By Thomas Grant Jr.
Welcome to Lexington County – the home of the unbeatens.
As the high school regular season ends, four schools remain unblemished in the loss column.
White Knoll, Gilbert, Irmo and Gray Collegiate remain perfect on the season. No county in the state of South Carolina has as many undefeated teams.
The Timberwolves are the lone 9-0 team with a chance to complete their first-ever undefeated season Chapin at home against Chapin. They clinched a share of the Region 4-5A title – the school’s first since 2014 – with a 16-0 victory at Lexington.
Quarterback Landon Sharpe threw and rushed for a touchdown and placekicker Jordy Aguilera had a 25-yard field goal to account for White Knoll’s scoring. The story was the defense which held Lexington to 55 total yards (-23 rushing), forced four turnovers and finished with six sacks.
“The key to high school football is stopping the run and we stopped the run the early part of the game and we forced (Offensive coordinator Adam) Gamble and Coach Curtis to throw a little bit more than what they wanted to do and then we could get our pressures (in),” head coach Nick Pelham said.
Lincoln Ilunga had three sacks, three forced fumbles and six tackles and Shrine Bowl linebacker Jaiden Kimble had 3.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks to lead the Timberwolves.
“It was really good because last year he got a lot of rushing yards on us, so we really wanted to stop him this year. Stop the outside runs,” Ilunga said. “That’s what we did tonight.”
Because of the tiebreaker, the Timberwolves will clinch the top seed for the Class 5A playoffs. This year, the first-place region title will compete in the Lower State.
Meanwhile, Lexington still has an opportunity at second place and a first-round home game. It faces Aiken Friday before closing out the season at Dutch Fork.
“We know we want to come and maybe get some momentum back on offense,” Lexington head coach Dustin Curtis said. “We gained some last week and kind of turned around and lost it again. So, that was the message to the kids is to try to play as well as we can against Aiken, get some offensive momentum back and then go into Dutch Fork for a home playoff game.”
Over in Gilbert, the Indians rolled past Orangeburg-Wilkinson 48-14 to improve to 8-0 for the third time under head coach Chad Leaphart.
For the third consecutive week, freshman Trevon Williamson rushed for over 100 yards and had three touchdowns. Williamson finished with 184 yards and the three scores as part of a 34-point second quarter by the Indians.
Quarterback Dustin Braddock threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns. Krew Morris had six receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns and Wynn Meetze had 11 tackles.
Gilbert is tied with Brookland-Cayce for first place in Region 5-3A with two games left. It plays host to Dreher Friday before closing the season at the Bearcats Oct. 27.
Newberry loses by forfeit
Newberry was the latest team to forfeit its Region 4-2A matchup with Gray Collegiate Academy.
The schools are protesting what they believe is a competitive advantage the West Columbia school enjoys as a charter school. As a result, Gray Collegiate improved to 5-0 in the region to wrap up the region title.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-1) are currently in second place and face Columbia Friday.
WEEK 8 GRIDIRON GIANTS
Brady Albro (Chapin) – 181 passing yards, TD
Matt McAulay (Lexington) – eight tackles
Montrell Byrd (Lexington) – six tackles
Landon Sharpe (White Knoll) – 131 passing yards, passing TD; rushing TD
Austin Cunningham (White Knoll) – six receptions, 76 yards, TD
Tiyon Fanning (White Knoll) – 94 rushing yards
Demenico Banks (White Knoll) – five tackles, ½ sack
S.C. HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP MEDIA RANKINGS
1. Summerville (19) (8-0)
2. TL Hanna (8-1)
3. Byrnes (1) (8-1)
4. White Knoll (8-0)
5. Hillcrest (7-1)
6. Gaffney (6-2)
7. Fort Dorchester (5-2)
8. Ashley Ridge (7-1)
9. Lexington (6-2)
10. Clover (6-2)
Others receiving votes: JL Mann, Carolina Forest, Sumter, Rock Hill
1.South Florence (17) (8-0)
2. Northwestern (3) (7-1)
3. Irmo (8-0)
4. James Island (8-0)
5. Westside (7-1)
6. Midland Valley (8-0)
7. South Pointe (6-2)
8. Lucy Beckham (7-0)
9. North Augusta (6-2)
10. Hartsville (5-3)
Others receiving votes: Ridge View, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, York, West Florence
1.Daniel (18) (8-0)
2. Belton-Honea Path (2) (8-0)
3. Dillon (7-1)
4. Gilbert (8-0)
5. Chapman (7-1)
6. Crestwood (7-1)
7. Chester (7-1)
8. Broome (7-1)
9. Philip Simmons (8-0)
10. Camden (6-2)
Others receiving votes: Clinton, Pendleton, Manning
1.Gray Collegiate (14) (10-2)
2. Abbeville (6) (7-1)
3. Oceanside Collegiate (5-2)
4. Hampton County (8-1)
5. Fairfield Central (6-2)
6. Marion (8-1)
7. Strom Thurmond (6-2)
8. Saluda (6-2)
9. Silver Bluff (6-2)
10. Ninety-Six (7-1)
Others receiving votes: Woodland, Andrew Jackson, Chesnee
Photos by Thomas Grant Jr.