Preview Capsules for Week Three of High School Football

  • Posted: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:09 a.m.
    UPDATED: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:42 a.m.
Staff photo by Mike Adams
Adam Allen (8) of South Aiken is expected to play a key role tonight against Silver Bluff.
Staff photo by Mike Adams Adam Allen (8) of South Aiken is expected to play a key role tonight against Silver Bluff.

South Aiken (1-2) at Silver Bluff (2-1)

Last time they played

Silver Bluff defeated South Aiken 30-6 last season.

Players to watch

South Aiken

• Adam Allen, RB. Allen can be a workhorse running back and has displayed hard running beyond first contact that could result in big plays.

• Rasool Clemons, DE. Clemons didn’t play in last week’s 65-7 loss to Northwestern because of an arm injury, and his ability to be a disruptive force was sorely missed. He’s expected to play tonight.

• Skyler Lightbody, WR/K. Lightbody has emerged as one of the Thoroughbreds’ top targets in the receiving game, and his powerful leg can create long fields for opponents.

Silver Bluff

• Shaquez Wright, RB. Wright will be looking to add to his 232 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging more than 8 yards per carry.

• Jaylen Lawrence, QB. Silver Bluff may not throw the ball often, but Lawrence makes the most of every pass. He has connected on 14 of 20 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns this year.

• Myles Corbitt, RB. Corbitt is coming off a big game against Southside Christian in which he carried the ball nine times for 112 yards.

What this means

Silver Bluff is hoping to extend its current two-game winning streak. The Bulldogs seem to have improved in each of the two weeks following their season-opening loss at Strom Thurmond. Bulldogs’ head coach Al Lown still sees room for improvement in tonight’s matchup. In particular, Lown was bothered by the team’s two fumbles in last week’s win over Southside Christian.

Silver Bluff currently owns bragging rights in the series with South Aiken. The Bulldogs have won the past five meetings between the teams.

Keys to the game

Lown knows that for his team to have success they will need to limit Bo Baldwin’s ability to buy time.

“He’s a great passer on the run. That’s possibly when he’s best, when he moves around,” Lown said of the South Aiken quarterback. “We’ve definitely been working on some things in practice to try and contain him.”

Silver Bluff will have Jalen Douse available for the secondary. The senior defensive back missed some time with a concussion, but Lown hopes he will be able to make an impact in limiting the T-Breds’ passing attack.

Douse isn’t the only player expected to return. Clemons and Jeff McReynolds missed last week’s game for the T-Breds, and Rod Wise, the team’s top tackler, missed the second half because of injury. Head coach Jeremy West said all three are expected to be available tonight.

South Aiken will also have it’s hands full with the Bulldogs’ rushing game. Lown’s squad has a wealth of backs, who can all have big games at any time.

“Teams really have to prepare for all of them. They can’t really key in on one guy, and that’s a good thing,” Lown said.

West bemoaned his players’ poor tackling last week. The T-Breds will have to improve immediately or risk another long game as the Bulldogs’ stable of ball carriers could break loose for a series of big plays.

What they’re saying

“Hopefully we cut down on the mistakes we’ve been making. We just didn’t look as sharp as we could last week.” — Al Lown, Silver Bluff head coach

“(Silver Bluff’s a) quality team, a projected state champion contender and it’s always tough to play down at Petticoat Junction.” — Jeremy West, South Aiken head coach

Grovetown (1-1)

at North Augusta (3-0)

Last time they played

North Augusta defeated Grovetown 42-7 last season.

Players to watch

Grovetown

• Justin Dears, QB. Dears is the maestro who makes the Grovetown Wing-T operate and is coming off a game where he ran 59 yards for a touchdown and completed a 34-yard strike for another score.

• Linward Jackson, RB. Grovetown utilizes a number of ball carriers, but Jackson appears to be its top back, and he’s coming off an eight-carry, 81-yard performance in a 48-14 win over Swainsboro.

• Donovan Davis, TE/LB. Davis is like a sixth lineman for the Warriors and one of the top tacklers on defense.

