Week Six H.S. Football Previews


Last time they played

Silver Bluff won 20-15 in 2003. Silver Bluff has won every matchup since 1989, when Bamberg-Ehrhardt knocked it out of the playoffs.

Players to watch

Silver Bluff• Jalen Jackson, QB. Last week the Bulldogs gave Jackson an opportunity to show off his arm. His evolution as a passer could change the offense dramatically.

• Kurlton Falconer, DL. Falconer will be matched up against the Red Raiders' best offensive lineman and will need to try and slow down their Wishbone attack.

• Shaquez Wright, RB. Wright was stopped cold last week against Strom Thurmond. He will need to get back on track for the Bulldogs this week.Bamberg-Ehrhardt• Larry Cann, OL/DT. Cann anchors both lines for the Red Raiders. Even with as much havoc as he causes on defense, he may be an even better offensive lineman.

• Devondree Williams and Maurice Duggans, RB. Both Williams and Duggans see equal time on the field as the Wishbone backs. Both are capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.

• Kevin Crosby, TE. The 6-foot-2 junior provides a big target for the Red Raiders on offense when they decide to throw.

What this means

Silver Bluff head coach Al Lown knows that this game, more than any other, can shape what type of season that the Bulldogs have.

"Whoever wins is in the driver seat for a bye and being home in the playoffs," Lown said. "We know just how important that was for us last year and we know it could be huge this year."

For both teams this will begin the region parts of their schedules.

"Before the season started we looked at the schedule and pointed to this game," Lown said. "If we want to get where we want to go we have to beat Bamberg-Ehrhardt."

Keys to the game

One thing that Silver Bluff has going for it this week will be health. In last week's game, it was dealing with multiple injuries to both the offensive and defensive lines.

This week, however, it has had some time to rest up.

"As far as injuries go I think we are doing pretty good," Lown said.

The Bulldogs will try to get their offense back on track after it was stifled by Strom Thurmond. Shaquez Wright was held to just 36 yards on 17 carries, though he did find the end zone.

Though they will always be a running team first and foremost, the Bulldogs may start loosening the chains on Jackson, who showed he was capable of making all of the throws asked of him last week. He has yet to throw an interception all year.

"They're going to line up across from us and try to take away our run game," Lown said. "So we need to hit our play action passes to make them honest."

On defense, Silver Bluff will just have to weather the storm.

"We have to stay low on defense," Lown said. "They are bigger than us and if we stand up, they'll run right through."

Silver Bluff's special teams could also be a key, once again led by Pedro Zambrano.

"I think that last week we did a good job punting and covering punts, of course we did a lot of it, too," Lown said. "Our returns also did a good job as (R.J.) Stallings returned that kick for a score. We do need to get better at our kickoff coverage though."

What they're saying

"Oh yeah, he has a great arm. I think he'll do great, and we're going to ask more of him." - Silver Bluff head coach Al Lown on quarterback Jalen Jackson


Last time they played

Williston-Elko defeated Fox Creek 38-0 last year.

Players to watch

Fox Creek

• Deondre Baskett and Trey Mock, QB. Baskett and Mock will continue splitting time at quarterback, but they need to get their fumbling issues under control. The two have combined for six fumbles (four by Baskett, two by Mock) while the Fox Creek RBs have zero all year.

• Alan Randell, DL. Randell had a great game against Ridge Spring-Monetta and will continue to anchor the Predator defensive front.

• Ty Yarbrough, LB. Yarbrough will be tasked with keeping his eyes on Jarius Jenkins and try to plug running lanes.Williston-Elko• Jarius Jenkins, RB. The sophomore had 135 yards and three touchdowns on the ground against Wagener-Salley, bringing his season totals to 748 yards and 14 touchdowns.

• Jahmaya Jenkins, OL/DL. The eldest Jenkins brother is part of the Blue Devils' physical front both ways, and he has a whopping 10 tackles for loss on the season.

• Dalton Mundy, QB. The junior quarterback didn't throw much against the War Eagles, but when he did, he completed all but one pass and threw a 27-yard momentum-stealing touchdown pass.

What this means

For Williston-Elko, this game is an attempt to win an astounding 26th straight game in Region 4-A play, and the Blue Devils have also beaten two region foes in the Class A, Division II playoffs during the same time period.

This win would come at home, and while Williston-Elko head coach Dwayne Garrick isn't sold on the profound impact of home-field advantage, he does see some positives.

"It's nice not to have to get on a bus," he said.

Fox Creek head coach Russell Schneider said that his team's underdog status allows it to play with very little reservation.

