3A/2A Preview Week 8
By Alex Smith
Hard to believe but there is only a few weeks left of the high school football regular season. It seems like not that long ago we were just getting underway, now here we are in Week 8 and all the games have heavy playoff implications. Here is what’s coming in 2A/3A this week.
The Landrum Cardinals secured a winning record for the season with a 21-9 win over St. Joseph’s last Friday to improve to 6-1 on the year. The Cardinal defense was fantastic once again, and they were led on offense by Turner Ussery who finished with 156 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing. This week they will look to improve to 2-0 in Region I-2A, as they will host the Christ Church Cavaliers.
Christ Church has struggled this year, entering this game with a record of 2-6 overall, and 0-2 in the region. Last week they were shutout against Southside Christian 49-0. This will be the second straight week the Cardinals will play a region team who was shutout the previous game, and I imagine points will be hard to come by once again for the Cavs as Landrum enters Week 8 giving up just 6.9 points per contest.
I think Landrum will dominate with their defense, and I expect Turner Ussery to have another 100 yard game on the ground as the Cardinals should win another region contest by at least two scores.
In Region II-3A there is a battle for the second seed in the region, and the winner of this week’s game between Southside and Broome will just about be guaranteed a home playoff game. Broome enters this game on a high note, after handling Chesnee 45-7 last Friday, breaking a four game losing streak in the process.
Southside comes in after a bye last week, and has a 5-2 overall record, 1-0 in the region. They will be led by star running back Braydon Bennett, who has already topped 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
The Centurions have recently gotten some players back from injury, and the return of JaQun Wilkins was huge for them in last week’s victory. Southside will most likely try and pound the ball on the ground, and wear down the Broome defense while trying to keep Brenden Taylor and the explosive playmakers for the Centurion offense on the sideline as much as possible.
I believe the winner of this matchup will finish second in the region behind Chapman, who is on a bye this week. With Broome getting healthy at the right time, I like the Centurions to win a close game, and I think a big play on defense or special teams will end up being the difference for Coach Lynn Fleming’s squad as they look to get hot at the right time of year.
Elsewhere in the region the Chesnee Eagles will look to end their losing streak, as they go on the road to take on Carolina Academy. Carolina Academy is winless on the year (0-7, 0-1) and this is a great opportunity for the Eagles to get their first region win and put themselves in prime position to make the postseason.
I like Chesnee to bounce back this week behind what I expect to be a big game from quarterback Jacob Kimbrell, and I expect Coach Bill Owens’ team to win this one handily.
In Region III-3A it is Union County that is in the driver’s seat after a 42-28 win over Woodruff a week ago. The Jackets are now 2-0 in the region, and look to get to 3-0 this Friday, as they will host a Mid-Carolina team that has just one victory in 2018.
Quarterback Kesean Glover was outstanding for Union last week, finishing with 230 total yards and 5 touchdowns in being named our Fox Sports 1400 player of the week. I think Union will be able to run the ball at will behind their big offensive line, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both T.T. Kershaw and Glover top 100 yards rushing in what should be a route for the Yellow Jackets this Friday.
The Woodruff Wolverines will look to rebound this week against the Emerald Vikings, after falling to Union last week to drop to 1-1 in region play. Emerald comes in playing much better football the last few weeks, winning two of their last three after opening the season 0-4.
Woodruff played well after their first loss of the season a few weeks ago and I expect Coach Bradley Adams will have them chomping at the bit to get back out there and erase the memory of last week’s loss. Keegan Halloran and the offense should be able to put up plenty of points against an Emerald defense that allows an average of 39.9 points per game.
I believe the Wolverines bounce back in a big way, and I won’t be shocked if they top 40 points and have more than one player on offense in the running for player of the week.
Another exciting week of football lies ahead as region seeding and playoff berths will become much clearer after this Friday.