High School Football

Week 5 Prep Football Preview Capsules

Barnwell (2-2) at Aiken (0-4)

Last time they played

Barnwell defeated Aiken 35-14 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Aiken’s defense will have its hands full with Barnwell quarterback Cameron Austin and the rest of the Warhorses’ offense. Austin accounted for 305 total yards and five touchdowns, four of them on the ground, in last week’s win over Orangeburg-Wilkinson to snap a two-game losing streak. Jordan Peeples rushed for 97 yards and a score, Jaquan Peeples had 103 receiving yards, and Logan Sturkie had 73 receiving yards and a score. That’s going to test an Aiken defense that did a good job defending the run against Strom Thurmond two weeks ago but got torched by the Rebels’ passing attack. Jameat Williams got loose a few times in that game, accounting for 121 yards of total offense and a touchdown, so the Warhorses will have to keep him within their grasp. Aiken’s passing game has produced some big gains so far this season, but the Hornets are going to have to do a better job of taking care of the football after turning it over three times two weeks ago.

Midland Valley (4-0) at Westwood (1-3)

Last time they played

Westwood defeated Midland Valley 41-19 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Midland Valley will look to keep the train rolling on the road this week against a Westwood team on a three-game losing streak. The Mustangs, the 10th-ranked team in Class AAAA, will again lean on 1,000-yard running back Traevon Dunbar, Preston McNair and the offensive line to get things going against the Redhawks. Quarterback Preston Butler will be a player to watch, as he continues to improve as he gets more games under his belt. He was efficient in last week’s win over Harlem, and now he faces a Westwood defense that gave up 263 passing yards and three touchdowns last week against White Knoll.

North Augusta (3-1) at Dutch Fork (1-3)

Last time they played

Dutch Fork defeated North Augusta 49-7 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

North Augusta’s offense probably can’t wait to get back on the field after rolling up 494 yards against a stout Greenwood defense in last week’s 49-40 win. Michael Doe ran for 152 yards and four touchdowns, and Corey Tillman had a huge game by going 12-for-13 passing for 155 yards and a score and also rushing for 149 yards and another touchdown. Now comes the biggest test of the season to date in a Dutch Fork team that last week snapped an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak by blowing out Stratford. The Silver Foxes have a strong running game of their own, and in last week’s win they scored three touchdowns on special teams.

South Aiken (0-4) at White Knoll (3-0)

Last time they played

White Knoll defeated South Aiken 35-14 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

South Aiken needs to be locked in from the opening kickoff so that the T-Breds aren’t having to fight their way back into a game like in last week’s loss to River Bluff. They showed plenty of fight in erasing a 21-0 first-quarter deficit to tie the game at 28, then let mistakes and bad breaks snowball into 35 consecutive points by the Gators. Quarterback Terrence Smith can keep South Aiken in any game, and last week he accounted for 321 total yards and four touchdowns. Running back Jevon Edwards returned from injury and rushed for 108 yards, more importantly doing so on 21 carries, and even with both a little banged up it’s still the best 1-2 punch in the state. The defense will need to have a better night against White Knoll quarterback Landon Sharpe, who threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for a score in last week’s win over Westwood.

Fox Creek (1-2) at Airport (3-1)

Last time they played

Airport defeated Fox Creek 33-20 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Fox Creek returns to play after a bye week, and in their last game the Predators picked up their first win of the season by beating McCormick. Up next is an Airport team that’s already having one of its best seasons in years. Last week the Eagles had some success in the passing game, particularly the connection between quarterback Jesse Ray Hoover and receiver Avery Jones, and made a late defensive stand in a 10-7 win over Lugoff-Elgin. Devonta Holmes had a big night for the Predators in their win two weeks ago, and he could have a hand in spoiling Airport’s hot start.

Silver Bluff (2-1) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (0-3)

Last time they played

Silver Bluff defeated Orangeburg-Wilkinson 14-7 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Silver Bluff, ranked ninth in Class AA, had last week off following the Bulldogs’ loss to Midland Valley. Now they’ll look to bounce back against a reeling Orangeburg-Wilkinson team that has scored 12 total points in three games this season. The Silver Bluff defense may feel like it has something to prove this week after Midland Valley gained 401 yards against them. The Bulldogs didn’t have much working in the passing game in that loss, so this is an opportunity to get the offense back to the balanced unit it was in the season-opening win over South Aiken.

