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Aiken Hornets running back Jeremiah Green (2) runs to the outside in a high school football game against the Chester Cyclones at Hagood Stadium.

Strom Thurmond (1-0) at Aiken (0-1)

Last time they played

Strom Thurmond defeated Aiken 37-6 on Aug. 25, 2017.

Players to watch

Strom Thurmond

  • Jequan Harris, QB. Harris completed 11 of 14 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown in the Rebels' first game
  • Stanley Hill, RB. Aiken can expect a heavy dose of Hill. He ran the ball 17 times for 155 yards and a touchdown last week.

Aiken

  • Alex Thomas, LB. Head coach J.W. Montgomery said Thomas has worked hard on making the necessary adjustments this week. 
  • Talik Jones, DE. Jones had 10 tackles in the Hornets' season-opening defeat.
  • Stavon Porter, WR. Porter scored one of the Hornets' two touchdowns in last week's game. He finished with 95 yards receiving.

Keys to the game

The run game will be critical.

Chester had a ton of success running the ball against Aiken last week, finishing the game with 401 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns. Strom Thurmond ran for 230 yards in their game, and will be looking to improve on any areas in the run game they may have felt were lacking last week. 

Aiken head coach J.W. Montgomery said he feels his players understand what went wrong in the opener. Missed reads and some issues with tackling proved costly. The extra focus on stopping the run could also lead to some openings for Harris and the Rebels in the pass game. Harris' performance in the opening game points to a coaching staff that has faith in him and willingness to pass the ball when needed.

Aiken plans to play to its strengths on offense, which is at their skill positions. This week they are focused on consistency and finding the right balance of  being a quick-strike offense and an offense that moves the chains and pieces together the long drives.

What they're saying

"We still did some good things last week, and I'm confident these guys are going to continue to get better week in and week out." — J.W. Montgomery, Aiken head coach 

Lakeside (Ga.) (1-0) at South Aiken (0-1)

Last time they played

Lakeside defeated South Aiken 37-0 on Sept. 10, 1999.

Players to watch

Lakeside

  • Jaden Taylor, QB. Taylor rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns in last week's win over Midland Valley.
  • John Arneman, LB. Arneman made four tackles and intercepted a pass last week.
  • Tony Jenkins, LB/DB. Jenkins had five tackles, including one for a loss, against Midland Valley.

South Aiken

  • Jesse Sanders, QB. Sanders passed for 78 yards and rushed for 100 and two touchdowns in last week's loss to Greenwood.
  • Ryan Mayes, WR. Mayes was a reliable target for Sanders in the opener, catching six passes for 66 yards.
  • Zaire Harrison, DL. Harrison was disruptive in last week's loss and can have a big impact against Lakeside.

Keys to the game

South Aiken needs to cut down on some of the mistakes made in last week's loss to Greenwood.

T-Breds head coach Chris Hamilton knew there would be mistakes; it's a young team. But some of them were costly and may have cost South Aiken the game.

Hamilton felt the defense played well enough to get the win, but they were left out on the field too long as the offense failed to click. They'll need to get in sync this week to keep the defense fresh against Taylor and Lakeside's offense.

The Panthers feel that the defense is the strength of the team, and they're riding high after a win last week over Midland Valley.

What they're saying

"I'm very interested to see how we're gonna respond. Hopefully we'll eliminate some mistakes. If we do that, we'll be back to playing T-Bred football like we've played the last two years." — Chris Hamilton, South Aiken head coach

North Augusta (1-0) at Evans (Ga.) (0-1)

Last time they played

North Augusta defeated Evans 35-23 on Aug. 25, 2017.

Players to watch

North Augusta

  • Caree Collier, LB. Collier made 16 total tackles and returned the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown in last week's win over Thomson.
  • Bradley Godwin, QB. Godwin rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns after taking over for Tanner White.
  • Jacari Buckson, RB. Buckson rushed for 170 yards and a touchdown in last week's win.

Evans

  • Derrick Canteen, DB. Canteen, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior cornerback, has scholarship offers from Ball State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern, among others.
  • AJ Hasan, RB. Hasan rushed for 93 yards in Evans' loss to Effingham County.
  • Dedrrick Holmes, WR/DB. Holmes, a 6-2, 200-pound senior wide receiver and safety, was a preseason All-State selection.

Keys to the game

Getting back to basics and getting the little things right will be important for North Augusta, at least defensively, after making some mistakes in last week's win over Thomson.

Of course, the win is the most important thing, and head coach Brian Thomas was happy with the effort level and hustle from his team to come away with the win despite a change in momentum.

Evans is young in some spots, like North Augusta, and both teams lost a lot of key players from last year's teams. Despite the youth, Thomas knows Evans head coach Lemuel Lackey will have his team ready to go.

Godwin went just 2-for-10 passing last week but did more than enough with his legs after Tanner White exited with an injury. He and Buckson moved the ball well behind an offensive line that stepped up when it needed to.

What they're saying

"The big thing for us is to get back and being more sound. ... We've just got back to doing the basic things, the little things right. Like I always tell them, the little things take care of the big things." — Brian Thomas, North Augusta head coach

Williston-Elko (0-1) at Silver Bluff (0-0)

Last time they played

Williston-Elko defeated Silver Bluff 22-6 on Aug. 25, 2017.

Players to watch

Williston-Elko

  • Kendel Brown, RB/DL. Brown rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown in last week's loss to Barnwell.
  • Javier Rudolph, QB/DB. Rudolph went 1-for-5 passing and made five tackles last week.
  • KeShawn Toney, WR/LB. Toney caught one pass last week in a limited role, but he's always a big-play threat.