"We have nothing to lose," Schneider said. "We're not going to play conservatively. We saw what worked for Wagener last week, and we're going to see if we can get some of that to work for us."

Keys to the game

Williston-Elko has been a force out of its Wishbone formation because of the physical nature of its line and running backs. That doesn't mean Garrick will give up on the spread attack the Blue Devils have used well in the past.

"We're going to mix it up," he said. "We try to go with what works."

Schneider said that he and his coaching staff are aware of the quality team that the Blue Devils put on the field, regardless of the personnel group.

"They're great, it doesn't matter if it's the starters or backups in there," Schneider said.

He added that his team has been plagued by mistakes "at the worst possible times," outgaining Ridge Spring-Monetta in last week's 29-7 loss.

Garrick said he was aware of the multiple nature of Fox Creek's offense, adding that Baskett might be the "best athlete we face all year."

What they're saying

"If we won against Williston, it'd be like winning the Super Bowl." - Russ Schneider, Fox Creek head coach

"All of them are big because you want to win the region championship, and you almost have to be undefeated to do that in this region." - Dwayne Garrick, Williston-Elko head coach


Last time they played

This is the first meeting between the teams.

Players to watch

Midland Valley

• Dre Carr, RB. The sophomore had the best game of his career in last week's win - carrying the ball 24 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns - and has emerged as the Mustangs' go-to guy.

• Daniel Carr, QB. The Mustangs have rallied around the freshman signal caller, who uses his athleticism to extend plays and create positive yardage.

• Kameron Brown, WR. Brown has emerged as a legitimate big-play threat and has size and speed to overwhelm most players covering him.Gilbert• Omar Bethea, RB. Bethea is the Indians' feature player on offense, rushing for 863 yards and 14 touchdowns on 123 carries this season.

• Mitch Spires, QB. Spires is more of a passer (47-for-95, 737 yards, three touchdowns) but is a threat to run (284 yards, two touchdowns).

• Zack Thier, LB. Thier has already had several games with double-digit tackles this season and leads the team with 53 stops.

What this means

It's the start of the Region 5-AAA schedule for both squads and Gilbert's first-ever game in the league. It's also the Mustangs' first game following a win all season. Midland Valley snapped a 10-game losing skid with last week's triumph over Baptist Hill. It will try for two in a row against a team that isn't faster or stronger than the Mustangs, who will be playing their homecoming game tonight.

Keys to the game

Midland Valley head coach Rick Knight is pleased to have recorded his first win of the season, but wasn't thrilled the way his team started so slow a week ago. He's looking for his squad to come out of the gates fast and get what should be an enthusiastic crowd behind it from the opening whistle.

"I'm expecting us to come out with confidence," Knight said. "I want to get off to a good start."

To help facilitate early success, the Mustangs will have to control both sides of the line of scrimmage. They'll need to limit the damage Bethea can inflict and keep the Indians from running up and down the field. The front five on offense for Midland Valley must also give Daniel Carr some time to operate and continue to open holes for Dre Carr to power through.

"They present a lot of problems because they run so well; they're a hard-nosed team," Knight said, warning that overcompensating to stop Bethea can leave his team vulnerable to big plays by Spires. "They can beat you with the quarterback running and throwing too."

Offensively, the Mustangs must remain focused in the eye of the storm created by the Indians' defense. Gilbert likes to stunt a lot and will move Thier all around to allow him to make big plays. In an effort to combat that, Knight said Midland Valley might add a few wrinkles to try and get the ball in the hands of Brown and the other receivers - without wandering too far from Dre Carr's running.

"We have to run the football and get the ball to Kameron and let him make plays," Knight said. "We have to move people around, but we won't stray too far from what we do. Dre will get carries."

What they're saying

"(Gilbert's) not as fast as some of the teams we've played this season, but it still might be faster than us." - Rick Knight, Midland Valley head coach


Last time they played

Strom Thurmond beat Brookland-Cayce 35-7 in 2007.

Players to watch

Strom Thurmond

• Jauveer Hammond, QB. Hammond has been a leader in production and in running the offense. The junior has thrown for 633 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 41 of 68 passes, and he's run for 320 yards and five more scores.

• Darius Hammond, RB. The "other" Hammond finds multiple ways to contribute in the Rebels' scoring, with touchdowns in the running, receiving and punt return facets of the Strom Thurmond attack.

• Hykeem Brooks, DB. In addition to Demetrius Leysath and Israel Talbert, it will be up to Brooks to prevent the big plays Brookland-Cayce has used in the first few weeks of the season.


• Zeke Walker, QB. Walker left the Bearcats' last game with a wrist injury, but at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Walker is a threat with his legs and his arm.

