at Chester (Lou-Chester; Chris-Chester)
Fairfield Central at Union County (Lou-Union County; Chris-Union County)
Clinton at Camden (Lou-Camden; Chris-Camden)
Swansea at May River (Lou-May River; Chris-May River)
Ridgeland-Hardeeville at Gilbert (Lou-Gilbert; Chris-Gilbert)
Central at Batesburg-Leesville (Lou-Batesbug-Leesville; Chris-Batesburg-Leesville)
CA Johnson at Buford (Lou-Buford; Chris-Buford)
Blacksburg at Saluda (Lou-Saluda; Chris-Saluda)
Fox Creek at Gray Collegiate (Lou-Gray Collegiate; Chris-Gray Collegiate)
Eau Claire at Burke (Lou-Burke; Chris-Burke)
Augusta Christian at Hammond (Lou-Hammond; Chris-Hammond)
Cardinal Newman at Heathwood Hall (Lou-Heathwood Hall; Chris-Heathwood Hall)
Ben Lippen at First Baptist (Lou-Ben Lippen; Chris-First Baptist)
Holly Hill at Richard Winn (Lou-Richard Winn; Chris-Richard Winn)
Season Totals for predictions
Lou Bezjak: 222-64-1
Chris Dearing: 231-55-1