Silver Bluff

  • Jamaal Washington, QB. Washington is a leader at quarterback. He is also a threat to break big runs at any moment.
  • Evan Hall and Malik McCorkle, DE. Head coach De'Angelo Bryant said his two defensive ends have been creating a lot of havoc during the preseason.

Keys to the game

Williston-Elko has to show up ready to compete. The Blue Devils had some guys playing with some jitters last week, and they were overwhelmed quickly in a blowout loss at Barnwell. Head coach Derek Youngblood and his staff aren't dwelling on that; they're using it as a teaching opportunity to have their guys ready to go.

This is the latest stop in the Blue Devils' pre-region gauntlet, and this week they're facing a Silver Bluff team that's using a lot more spread principles offensively than in years past.

For that very reason Bryant is expecting a physical game, in which Williston-Elko "rolls the dice a bit and see what the response is" from his Bulldogs. With it being Silver Bluff's first game Bryant also said he wants to counter that by getting off to a fast start.

That offense is going to be focused on playing ahead of the chains. Bryant doesn't want to find his team in too many third-and-long situations.

What they're saying

"One of my favorite games of the year, simply because you're going to a place – not that I don't like playing them at my place – but I just like going over there. It's a place that's got a lot of football tradition. For our kids, they only get two opportunities in a four-year career to get to go over there and play." — Derek Youngblood, Williston-Elko head coach

"The best word to describe it is anxious. The Players are anxious to pay. The coaches are anxious to see what they'll do in a live atmosphere. The community has given a lot of support and a lot of anticipation has been building up for this moment to kind of set the bar and set the standard for what the season is going to look like." — De'Angelo Bryant, Silver Bluff head coach

Fox Creek (0-0) at Wagener-Salley (1-0)

Last time they played

Fox Creek defeated Wagener-Salley 48-14 on Sept. 11, 2015.

Players to watch

Fox Creek

  • Jatonious Butler, QB. Butler is a big play waiting to happen, making him a must-watch player with the ball in his hands.
  • Cam Mitchem, QB/LB. Mitchem will take decreased snaps at quarterback to play more linebacker, but that could change if Butler is returning kicks.
  • Errius Ishmal, LB/RB. Ishmal made 95 tackles and 13 for loss last season.

Wagener-Salley

  • Tyquan Jerry, OL. Jerry graded out at 94 percent in last week's win over Pelion.
  • Kaleb Shaw, ATH. Shaw rushed for 74 yards and had four tackles last week.
  • Quentiz Barnes, RB/LB. Barnes rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown and made nine tackles, with one for loss, in last week's win.

Keys to the game

Wagener-Salley will need a balanced effort defensively against Butler, Mitchem and the Fox Creek offense. War Eagles head coach Willie Fox knows they're facing a dual-threat quarterback, meaning they'll have to be disciplined enough to keep him in the pocket while locking down the receivers.

There were mistakes defensively last week, despite the 22-0 score in the win over Pelion. Fox said he had players out of position and saw too many missed tackles, and his team felt the effects of the cancellation of their region jamboree.

Fox Creek's defense, and athletic unit with experienced contributors like Ishmal, will have to figure out a way to stop a Wagener-Salley offense that's just plain different than what almost every other team does. The single-wing style is hard to prepare for in a world of spread offenses, and Fox never truly knows how an opposing defense will line up to stop it until they get on the field.

What they're saying

"They always have a really good athlete at quarterback, no matter who it is. ... They're pretty good. We've got to be good this week if we want a chance to win." — Willie Fox, Wagener-Salley head coach 

Saluda (0-1) at Ridge Spring-Monetta (0-1)

Last time they played

Saluda defeated Ridge Spring-Monetta on Aug. 25, 2017.

Players to watch

Saluda

  • Noah Bell, QB. Bell completed 15 passes for 250 yards in a 30-19 loss to Strom Thurmond.
  • Dallan Wright, WR. Wright caught five of those passes for 127 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.
  • Raquon Hartley, WR/LB. Hartley, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, committed to Middle Tennessee State over the summer.

Ridge Spring-Monetta

  • The defense. They kept Batesburg-Leesville out of the scoring range for much of last week's game.
  • Jerry Tyler, ATH. Tyler scored the Trojans' only touchdown in the 15-8 loss, weaving his way back and forth across the field for a 38-yard score.
  • Hayden Cherry, QB. Cherry made his debut as Trojans' QB last week against a tough Class AA opponent. This week, they face another.

Keys to the game

RS-M's defense is good enough to keep the Trojans in every game they play, and that much is expected again this week. It may just be a matter of the offense syncing up at the right time and cashing in when they have scoring opportunities.

Missed opportunities cost the Trojans, ranked third in the state in Class A, last week against sixth-ranked Class AA Batesburg-Leesville in a 15-8 loss, but they still had a chance to win up until a failed fourth-down conversion attempt late in the game.

RS-M head coach Kenny Lipsey said Saluda, ranked ninth in Class AA, did plenty of good things despite what the scoreboard showed in the Tigers' 30-19 loss to Strom Thurmond. There's not many secrets between these two longtime rivals, so each knows what to expect from the other.

It's the usual from Saluda – big and fast and aggressive defensively, and Bell is no stranger leading the offense. The Tigers couldn't get the run game going last week and fell behind big, so they're going to have to make something work against RS-M's tough, experienced defense.

What they're saying

"We've just got to put (last week's loss) behind us. We've been able to do that in the past. ... I told the guys after the football game Friday night, that game's over. It has no bearing on what we want to do this year. We're just going to try to come out in practice this week and get better and worry about Saluda." — Kenny Lipsey, Ridge Spring-Monetta head coach