Who to watch for Dorman: WR Tra’Von Fernandez, LB Brannon Teamer, OL Landon Greene.
Who to watch for Greenville: DL Jayden Wilson-Abrams, DB Romani Bruton, ATH Mazeo Bennett.
About the Cavaliers: After 30 years of stability, the 2023 Cavaliers will have a third different coach in as many years. The new guy, though, is Dorman product and Cavalier lifer Jake Morris. He’ll put a product on the field that folks in Roebuck are used to seeing, with an opportunistic offense and a rugged defense.That side of the ball will likely carry Dorman as a ton of new talent emerges on the offensive side of the ball.
About the Red Raiders: Greenville is LOADED. Last year’s semifinal playoff exit was Greenville’s deepest run since 1927. Defenders like Wilson-Abrams, Bruton, and Bruce Knauber, and an offense that features electric QB Bryson Drummond and the do-everything Bennett, might take the Red Raiders even one step further.
5A No. 5 Byrnes vs. Hough (N.C.) (Saturday)
Series Record: Byrnes won the only meeting between the schools 44-7 in 2019.
Radio/TV/Internet: 97.1/97.7FM The Fan
Location : American Legion Memorial Stadium, 1238 Armory Drive, Charlotte.
Who to watch for Byrnes: ATH Armoni Weaver, ATH Chamarryus Bomar, DL Chris Foster, RB Tre Segarra.
Who to watch for Hough: OL Eagan Boyer, LB James Nesta, ATH Aiden Spearman.
About the Rebels: Byrnes has a ton of playmakers all over the field, starting with Weaver. Whether he’s running it, catching it, or you’re kicking it to him, you can’t take your eyes off him. Bomar is another dynamic player, and the Rebels boast a solid defense.
About the Huskies: New head coach DeShawn Baker is looking to bring a new culture to Hough, and the Huskies have responded. With a talented core of returners and a couple of big-time athletes, the Huskies are one of the favorites in the NCHSAA West.
5A No. 7 T.L. Hanna at Boiling Springs
Series Record: Hanna leads the all-time series 7-6.
Last Meeting: Hanna won 43-0 last season.
Location: Bulldog Stadium, 2251 Old Furnace Road, Boiling Springs
Who to watch for T.L. Hanna: RB Vashun Burton, OL Zack Ramsey, LB Khilon Graves
Who to watch for Boiling Springs: QB Lincoln Huskey, S JoJo Barrett, RB Javen Chhim
About the Yellow Jackets: As usual, the Yellow Jackets are big, physical, and disciplined. Their intricate wing-based run game will again lead the way, and while they’re breaking in a new QB, they’ll be strong up front and have a stable of experienced running backs. Defensively, Graves is one of the most athletic LBs in the Upstate.
About the Bulldogs: Boiling Springs will look to take a leap forward in its second year under head coach Matt Reel. Huskey will have a greater grasp of the offense, and the Bulldogs are better on the defensive side as well, led by Barrett’s high-motor play.
5A No. 2 Gaffney at Crest (N.C.)
Series Record: Gaffney leads the all-time series 2-0.
Who to watch for Gaffney: QB Riley Staton, RB Jaiden McDowell, RB Quashon Tate, LB Andrew Ruppe, LB Clay Cook.
Who to watch for Crest: WR Javarius Green, QB Ny’Tavius Huskey.
About the Indians: Gaffney is loaded. Transfer QB Riley Staton can sling it around, Emazon Littlejohn and Drew Medley will draw a lot of attention out wide, and the Indians have one of the best backfield tandems around in Tate and McDowell. Cook and Ruppe were 1-2 on the team in tackles last season, and return to lead a stout defense.
About the Chargers: Green is the real deal. The receiver is being sought after by the likes of Alabama, along with a bunch of top-tier programs. Huskey is an electric playmaker at QB, and under the offensive scheme of new coach Jim Sosebee, Crest is looking to return to the top of the heap in North Carolina.
No. 4 South Pointe at No. 8 Spartanburg
Series Record: The all-time series is tied 2-2.
Last Meeting: Spartanburg won 20-9 in 2013.
TV/Radio/Internet: Fox Sports Spartanburg, 1400AM/98.3FM
Location: Viking Stadium, 2250 E. Main St., Spartanburg
Who to watch for South Pointe: QB Malachi Marshall, DL Chris Dixon, DB J’Zavien Currence.
Who to watch for Spartanburg: LB Bennie Littlejohn, LB Cam’Rich Smith, S Demario Bookhart.
About the Stallions: South Pointe looks like a team with all the tools. Marshall is a 2,000-yard passer, and he’s got a bunch of talent around him on offense. Defensively, the Stallions are strong at all three levels, with Dixon and Currence both drawing major college offers.
About the Vikings: Spartanburg has a largely untested offense, with most of their skill position players lost to graduation. However, the Vikings do have returners with experience, and a talented core at offensive line that will allow them to mature quickly. Defensively, they’re loaded. Bookhart is a ball-hawk and headhunter at safety, and Littlejohn and Smith are as good a linebacker combo as you’ll find. Joshua Mattison is a strong, quick DE.