North Augusta

• Willie McCloud/Dashawn Barnes, RBs. The Yellow Jackets’ two-headed, ball-carrying monster has combined to rush for 579 yards and nine touchdowns.

• Kyle Severance, LB. Severance is coming off a monster 11-tackle game and is one of many ball-hawking players on North Augusta’s defense.

• Keyon West, WR. West is the area’s top receiver through three games, with a dozen receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

What this means

This is North Augusta’s second consecutive game against a Georgia school. Head coach Dan Pippin like playing the schools located on the other side of the Savannah River because of the close proximity to North Augusta, which creates area rivalries.

“It’s exciting playing schools so close to us,” Pippin said of the game that will count for the full allotment of Class AAAA playoff points should the Yellow Jackets prevail. “Grovetown is actually closer than Aiken is to us.”

North Augusta will be looking to maintain it’s red-hot start, as it has demolished its opponents by a combined score of 133-9 in three games. It manhandled Grovetown a year ago in a victory that catapulted the Yellow Jackets on to a five-game winning streak.

The Warriors will certainly be looking for revenge but likely don’t have the talent at the skill positions to keep up or disrupt the Yellow Jackets.

Keys to the game

North Augusta will look to continue to impose its will and brand of football on opponents. Should the offense find its rhythm playing at a rapid tempo expect the Yellow Jackets to add to their gaudy point totals.

Expect them to pass a good deal against Grovetown’s 5-2 defensive front. That formation will likely create one-on-one matchups for North Augusta’s deep receiving corps, which could lead to broken plays and long gains should quarterback Trib Reece make the right reads and hit the open man.

“I’d like to throw it more on first down and I’d like to dictate the pace,” said Pippin, who certainly won’t be abandoning the run. “They put so many players in the box, the offensive line has to be good. But we’re still going to try and run the football and find ways no matter how many they have in the box. We’re going to look for mismatches.”

The Yellow Jackets defense will need to be patient and disciplined going against the Wing-T for the first time during the regular season. Since the Warriors are ball carriers by committee, North Augusta has to be cognizant that at some point almost every Grovetown player will get a touch. The Yellow Jackets will see the full array of Wing-T plays, but the Warriors seem to be at their best with power runs.

North Augusta also can’t afford to cheat on the run and ignore the pass. Grovetown only passed twice last week, but they were both completed including a touchdown. Dears will take advantage of the situation if North Augusta doesn’t honor his ability to throw.

What they’re saying

“We’ve got to be focused. If we’re not, we’re going to get beat,” — Dan Pippin, North Augusta head coach

Batesburg-Leesville (1-1)

at Strom Thurmond (2-0)

Last time they played

Strom Thurmond won 55-14.

Players to watch

Batesburg Leesville

• Jacquiel Chandler, QB. The dual-threat quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran for two more in a close loss to Brookland-Cayce last week.

• Rickie Smith, FB. Smith ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries last week and will be joined by speed back Terrance Wilson in the Panthers’ option backfield.

• Paul McKiver, DL. Strom Thurmond head coach lee Sawyer said McKiver was a “huge guy,” comparing him to Saluda’s trio of massive linemen that each weight around 300 pounds.

Strom Thurmond

• Chad Gilchrist, RB. Gilchrist cleared the 100-yard mark against Saluda last week, but Sawyer said the Rebels will need him to run between the tackles against Batesburg-Leesville.

• Cody Griffith, OLB. Along with Chandler Talbert, Griffith will need to be disciplined against the Panthers’ option attack.

• Jauveer Hammond, QB. The Rebels are winning, but Sawyer maintains they will need more than the 162 passing yards Hammond has racked up in two games.

What this means

Sawyer’s mantra is for the team to look better each game than it did in the last. He said he didn’t see enough of a progression from his team’s opener to its second game, and with a pair of Class AAAA foes – South Aiken and North Augusta – looming on the horizon, he said that will be important against Class AA’s Batesburg-Leesville.