• BJ DeWalt, WR. DeWalt is Walker's favorite target, and the senior has seen some interest from Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina State.

• Dontavious Lykes, DB. Lykes has come onto the scene as one of the premier defensive back recruits in the state, garnering attention from South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, The Citadel and South Carolina State.

What this means

This game kicks off the Rebels' return to Class AAA play. While Brookland-Cayce isn't the strength of Region 5-AAA, Strom Thurmond will be looking to make as statement against a Region 5-AAA foe.

Head coach Lee Sawyer doesn't place much importance on that, but he does focus on the logistical importance of getting into the top half of the region standings as early as possible.

"We don't get into statements or anything like that too much; we just think it's important to get in the win column," Sawyer said.

Further, with games against Swansea and Airport looming in the coming weeks, it might be a good idea to get an early lead and get the starters what could be their last bit of rest for a while.

The team is also playing its second straight road game, a factor Sawyer isn't ignoring. He said that Brookland-Cayce's home stadium is set up in a way that creates a "strange" atmosphere but has faith his players will be able to overcome that and maintain their intensity level.

"This team, they're pretty a focused bunch anyway," he said. "They want to be good."Keys to the gameOn defense, Walker will be the central focus for stopping the Bearcat offensive attack. Sawyer said that containing him and bringing the right amount of pressure will be crucial to preventing big plays.

"It's kind of strange, but they use him to run the football about as much as the running back, but he can throw the football," Sawyer said.

On the other end of the defense, the Rebel secondary will be charged with keeping up with DeWalt and the other Bearcat deep threats.

Offensively, Sawyer is aware that opposing defenses come into the game looking to take away one or more of the Rebels' many weapons. While he knows that means other players might need to step up, he knows that his big trio of the two Hammonds and Ty Brooks are going to be the driving force to his team's success.

"You've got to get the ball to Darius and Tykim, and Jauveer obviously touches it on every play," Sawyer said.

What they're saying

"That's one of the things I take pride in, is that our guys don't play too many flat games." - Lee Sawyer, Strom Thurmond head coach


Last time they played

Wagener-Salley defeated North 51-22 last season.

Players to watch


• Eric Corley, RB. Corley has been a big part of the War Eagles' offense all season, but he'll be the quarterback if Malcolm Stroman is limited by a hip injury.

• Xavier Keitt, DL. Keitt racked up 19 tackles in the War Eagles' 54-19 loss to Williston-Elko last week and also has two interceptions on the season.

• Trey Davis, RB. Wagener-Salley's leading rusher, Davis is "day-to-day" with a lingering ankle injury that has been a problem for two weeks now.North• Da'Quan Jones, RB/LB. Jones had 91 yards on 12 carries in last week's 39-16 loss to Blackville-Hilda.

• Darrien Wise, QB. The sophomore ran for 70 yards on 15 carries, which included one of the Eagles' two scores against Blackville-Hilda.

• Malik Sanders, FB. Only a freshman, Wagener-Salley head coach Ken Tucker said that the 5-foot-8, 236-pound bruiser is a "big kid that runs the ball hard."

What this means

Wagener-Salley began the year with four straight wins against competition that was mediocre at best. After losing a "tough game" against Blackville-Hilda, Tucker said he didn't feel the War Eagles played their best last week against Williston-Elko.

As a result, he feels tonight's game will be good for his team, regardless of the opponent.

"I think it's going to be good for us to get back on the field," Tucker said.

Even though they've been eliminated as a reasonable contender for the Region 4-A crown, the War Eagles' goals of a winning record and a playoff berth are still intact. Even a home playoff game is still on the table if Wagener-Salley can win a few more games this year.

Keys to the game

On offense, Tucker said that his team needs to remember what its strong suit is.

"I think we need to get back to our run game," he said.

If Stroman can play significant minutes, that will mean he, Corley and Davis sharing the load in the backfield.

If Stroman is limited, the responsibility of signal caller is going fall to Corley. Tucker is confident in the junior's physical abilities behind center but said that Corley "just needs to become a leader in the huddle."

On the other side of the ball, the problems have been at a fundamental level, particularly against Williston-Elko. Tucker said the War Eagles were having trouble lining up correctly and making the proper adjustments at the line.

"We've talked about ... doing the little things correctly," he said.

He added that defensive end RJ Tyler will be tasked with getting into the backfield and disrupting the timing of Wise and his backfield mates.

What they're saying

"Right now, it's just getting things turned back around. We haven't talked a whole lot about anything beyond this Friday night." - Ken Tucker, Wagener-Salley head coach