3A/2A Preview Week 1
By Alex Smith
All of our area teams in 3A and 2A opened up their seasons’ last Friday night in Week 0, some with more success than others. Here is a look at what is coming up in Week 1.
I’ll begin by looking at our Fox Sports 1400 Game of the Week, which is the Woodruff Wolverines going on the road to take on the Broome Centurions. Last week we saw both these teams earn come from behind victories to start off the 2019 season 1-0. Woodruff rallied in the second half to defeat Chesnee 28-20, behind a strong rushing attack that was led by running back Shamare Dendy, who finished with 169 and a touchdown on just 17 carries. The Centurions grabbed their first win of the year by scratching out a gritty 20-14 victory over Central on the road. Broome’s offense struggled at times but the play of defensive back Markus Lindsay proved to be enough, as he had an interception returned for a touchdown to tie the game, and then was able to seal the win with his second interception of the night in the final minutes. His play on the field earned him our Fox Sports 1400 Player of the Week for Week 0. Last season these teams got together twice, with Woodruff dominating the regular season meeting before Broome returned the favor and knocked the Wolverines out of the playoffs with a 38-35 win. I expect this year’s contest to be very tight to the end, and could very well come down to the last possession. The match-up to keep an eye on this Friday night is Woodruff’s star receiver Omarion McKelvin (6 catches, 98 yards and a TD last week) facing off against Markus Lindsay in the Centurion secondary. I’ll be interested to see how much Woodruff quarterback B.J. Bailey challenges Lindsay after his monster game last week. This game is a toss-up in my mind, but if I had to choose, I’ll take the Centurions in a close one, most likely stealing another win by forcing a late turnover to move to 2-0.
The Union County Yellow Jackets played well in their season opener last week, but their furious second half rally came up short as they ended up falling to the Chapman Panthers by a score of 52-37. The Jackets trailed 38-7 before cutting it to a one score game late, before the Panthers were able to pull away. Quarterback Kesean Glover was as good as advertised leading the Jacket’s offense to 460 yards of total offense against a very good defense last Friday. This week Coach Brian Thompson’s team will be on the road again to take on A.C. Flora. The Falcons enter this week coming off of a 37-21 victory over Beaufort. I expect Union to once again have great success in the running game, and the defense will look much better against an opponent that doesn’t have the same caliber of athletes as the Chapman Panthers. I see Union bouncing back, and I won’t be surprised if the Yellow Jackets go on to win this week by at least two scores.
As for the Chapman Panthers, Coach Mark Hodge and his team should be very pleased with how they looked in the season opener. Quarterback Mikele Colasurdo was brilliant, finishing the night 17-24 passing for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. The Panthers will look for more of the same this week as they face off against a Seneca Bobcats team that will be playing in their first game this week. I don’t see the Bobcats slowing down this Panther offense led by Colasurdo and a collection of skill position player that can rival any team, in any classification. There is no reason why the Panthers won’t come away with another impressive victory this Friday, and while the defense should look much improved, I think it will be the rushing attack that will end up being the story in the ballgame this week. Running back Dante Smith is an elusive runner who finished with 3 touchdowns last week, and with a good chance Chapman grabs an early lead, I look for him to get a heavy workload and probably find the end zone multiple times once again.
Last Friday Coach Clay Lewis made his debut as the new head coach of the Chesnee Eagles. It got off to a rough start as Chesnee fumbled the opening kickoff that lead to quick points for Woodruff. The Eagles rebounded nicely were able to hold a lead in the second half before two fourth quarter scores gave the Wolverines the 28-20 win. Quarterback Jacob Kimbrell played well in his first game running the triple option for the Eagles, finishing with a touchdown on the ground and in the air. Normally a team implementing a new offensive style can take some time to start clicking, but Chesnee appears to be weeks ahead of where I thought they would be in the opener. This week poses another tough challenge as they will host Christ Church in their home opener. Christ Church is coming in 1-0 after a 33-7 drubbing of Dixie last Friday. This should be a very competitive game featuring a pair of teams that like to run the football. I think Coach Lewis’s team will clean up some of the mistakes, and if Chesnee is able to get a lead in this one, I don’t think the Cavaliers are a team that is built to come from behind. I’m looking for the Eagles to get Coach Lewis his first win this week in what will most likely be a one score game.
Our lone 2A team, the Landrum Cardinals, will also be hoping for a better outcome this week as they host the Dixie Hornets. The Cardinals fell 35-14 last week to a 4A Blue Ridge team that was much more talented than most people (myself included) expected. Quarterback Cooper Gentry was adequate in the opener, but I expect him to have a much better game against a Dixie defense that struggled to slow down Christ Church a week ago. Coach Jason Farmer’s team should look more polished this Friday, and by limiting turnovers and penalties I think the Cardinals get in the win column with a hard fought four quarter battle this week. Last season the Hornets scored just 3 points on Landrum, and while I expect them to top that number, I don’t see them getting enough to knock off the Cardinals at home.
Week 0 had plenty of great games, and Week 1 looks to be more of the same here in the upstate. Friday can’t get here soon enough.