“I think the biggest thing, momentum-wise, we need to show some drastic improvement,” he said.

This will be the Rebels’ second game in their renovated home stadium, and Sawyer said the change to the west side of the field was noticeable.

“You could see a lot better; the sun wasn’t staring you right in the face,” he said.

Keys to the game

The Rebels have throttled the Panthers in recent years, but Sawyer said his squad’s rivals have shown improvement so far this year.

That progress starts with Chandler, who has the experience to know all the reads necessary in coach Jerry Brown’s option scheme.

“You can tell this is his second year doing it,” Sawyer said of Chandler. “He’s rolling.”

On the other side of the ball, the Panthers run a 3-4 defense, which Strom Thurmond hasn’t seen since it lost to Hartsville in the Class AAA Lower State title game last year. In addition to penetrating the middle of the Panther defense, Sawyer hopes his offense can take to the skies to get Kendall Hill and the rest of the Rebel receivers involved.

“We’ve got to really get more consistent throwing and catching than we have the first two games,” he said.

What they’re saying

“They’re a lot better than they were last year, it seems like.” — Lee Sawyer, Strom Thurmond head coach

Wagener-Salley (2-1)

at Whitmire (0-2)

Last time they played

Wagener-Salley won 48-0 last season.

Players to watch

Wagener-Salley

• Eric Corley, RB. With 51 carries for 420 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, Corley leads the area in all three categories on the ground.

• Xavier Keitt, LB. Keitt has 27 tackles, but he’s at the center of a defensive effort that head coach Ken Tucker said needs to be more efficient this week.

• Malcolm Stroman, QB. Stroman was a little better through the air last week, but he hasn’t been near the overall factor that he was a year ago for the War Eagles.

Whitmire

• Cole Miller, WR. Tucker said Miller was the total package at receiver: tall with good speed and good hands. He had seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown last week in a 41-20 loss to North Central.

• Alex Ellison, RB. Ellison has 31 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Tucker was complimentary of his ability with the ball in his hands.

• Cole Whitmire, WR/DL. In addition to five catches for 38 yards, Whitmire is among the team leaders with 14 tackles, one for loss.

What this means

Wagener-Salley needs a bounceback after a surprising 30-27 loss to Pelion last week. As tough as losing on a late field goal would be, even harder to handle is the fact that the War Eagles gave up 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Tucker said this week’s preparations have been about avoiding a similar fate in the future.

“I think we’ve had a pretty good week of practice, just learning from mistakes we made in the fourth quarter last week,” he said.

Momentum is going to be at a premium after this week, with the War Eagles beginning their region slate by hosting Blackville-Hilda next Friday.

Keys to the game

Offensively, Tucker felt like his team needed to return to the basics.

He still wants balance, but he felt that could be achieved through a simplified playbook centered around the War Eagle running game and play action. With Corley in the backfield, a focus on the run shouldn’t be a problem.

“He’s got a lot of big runs for us this year,” Tucker said of his senior running back. “We’re not able to consistently run the football.”

When the Wolverines have the ball, Tucker said the desired adjustments will be less about strategy and more about execution. Among other things, tackling woes were a major problem in the meltdown against the rival Panthers.

“We gave up too many yards after contact to be successful against Pelion,” he said.

What they’re saying

“Maybe we were trying to do too much, especially on the offensive side of the ball.” — Ken Tucker, Wagener-Salley head coach

Williston-Elko (1-2) at Denmark-Olar (0-3)

Last time they played

Williston-Elko won 46-0 last season.

Players to watch

Williston-Elko

• Faheem Richburg, WR. Richburg had a receiving touchdown and returned a kick for a score in last week’s 30-9 win over Barnwell, and he’s also been a part of the running game.

• Dalton Mundy, QB. Mundy went 7-of-8 with 129 yards last week in what head coach Dwayne Garrick said could be the “best game of his career.”

• Jacob Vargo, LB. Against the Vikings’ pistol option offense, the Blue Devil linebackers will have to continue progressing and maturing.