Broome at 3A No. 8 Powdersville
Series Record: Powdersville leads the series 3-1.
Last Meeting: The Patriots won 47-23 in a Week Zero matchup last season.
Who to watch for Broome: OL Steven O’Dell, RB Jaylen McGill, QB Kamajay Brackett-Brannon.
Who to watch for Powdersville: QB Eli Hudgins, WR Elijah Huggins, OL Dajuan Wardell, LB Harrison Jeffries.
About the Centurions: Broome has two of the most dynamic offensive players in the Upstate in McGill and Brackett-Brannon. They’ll work behind a big, talented line led by O’Dell, who’s a huge presence at tackle but athletic enough to run sideline-to-sideline. Look for the Centurions to be aggressive defensively.
About the Patriots: Hudgins is a legit two-way star, equally capable of hurting you with his arm or his legs. Wardell was the Anderson County Offensive Lineman of the Year, while Huggins provides a spark every time he touches the ball. Jeffries is a hard-nosed LB who will lead the defense.
Chapman at Woodruff
Series Record: Woodruff leads the series 38-19-2.
Last Meeting: Woodruff won a Week Zero matchup 13-7 in overtime last season.
Who to watch for Chapman: QB Coleman Gray, WR Shawn Cunningham, RB Matthai Scott, LB Reece Lynch.
Who to watch for Woodruff: C Cohen Lyda, G Brandon Ruiz, LT Jake Cox, ATH Kory Scott.
About the Panthers: Chapman is coming off another region title season and a third-round playoff berth. Gray returns at QB, with Scott and Keanu Na providing punch in the running game. Cunningham will touch the ball a lot for the Panthers, whether they’re throwing it to him, handing it to him, or letting him return kicks. Lynch is a standout on defense, and Harrison Bridges is strong at both OL and DL.
About the Wolverines: Woodruff has just five returning starters, but three of those are Lyda, Ruiz, and Cox up front. They’ll try to give the offense time to grow. The dynamic Scott can do a little bit of everything, and the similarly speedy Kori Moates has expectations high. Cam Taylor gives the Wolverines a true threat at TE – he’s 6-5 and 200 pounds – while Hunter West is a defensive ball-hawk.
Blacksburg at Buford
Series Record: Blacksburg leads the all-time series 8-2.
Who to watch for Blacksburg: WR Cameron Cobb, QB Josh Sims, OL Thomas Hardin
Who to watch for Buford: OL/DL Ricky McKinnon, RB/S Mason Deese, CB/OLB/WR Aaron Morris.
About the Wildcats: The Wildcats are switching to a spread offense in their first year with Josh Batcheler as their official head coach. That’s a huge change from the Double-Wing attack of the past several years, and they’ll have to grow into the change in a hurry.
About the Yellow Jackets: Assistant Joe Watson is taking over for Ed Susi at head coach, and changes will likely be minimal. Buford played for the region title a year ago before falling to third. Watson has expressed a strong believe in a solid running game, sound defense, and winning the special teams battle.
Blue Ridge at Chesnee
Series Record: Chesnee leads the all-time series 28-11-1
Last Meeting: Blue Ridge won 42-27 a year ago.
Radio/TV/Internet: upstateprep-cast.net will feature broadcasts from both teams.
Location: Eagle Stadium, 795 S. Alabama Ave., Chesnee
Who to watch for Blue Ridge: LB Ryan Wade, OL/DL Malek Itani, TE Jackson Lanier
Who to watch for Chesnee: QB Kjay Proctor, ATH Adonis Burgess, ATH Kyle Martin
About the Tigers: Blue Ridge put together a run to the playoffs a year ago, and the Tigers will look to build on that momentum. They have a strong core group of returners, and have some talent to build around, particularly on the defensive side.
About the Eagles: Chesnee is moving to a spread offense, and the Eagles will look to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers in space. Proctor will be one of the rarest of players – a QB who contributes at defensive end. Burgess is back from some nagging injuries, and will play all over the field. Martin is in the same situation, returning from an injury to help the Eagles wherever he can.
Newberry at Union County
Series Record: Union County leads the series 5-2.
Last Meeting: Union County won 30-14 last season.
Radio/TV/Internet: WBCU 1440AM
Location: Union County Stadium, 100 Kirby St., Union
Who to watch for Newberry: LB Julian Senn, OL/DL Isaiah Brown, CB/RB Nahmere Pearce, LB Jared Acosta.
Who to watch for Union County: RB/DB Quan Jeter, RB/S Dreshawn Glenn, MLB Joe Knox, DE Kahmauryon Brannon.
About the Bulldogs: Newberry is in its second year under head coach Cedrick Jeter, and the Bulldogs will look to take another step forward this season. The team is young, but has some playmakers, and they return some experience on defense.
About the Yellow Jackets: Union County is transitioning to a more ground-based attack offensively, to take advantage of personnel matchups. Jeter is a dynamic runner, and Glenn provides an added punch.