A look at what to expect in Columbia County high school football action:
Evans Knights (2-0)
In the region: The Knights are undefeated with a 1-0 region record and are tied for second in the Region 3-AAAA standings with Statesboro and Ware County. Effingham County is atop the standings with a 2-0 region record.
Last week: Evans shut out region rival Lakeside 17-0 on the road. Junior quarterback Kevin Millward threw for two touchdowns, and the Knight defense grabbed two interceptions.
This week: At Greenbrier (1-2)
The past: Evans holds a 2-4 record against Greenbrier since the schools started playing each other annually in 2000. The last time Evans went to Greenbrier was in 2004, when the Knights came away with a 35-12 win.
The match-up: Evans' passing game vs. Greenbrier's passing game. The common ground comparison for the two teams is in the Lakeside games. Greenbrier threw for more than 250 yards against the Panthers, while Evans found similar success and scored twice through the air.
The story: Evans has already notched wins against Harlem and Lakeside this season. A win for the Knights this weekend at Greenbrier would give Evans a clear claim to the title of Columbia County's best football team.
Harlem Bulldogs (1-2)
In the region: Harlem's Region 3N-AAA schedule begins after the Bulldogs enjoy this weekend's bye.
Last week: Harlem picked up its first win of the season with a 21-8 win over Aquinas. The Bulldogs tallied 346 yards rushing and scored three times on the ground. Harlem fullback Barry St. John took over with 155 yards rushing, including a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Harlem's defense held Aquinas to only 101 yards of total offense.
This week: Bye week.
The past: Harlem hasn't had a bye week in the past two seasons, but before then the Bulldogs went 0-3 in games after a bye week.
The match-up: None.
The story: After three nonregion games, Harlem gets a much-needed break to rest up for one of the toughest region schedules in recent memory.
Lakeside Panthers (1-2)
In the region: Lakeside sits at the bottom of the Region 3-AAAA standings with an 0-2 region record, just behind Brunswick, Wayne County and Richmond Academy, each of which has 0-1 region records.
Last week: The Panthers lost a region rivalry home game against Evans 17-0. Lakeside tailback Michael Paul ran for 47 of the team's 58 rushing yards.
This week: At Richmond Academy (1-2)
The past: Lakeside and Richmond Academy will revive what used to be an annual rivalry. From 1989-93, the two teams met seven times and Lakeside won three of them. The most recent game was a 21-16 Richmond Academy win in a 1993 playoff game.
The match-up: Lakeside's secondary vs. Richmond Academy's quarterback, Jacob Sullivan. The ARC signal caller threw for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in its win over region opponent Wayne County last week. Lakeside's pass defense did take a hit against Evans last week, but compared to its past performances, the Panther secondary looked dramatically improved.
The story: As mentioned earlier, Lakeside's defense looked much stronger last week against Evans and didn't give up a play of 25 yards or longer. If the Panthers' improvements continue at the same pace, Lakeside could have its first region win Friday.
Greenbrier Wolfpack (1-2)
In the region: With a region win over Lakeside and loss to Effingham County, Greenbrier ranks in a tie for fifth in the Region 3-AAAA standings with Glynn Academy.
Last week: Greenbrier was no match for a strong Effingham County squad as the Wolfpack suffered a 41-14 loss on the road. Greenbrier took an early 7-0 lead on a Nick Richards 1-yard touchdown run and found receiver Tyrone Bonds in the end zone in the fourth quarter for the second score. Between the two Greenbrier touchdowns, Effingham County dominated with a ground game that scored six times and racked up 395 yards.
This week: Vs. Evans (2-0)
The past: Greenbrier leads the rivalry with Evans 4-2 since the schools started playing each other annually in 2000. The Wolfpack beat Evans in their most recent meeting last season with a 16-9 victory.
The match-up: Greenbrier's passing game vs. Evans' passing game. The common ground comparison for the two teams is in the Lakeside games. Greenbrier threw for over 250 yards against the Panthers, while Evans found similar success and scored twice through the air.
The story: After starting the season with three straight road games, Greenbrier will welcome first-year head coach Scott Chadwick to the Brierpatch with the unofficial Columbia County championship on the line.
Augusta Christian (3-1)
In the region: Augusta Christian's region schedule will begin Oct. 6 with a homecoming game against Ben Lippen.
Last week: The Lions claimed the first Battle for the Paddle at North Augusta's Lions Memorial Field with a 47-6 win over Fox Creek. The victory over the 2-year-old Fox Creek program was the first for Augusta Christian against a public school team and came thanks to a Lions defense that allowed Fox Creek only 74 total yards of offense.
This week: At Porter-Gaud (3-1)
The past: The Lions own the series against Porter-Gaud with a 3-0 record, including two wins last season. The final victory came in the SCISA Class AAA state championship game last year that saw Augusta Christian win 24-7.
The match-up: Defending state champs vs. defending state runners-up. Don't think Porter-Gaud has forgotten about that cold November night.
The story: Augusta Christian was ranked No. 1 in the SCISA Class AAA preseason poll, while Porter-Gaud took the No. 3 ranking. A win for either school would likely come with SCISA's top ranking.
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