By Alex Smith
Week 6 is here and non-region play is in the rear view mirror. So let’s take a look at what is coming up as our 3A teams begin region play.
I’ll begin by looking at the game featuring two preseason favorites in Region II-3A as the Chapman Panthers visit the Broome Centurions. Chapman entered the season with questions all over the field after losing tons of talent on both sides of the ball due to graduation. It seems Chapman hasn’t missed a beat, going 6-0 and winning every game by a double digit margin.
A new set of playmakers have emerged for the Panthers, and it seems like it’s someone different making an impact each week. In last week’s win over Eastside, it was wide receiver DuShun Mitchell who was fantastic, reeling in 6 catches for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Things haven’t gone as well for the Centurions so far, as injuries and inconsistency has Broome sitting at 2-4 entering region play. The Centurions dropped their third straight game last Friday, 58-26 against Wren.
While Broome should be closer to full strength this Friday, I don’t think it will be enough to slow down the Panthers’ high powered offense, that finished it’s non-region schedule averaging a whopping 49.8 points per game. I’m sure Coach Lynn Fleming will have Broome focused and motivated to play against a region rival, but I just don’t believe they have the depth to hang with the Panthers this season. Broome is giving up over 40 points per game during their losing streak, and that will spell disaster against a talented Panther team. I think Coach Hodge calls off the dogs in the second half, but Chapman wins this one handily.
Elsewhere in Region II-3A, the Chesnee Eagles hope to get back on the right track, as they will host the Southside Tigers in their region opener. Chesnee is coming off of a heartbreaking loss last week, as Blacksburg converted a two-point conversion with less than 20 seconds left to escape with a 21-20 victory.
Southside enters this contest with a 4-2 record, coming off a 28-10 win over Berea last Friday. The Eagles offense has struggled during the team’s 3 game losing streak, and points will most likely be hard to come by again this week against the Tigers physical defense.
I expect this to be another low scoring game for Chesnee, and if quarterback Jacob Kimbrell limits the turnovers, I think the Eagles defense will do enough to get Chesnee off to a 1-0 start in region play.
Now looking at Region III-3A, where the Woodruff Wolverines will open the region schedule with a road game at Newberry. Woodruff will look to get rid of the bad taste left in their mouth after falling to Chapman two weeks ago, despite leading that game by 10 points in the second half. On the other side, the Bulldogs haven’t been as dominant this year as in years past, and after falling to Brookland-Cayce 56-35 last week, they are just 2-3 on the year.
I expect Keegan Halloran and the Woodruff offense to look good this Friday, as Newberry has given up plenty of big plays in their first five games of the season. Newberry’s offense will look to run the football, but I don’t think a one dimensional team will be able to get it done against the Wolverines this year. Coach Bradley Adams and Woodruff will win this one, and I think they are the clear favorite in this region at this point in the season.
Another team coming off of a bye last week is the Union County Yellow Jackets. Union is just 2-3 on the year, but as always they have played one of the tougher schedules in the state. This Friday they open region play with a home game against the Clinton Red Devils.
I think Union comes out and dominates the line of scrimmage in this game. I expect Coach Brian Thompson’s squad will have its way running the football this week, behind the Yellow Jackets’ talented offensive line. Clinton has struggled to stop the run this year, and Union’s mobile quarterback Kesean Glover should give the Red Devils’ defense more than they can handle. I think Union County wins by at least two touchdowns to pull even at 3-3 on the year.
The only 2A team in our area, the Landrum Cardinals, are on a bye this week before getting into the region schedule in Week 7. All the games from here on out count towards making the postseason, so it should be another exciting week of games here in the upstate.