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Week 9 4A/5A Preview

Region titles and playoff seedings are up for grabs, so here is what’s coming up in Week 9 for 4A and 5A.

I’ll start with the game that will most likely decide the Region III-5A title- Gaffney at Clover. Gaffney beat Nation Ford last week 49-28, while Clover defeated Boiling Springs 17-7.

Gaffney stayed unbeaten last week by dominating the Falcons for the first three quarters and putting the game out of reach before Nation Ford was able to score a few times late to make the score look more respectable. Running back Tyler Smith was outstanding once again finishing his night with 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground.

Clover’s defense was the bright spot last week holding the winless Bulldogs to only 7 points. Both teams enter this week’s matchup with a 2-0 region record, so the winner will have the inside track to the title and the top seed for the playoffs.

The Indians have rarely been challenged this year, and I foresee this game to end up much like the others. Gaffney will use a dominant run game and its big defensive line to control the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense. Quarterback Grayson Loftis won’t be asked to be much more than a game manager this week, and the Indians should cruise to a big win and set themselves up for a region title and at least a couple of home playoff games for what I believe will be a deep run in the postseason.

The Byrnes Rebels will have a tough task this week as they host the undefeated T.L. Hanna Yellow Jackets on Friday. Byrnes knocked off Dorman 20-17 last week, while the Jackets beat J.L. Mann 50-7.

The Rebels are playing great football right now, especially on the defensive side of the ball. This comes as a bit of a surprise as they struggled stopping teams early in the season. Last Friday they weren’t all that sharp but were able to make enough plays on both sides of the ball to knock off a very good Cavalier team.

T.L. Hanna should cause some problems for the Rebels, especially with their option style offense that they have nearly perfected. It’s not a style you see much in 5A, but the Jackets run it very effectively as they are 8-0 on the year, beating teams by an average score of 40-14.

I think this game comes down to the wire, but unless the Rebels can force some turnovers against Hanna, I don’t think it will be enough. The Jackets are undefeated for a reason and they very rarely put themselves in danger by making mistakes. This should be a very entertaining game, but I think the Jackets offense will move the ball well enough to keep Gabe Rogers and company on the sideline long enough to come away with the victory.

Another game in 5A this Friday is Spartanburg at Riverside. Riverside beat Wade Hampton 69-27, while the Vikings were on a bye.

Riverside ensured themselves a playoff berth with the win last Friday night. The Vikings are already in the playoffs and are still very much alive for a region title. Coach Hodge’s team has been playing well of late, and they should be mostly healthy after the bye week.

I think the Vikings are the more talented team in this matchup, with the only issue being the possibility of looking ahead to next week’s matchup with rival Dorman. Spartanburg can still win the region even with a loss to the Warriors, but I don’t see that coming into play. I think Raheim Jeter and the offense look dominant from the start and they roll to a big victory, setting up next week’s game with Dorman for a chance to clinch the region title outright.

Speaking of Dorman, they are hosting Wade Hampton this week. The Cavs will look to bounce back from the loss to Byrnes, while the Generals are still looking for their first region win.

Dorman wasn’t great in last week’s game, but they still had a chance to win on the final possession. Look for the Cavs to take out some frustration this Friday and run away early in this one and never look back. As long as Coach Gutshall’s team isn’t looking ahead to Week 10, they shouldn’t have an issue with Wade Hampton this week.

In a win-and-you’re-in game in Region III-5A, it’s Boiling Springs at Fort Mill. Both teams are winless in region play, but the winner Friday night will earn a spot in the postseason.

The Bulldogs are a very young team whose struggles on offense have been well documented. They’ll need to execute better on that side of the ball to have a chance this week, and possibly extend their season.

Fort Mill has only one win on the season and are giving up nearly 37 points per game, so the Bulldogs will have their chances. I think this has the makings of a great game and it will probably come down to which team has better success in the red zone. I feel like this one is a coin flip, but if I had to choose I’ll take the Jackets at home to get the win.

In 4A this Friday it will be Eastside at Greer. Eastside fell to Laurens 69-10, while Greer dropped a game to Greenwood 35-28.

Greer has been playing really good football lately, even with a couple of losses in the region. Eastside has struggled all year and they are scoring less than ten points a game on the season. Greer should jump out to an early lead and have no trouble running the football in the second half to come away with a comfortable victory. The Yellow Jackets will get their first region win of the season, and secure a berth in the 4A playoffs.

Just one more week of the regular season left after this Friday.

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