Top Skill Players Shine in SC's First Friday Night Lights

by - Correspondent -
Stephen Bright led the Warriors to a 21-0 upset of Belton Honea Path.

After seeing some of the best high school football in the country Friday night, and reviewing some stats and game clips from many other games, it becomes more and more evident to me just why the Tennessee's and Florida State's of the college football world continually enter our borders to steal our kids: because we have some of the best football talent in the country and that is proven each Friday in large and small towns alike in the Palmetto State. This weekend was no exception to that rule.

The Quarterbacks were quite impressive this weekend, as several of the state's top recruits turned in stellar performances. Riverside's Stephen Bright (6-3, 210) proved Friday that he is as good a runner as he is a passer. Bright led the Warriors to a 21-0 upset of Belton Honea Path by rushing 23 times for 94 yards and one touchdown. He also passed 8 of 20 for 114 yards and another touchdown. Anthony Johnson (6-3, 220) of Byrnes also looked impressive opening day. The senior signal caller was 9 of 12 for 259 yards and 5 touchdowns! Union's Josh Harris (6-3, 180) had a good game in a losing effort, completing 19 of 33 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown in the Jackets' 14-11 loss to Spartanburg. Greenwood QB Sam Williams (6-2, 190) demonstrated why schools like Auburn are offering by gunning 9 of 12 passes for over 200 yards and three touchdowns against Emerald. Gaffney's Clay Merchant was pass-happy, tossing 25 of 46 for 361 yards and four touchdowns in the Indians' opener against Sumter. A couple of quarterbacks that will generate a lot of interest by season end are Eric McCollum of Camden and Dwayne Lynah of Stratford. McCullum passed 14 times, completing 10 for 320 yards and four touchdowns in Camden's win over Cheraw. Lynah, a Michael Vick-like quarterback from the low country was 11 of 17 for 107 yards and a touchdown and rushed 11 for 55 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

North Augusta runningback Reggie Merriweather rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets' win. Dorman running back Jack Ross (5-9, 185) rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Cavs' big win over Lexington. One runningback that schools need to take notice of is Corey Mitchell (5-9, 160lbs) of Crestwood. This little speedster's size may be scaring off the big schools, but if they fail to take notice they are missing out on a great athlete. Mitchell, who rushed for 2000 yards last season, rushed 15 times for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. He's also a state champion weight lifter in the 160 class, a 200 meter state champion and a 4.3 40 man. He's attracting schools like Furman and Duke with his 1150 SAT and 4.85 GPA..

The wide receivers had a good weekend as well. Kelvin Grant (6-1, 200) of Camden snagged four passes for 134 yards and four touchdowns, including an 84 yard pass from Eric McCullum. Charles Ben (6-0, 205), the other nationally ranked wide receiver along with Grant, caught 2 passes for 17 yards and 1 TD, rushed twice for 38 yards and a TD, passed 2 for 2 and 65 yards, and returned a punt for 30 yards as the Saints won their opener. Greenwood All-State wide receiver Dvon Hill caught seven passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles win over Emerald. Hill is another Palmetto state prep star that Auburn is pushing hard for. Fredrick Bennett, DB, Manning, had one interception from his secondary spot and a 75 yard touchdown reception while playing WR on offense. Bennett is probably the best DB in the state, which seems to be becoming a tradition at Manning.

Stratford's big tight end that everyone seems interested in, Mo Thompson (6-4, 255) caught four passes for 59 yards and one touchdown in a sloppy Knight victory.

Jim Baxter is the editor of, the leader in South Carolina high school sports news.

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