For the second week in a row, Laurens and Clinton are both at home, with the Raiders taking on Westside at K.C. Hanna Stadium and the Red Devils playing Union County at Wilder Stadium.
Also, for the second week in a row, Laurens Academy is busing across the state to take on Clarendon Hall in Summerton.
Both public schools are also coming off wins. Clinton has equaled its victories for all of 2018, and Laurens and Laurens Academy could tie their totals with wins Friday night.
All three games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Westside (1-3, 1-1) at Laurens (3-1, 2-0): Both the Rams and the Raiders are coming off Region 1-5A “rivalry” games, and both are playing the season a game shy. Westside had a game vs. Daniel canceled by lightning, and Laurens had its scheduled trip to Myrtle Beach eliminated by storm.
Hanna won its cross-town Anderson game, 20-14, though Westside had a late shot after recovering an onsides kick. Laurens pulled away in the fourth quarter to take a 21-7 verdict over cross-lake rival Greenwood.
Laurens’ best athlete, Duane Martin, was spectacular on both platoons against the Eagles. At running back, the 6-2, 250 rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns. At linebacker, he made eight tackles as the Raiders scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to put Greenwood away.
Martin, who is committed to play at Louisville next year, has made 11 solo tackles and 14 assists, with five tackles for loss and one quarterback sack.
Quarterback Ryan Campbell rushed for 78 yards against Greenwood.
Both teams have also thoroughly dominated a region opponent, with Westside clobbering Easley, 57-0, and Laurens running roughshod over Wade Hampton, 54-26.
The game may well be decided by ball control. In a losing cause, Westside had a touchdown drive that ran off almost 11 minutes of the clock. The Rams scored came on a touchdown pass from Blair Garner to Tyson Lewis and an Elijah Harper run.
Union County (2-3) at Clinton (2-3): The records are the same, but Union County, coming off a bye, has faced the tougher schedule. For instance, the one common opponent is Broome, which defeated the Red Devils, 49-20, and fell to the Yellow Jackets, 34-7.
The game last year was the unquestioned low point of Clinton’s season. Union County won, 62-7. Clinton now has a different head coach, Corey Fountain, but the memory lingers. The question is whether an improving Red Devil team can do something about it.
The Red Devils have lessened but not eliminated their mistakes in the season to date. They must do better if they are to pull a home upset in the first Region 3-3A game.
Last week Clinton rushed for 253 yards, but with Navill Watson in at quarterback for injured Davis Wilson, the Red Devils only passed for five. Jykorie Gary, Kimon Quarles, Shyquan Kinard and Watson combined to rush for 238 yards.
Konnor Richardson was all over the field on defense, scoring on a 40-yard interception return, setting up another touchdown after scooping up a fumble and ending Pendleton’s last hope by batting down a pass in a 20-14 victory.
Union County was idle last week after defeating Greer, 28-14, on Sept. 20 in a game in which its defense forced six turnovers.
Laurens Academy (2-2) at Clarendon Hall (4-0): Long road trips are not uncommon for the Crusaders, who must bus to Summerton a week after absorbing a costly 30-0 setback in St. Matthews to Calhoun Academy.
It’s not a good sign that the Saints defeated Calhoun, 22-20, a week earlier. Clarendon Hall has also defeated Beaufort Academy (50-22), Patrick Henry (52-14) and, last week, Richard Winn (42-40).
The Crusaders gave up all 30 points to the Cavaliers in the first half, which ended with LA quarterback Thomas Lowry suffering a back injury that kept him out of the rest of the game.
If Lowry can’t go this week – he’s “day to day,” like life – Cal Robertson will step in to replace him.