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Midland Valley hosts Strom Thurmond on Friday. The Mustangs were off last week, while the Rebels moved to 2-1 with a win over South Aiken.

Strom Thurmond (2-1) at Midland Valley (0-1)

Last time they played

Strom Thurmond defeated Midland Valley 41-20 on Sept. 7, 2018.

Players to watch

Strom Thurmond

  • Jay Baker, WR. Baker has become a go-to playmaker for the Rebels in the passing game.
  • BJ Williams, DE. Williams is disruptive. He recorded three sacks in last week's win. 
  • Jequan Harris, QB. Harris is coming off a performance in which he rushed for more than 200 yards and passed for more than 100 yards.

Midland Valley

  • Offensive line. The line will have to match the intensity of a stout Strom Thurmond defensive front.
  • BJ Staley, WR/DB. Staley has game-changing athleticism and plays a big role on both offense and defense.
  • Keioryie Wright, DE. He will have a chance to disrupt what Strom Thurmond likes to do in the run game.

Keys to the game

Coming off a bye, Midland Valley has had a couple of weeks to prepare for Strom Thurmond. The Mustangs could face a similar task up front that they did in the last game they played. The offensive line will have to be prepared for another dangerous defensive end in BJ Williams. Neutralizing him will be a big part of the game plan.

Strom Thurmond's offense has been cruising along. The Rebels will again rely on mixing it up just enough to be effective. The Rebels' defense continues to force turnovers at a high rate. They're averaging three takeaways a game, which could be a factor this week. 

White Knoll (3-0) at Aiken (0-3)

Last time they played

White Knoll defeated Aiken 48-38 on Sept. 7, 2018.

Players to watch

White Knoll

  • TJ Peebles, RB. Peebles has rushed for 294 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Jaquez Frederick, LB. Frederick leads the Timberwolves team with 21 tackles.

Aiken

  • David Neal, CB. Neal made a big play, blocking an extra point attempt last week against Greenwood.
  • Elijah Bonaparte, DL. The interior defensive lineman has proven to be a tough assignment to block for most opponents.

Keys to the game

Each week Aiken has taken a step forward despite its 0-3 record. This week the Hornets will look to build on some of the positives on the offensive side last week. The Hornets scored their first offensive touchdown, which could be a spark for the passing game going forward. On defense the Hornets will have to deal with a versatile Timberwolves quarterback.

Blythewood (2-1) at North Augusta (2-1)

Last time they played

Blythewood defeated North Augusta 15-12 on Sept. 7, 2018.

Players to watch

Blythewood

  • Brandon Edwards, RB/WR/LB. Edwards ran for a touchdown and had another as a receiver, and he had 12 tackles in last week's 35-21 win over Fairfield Central.
  • Josh Strickland, QB. The Gilbert transfer has thrown for 418 yards, including 223 last week, and five touchdowns this season.

North Augusta

  • Jacari Buckson, RB. Buckson surpassed 100 yards for the second consecutive week, gaining 103 in a 17-16 win over Grovetown.
  • Bradley Godwin, QB. Godwin threw touchdown passes to Jordan Wilburn and Grayson Bridgers in the Yellow Jackets' second-half comeback.
  • Charles Hammond, DL. Strickland had a strong night passing the ball against Fairfield Central. Hammond could prevent that with his pass-rushing abilities.

Keys to the game

Consistent execution would go a long way for a North Augusta team that has had to come from behind in the second half to win its last two games. Buckson has been the workhorse, rushing 28 times last week. The passing game has given the Yellow Jackets a spark, so having that balance can keep Blythewood's defense from getting too comfortable. The Blythewood offense had some success last week, while North Augusta's defense has been unyielding over the last two weeks.

Fox Creek (0-2) at McCormick (0-3)

Last time they played

Fox Creek defeated McCormick 42-6 on Sept. 7, 2018.

Players to watch

Fox Creek

  • Ryan Chavous, RB/LB. Chavous rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in last week's loss to C.A. Johnson. He had 113 yards and a score on just eight carries last year against McCormick.
  • CJ Tillman, DL. Tillman had 10 tackles last year against McCormick.
  • Malik Williams, RB/DB. Williams rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries last week.

McCormick

  • A'Chean Durant, RB/DB. The freshman running back wears the No. 3 his older brother Mataeo, now a Duke Blue Devil, wore at McCormick. 
  • Kaneko Wideman, ATH. The sophomore does a bit of everything for the Chiefs – he plays wide receiver and linebacker, and he handles kicking and punting duties.

Keys to the game

The Predators again have to come out with intensity and leave last week's heartbreaking loss behind them – C.A. Johnson scored on fourth-and-long in the final minute, wiping out Fox Creek's hopes of a first win under new head coach LaFayette Stewart. The run game was working against the Hornets, with Chavous and Williams combining for 283 yards and four touchdowns, and the Predators will look to showcase their big-play ability against a Chiefs defense that's allowed 104 points through three games. The Predators will have to deal with another Durant at running back like they did when they and the Chiefs were Region 1-A rivals.

Williston-Elko (0-2) at Allendale-Fairfax (0-3)

Last time they played

Williston-Elko defeated Allendale-Fairfax 22-14 on Sept. 7, 2018.

Players to watch

Williston-Elko

  • AJ Chandler, WR/DB. Defenses know the ball is going Chandler's way, but stopping him is another story. He'll have Allendale-Fairfax's full attention Friday.
  • Tres Rimes, QB. The Blue Devils' senior quarterback passed for 182 yards and three touchdowns last year in a win over the Tigers. 
  • Javier Rudolph, QB/DB. Rudolph had two interceptions, including the game-sealer, in last year's win over Allendale-Fairfax.

Allendale-Fairfax

  • Bryshon Johnson, LB. The senior is a big-play guy if he gets the ball in his hands, so the Blue Devils can't make mistakes when he's nearby.
  • Javarius Youmans, LB. The 240-pound senior made 13 tackles (two for loss), had two sacks and forced a fumble earlier this season against Wade Hampton.

Keys to the game

Williston-Elko head coach Derek Youngblood sees two teams in a very similar situation, and he said this one may simply come down to whichever team does the most things right. Both are hungry for a win, and both have alternated between looking really good and then not being able to get out of their own way. Youngblood feels like the Blue Devils will have all their pieces back on the field after playing shorthanded the first two weeks. He thought the defense played well enough to give them a chance to win against Silver Bluff, a game they lost 20-6, but they dropped way too many passes for a team that throws the ball as much as they do. The defense will have to play with discipline against an Allendale-Fairfax team that will again run the triple option, but this time the Tigers will do it more out of the shotgun instead of under center.

BYE: Ridge Spring-Monetta, Wagener-Salley