Evans (1-2) at Strom Thurmond (2-1)

Last time they played

Strom Thurmond defeated Evans 29-21 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Like Silver Bluff, Strom Thurmond had a bye last week and is also ranked No. 9 in Class AA. Evans is likely hoping the Rebels’ passing game cooled off a bit during the week off after putting up 230 yards and four scores against Aiken. Quan Edmond and Tennessee commit Braylon Staley connected six times for 121 yards and three touchdowns, and the Knights’ defense is going to have to keep an extra set of eyes on Staley at all times. Evans is strong in the kicking game, which the Knights may use to eliminate Staley as a special teams threat. The Knights have a pair of big-play runners in Rayshaun King and EJ Hogan, so the Rebels will be counting on a strong defensive performance to slow them down.

Denmark-Olar (3-1) at Blackville-Hilda (3-1)

Last time they played

Denmark-Olar defeated Blackville-Hilda 41-34 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

It’s time for a bounce-back for both programs after losses last week. Blackville-Hilda suffered its first of the season in a 7-6 heartbreaker at Bamberg-Ehrhardt, and No. 7 Denmark-Olar fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 28-26 loss to Allendale-Fairfax. Blackville-Hilda’s defense has been stout this season, and the Fighting Hawks will look for another big outing against a Denmark-Olar offense that can score in a hurry. The Fighting Hawks’ offense was slowed by Bamberg-Ehrhardt, so they’ll try to get their powerful run game and quick-strike passing attack back on track in the Region 4-A opener.

Ridge Spring-Monetta (0-3) at Lewisville (3-1)

Last time they played

Lewisville defeated Ridge Spring-Monetta 40-0 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Ridge Spring-Monetta is the lone Region 4-A team that isn’t beginning league play this week, but that doesn’t mean the Trojans have a cupcake opponent. The non-region gauntlet wraps up with a road trip to Lewisville, the No. 1 team in Class A with a huge roster for the state’s smallest classification. The Lions lost 24-7 to Class AA No. 2 Oceanside Collegiate in the season opener, and since then they’ve outscored their opponents 170-0. Ian Grissom has already passed for 1,129 yards and 14 touchdowns, so RS-M’s secondary will have to be prepared for a pass-heavy attack. The Trojans can also move the ball quickly through the air, and after a bye week they’ll look to produce some more fireworks.

Wagener-Salley (3-0) at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler (3-0)

Last time they played

Wagener-Salley defeated Hunter-Kinard-Tyler 27-22 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

For Wagener-Salley, it’s just a matter of continuing to do what the War Eagles do. The power run attack generated 442 yards in last week’s win over Swansea, and the War Eagles will look for more along those lines against a Hunter-Kinard-Tyler team that hasn’t allowed a point yet this season. The defense had a great night against Swansea, with the starters only allowing a lone touchdown on one big play. They’ll have to be sound this week against an H-K-T team that always has big-play threats. The key for Wagener-Salley will be to keep those players from getting behind them. Both teams are ranked No. 9 in the Class A poll, and this is the Region 4-A opener for both.

Williston-Elko (0-3) at Calhoun County (4-0)

Last time they played

Calhoun County defeated Williston-Elko 51-21 on Sept. 16, 2022.

Keys to the game

Williston-Elko will look to get its run game going after it sputtered in last week’s loss to Branchville. The Blue Devils were able to pass the ball well, and Willie Brown had another big game with a couple of special teams touchdowns. Jamarion Kirkland led the defense, which allowed 459 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Up next is a third-ranked Calhoun County team averaging 42.5 points per game. The Saints are balanced offensively, with Ahmir Smith leading the rushing attack. The headliner for the Saints is 6-foot-3 wide receiver Christian Zachary, who committed to Virginia in June. He’s the primary target in the passing game, and the Blue Devils will have to limit him however they can.

September 14, 2023 | Post and Courier, The: Web Edition Articles (Charleston, SC)
Author/Byline: Staff Reports editorial@aikenstandard.com | Section: Localsports

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