By Alex Smith
Week 4 is here and it’s time to take a look at the great slate of games in 2A and 3A coming up this week.
I’ll begin with our Fox Sports 1400 Game of the Week which features a pair of 4-0 teams, as the Chapman Panthers travel to take on the Woodruff Wolverines. The Panthers offense was outstanding again in Week 3 as they cruised along to a 42-0 win over Blue Ridge. I’m not sure any team in 3A is going to be able to slow down Mikele Colasurdo and Co., but I believe the Wolverines have a better shot than most.
In last week’s victory over Seneca, Woodruff’s defense held the Bobcats to 141 yards of total offense, and just 32 of that came through the air. The Wolverines also intercepted 5 passes, with Nigel Cochran returning 2 of those for scores.
Woodruff has been very stingy on that side of the ball through the first 4 games this season giving up an average of just 11.5 points. But this Friday they will be facing a different animal, as the Panthers come in scoring an amazing 52 points per contest.
This game should be a great measuring stick for these two teams, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they meet again down the road in the playoffs. Woodruff should get running back Demi Dale back this week after sitting out with an injury a week ago. While this will clearly help, I don’t know if it will be enough for the Wolverines to keep pace.
This game will feature two great quarterbacks, and a plethora of playmakers at the skill positions. I believe it will end up being a shootout, and anytime that is the case I’ll take Coach Mark Hodge’s team to come out on top. Chapman wins in what I think could be the game of the year.
There is another great matchup several miles up Highway 221, where the Landrum Cardinals will be taking on the Chesnee Eagles. Landrum continued to look good last week, especially on defense, with a 35-7 win over Spartanburg Christian Academy.
The Cardinal defense has allowed only 20 points so far in 2018, and they will face an Eagle team that struggled to move the ball last week in a 58-14 loss against Walhalla. Chesnee’s quarterback Jacob Kimbrell wasn’t as sharp against the Razorbacks as he was in previous weeks, and the Eagles will need him to have a better outing this Friday if they want to avoid falling for a second consecutive week.
Landrum has also found some consistency on offense as quarterback Michael Clark continues to improve, and play-maker Turner Ussery is coming off of a 3 touchdown performance against SCA. This game is very evenly matched as far as athlete against athlete, and I believe whichever team limits the self- imposed mistakes (penalties and turnovers) will come out on top.
Maybe the most impressive team from last week was the Union County Yellow Jackets. Union dominated the Broome Centurions (more on them later) for 4 quarters, and left Royal Stadium with a 46-14 victory. Quarterback Kesean Glover made several stellar plays last Friday, and running back T.T. Kershaw was unstoppable out of the backfield, finishing with 175 yards and 4 touchdowns while being named our Fox Sports 1400 Player of the Week. The Jackets defensive play was excellent as well in Week 3, frustrating a dynamic Centurion offense.
Union has another stiff test this Friday night, as they will hit the road to take on the Greer Yellow Jackets in what has come to be known as “The Jacket Bowl.” Greer enters this game feeling very confident after a 40-3 win over Mauldin moved them to 3-1 on the season, with all four games against 5A competition.
This year’s Greer team features a dynamic running back (no big surprise) as Dre Williams is off to hot start averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. Union’s defense will have their hands full trying to slow down one of the most explosive players in all of the upstate.
Union’s offensive line has been the biggest strength of the team early this year, and they will need to control the line of scrimmage again in hopes of sustaining long, time consuming drives. I think Union will be able to move the ball, but I believe Greer’s run game will be too much to handle in the end, and Greer will come out on top in this year’s edition of “The Jacket Bowl.”
This Friday the Broome Centurions will look to bounce back after losing badly to Union County in Week 3. Things don’t get any easier this week, as they will face off against the 3-0 Eastside Eagles. Broome struggled to give quarterback Brenden Taylor time last week, and they will need to be much improved in that area if they want to have a chance against the Eagles. The Centurion defense will also need to do a better job a stopping the run, giving up way too many big plays on the ground a week ago.
I know Coach Lynn Fleming will have his team focused, but I worry that Eastside’s depth may prove to be too much for the Centurions to overcome. It will be wet night due to the hurricane, and while I think Broome plays much better, I don’t think they’ll be able to get the win.
This week should go a long way in seeing which of our area teams are contenders, and which are pretenders.