Denmark-Olar

• Ricco Parler, QB. As the trigger man for the Viking attack, Parler has 28 carries for 189 yards and has completed 12 of 30 passes for 223 yards.

• Rashod Johnson, RB. The senior is averaging better than 8 yards a carry with 131 and a touchdown on 16 attempts.

• Xavier Reed, FB. At 5-foot-7 and 205 pounds, the senior is a load to bring down and has racked up 118 yards on 23 carries.

What this means

After three games against quality programs from larger classifications, the Blue Devils get a chance against fellow Class A competitor Denmark-Olar before kicking off their region slate next week.

Despite that and the satisfaction of beating rival Barnwell last week, Garrick isn’t letting the team rest on its laurels this week.

“We’re still going to work hard to try to get better, though,” he said despite avenging last year’s loss to the Warhorses.

Denmark-Olar is a former region foe for Williston-Elko and will be looking for its first win of the year.

Keys to the game

Another week, another offensive style for the Blue Devil defense to decipher. This time it’s a pistol option led by Parler and Reed, one that will require discipline from Garrick’s defensive unit.

“We’re going to have to play well on defense,” he said. “I think we’re going to be all right on offense.”

The Vikings have surrendered 28 points or more in each of their three losses this year, and teams have beaten them with a variety attacks, from Lake Marion’s balance to Blackville-Hilda’s running game. Garrick is looking for the balanced version for his offense.

“We’re going to have to throw it around a little this week to be successful,” he said.

What they’re saying

“I hate to be 1-2, but I think it’s going to be good for our team in the long run.” — Dwayne Garrick, Williston-Elko

Ridge Spring-Monetta (2-1) at McCormick (0-2)

Last time they played

McCormick defeated Ridge Spring-Monetta 33-14 last season.

Players to watch

Ridge Spring-Monetta

• Travious Wigfall, RB/LB. Wigfall was named the Aiken Standard Player of the Week for Week Two. On the year, Wigfall has 293 rushing yards. He has also made an impact on defense.

• Reggie Preston, QB. The senior quarterback already has 630 passing yards on the year through three games. Preston has been fairly accurate too, completing just over 50 percent of his pass attempts.

• A.J. Hopkins, RB. Hopkins is another athletic back who is used all over the field by head coach Heath Corley.

McCormick

• Jay Weaver, QB. Weaver possesses the ability to pass and run the ball. The Trojans will need to get pressure on him to limit effectiveness.

• Kevion Jackson, RB. Jackson has big play ability out of the backfield, as shown by his 62-yard run for a touchdown in the Chiefs last game.

•Kenneth Gunter, DE. The imposing defensive lineman will be a big factor in how well the Trojans are able to run the ball.

What this means

McCormick had a week off to regroup from an 0-2 start to the year and get healthy. The team hopes to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Fox Creek two weeks ago.

The Trojans, on the other hand, are coming into the game with some momentum after their dominating win over Dixie. The team was clicking on all cylinders that night rushing the ball at will and coming up with defensive stops.

Keys to the game

The rushing attack will be a big factor in this week’s game too. McCormick has struggled to stop the run at times early in the season. The Chiefs were pounded by Lincoln’s rushing game in the first game of the season, and Fox Creek had some success running the ball as well.

“We’ll have to see what they do to adjust to our scheme but our intention is generally always to run the ball more often than we pass it,” Corley said, adding that a few times early in the season they’ve had to abandon that approach. “We’re pretty versatile though so if we have to change because of their gameplan we can do that.”

The other part of the game the Trojans will focus on is stopping the option attack of McCormick led by Weaver. Corley likened the Cheifs’ offense to watching Georgia Tech’s offense.

“They’re very good and fast,” Corley said. “They force you to play 1-on-1 defense. We’ve been preaching about discipline all week to our defense to make sure we don’t get out of position.”

What they’re saying

“It eases you mind a little bit knowing that you have several options to go to on offense. You may see the Preston and Wigfall’s name in the papers, but we’ve got other guys who make big contributions too.” – Heath Corley, Ridge Spring-Monetta head coach

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