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Can Dillon maintain dominance in more competitive Class AAA

Moncks Corner – Regardless of any losses in personnel from year to year, it has been almost a given that Dillon High’s football team will be a state title contender every year.

Dillon was the “Team of the Decade” as honored by the High School Sports Report in February and for good reason. Coach Jackie Hayes and his program are a model of consistency, winning nine region titles, nine lower state titles, and five state championships over the last decade. Dillon is 131-10 over that period of time.

The 2020 Wildcats enter the season as the top-ranked team in Class AAA, returning a handful of starters on both sides of the ball. As usual, the program is producing quality talent at the lower levels and several underclassmen are primed to make their varsity contributions.

Senior receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, a Louisville commit, is one of the state’s top playmakers and a fourth-year varsity starter. Running backs Nemo Squires and Nigel George return to the run game as well.

With the realignment and reclassification of schools by the S.C High School League in February, Class AAA has become a more competitive league across the board.

Second-ranked Camden, with the backfield tandem of running back Willis Lane and quarterback Jaffari Pearson, will be a handful offensively. Camden led the state in rushing yards last season.

Defending Class AAAA state champion Wren has moved down to Class AAA and coach Jeff Tate has yet another good quarterback to run his spread offense.

Belton-Honea Path and Daniel also have been reclassified to Class AAA after several years as a AAAA program. Both are perennial playoff participants and should be in contention for the Upper State title this fall.

2018 state champion Chester will make another run this fall with several returning starters and a wealth of speed on the field. Defending state champion Chapman lost a bevy of key performers and their head coach, Mark Hodge to Spartanburg, but the Panthers have tradition and talent on their side once again.

Oceanside Collegiate also lost a lot of production but new head coach Joe Call will have a massive offensive line and an up and coming quarterback to lead the way this season.

Here’s a region-by-region breakdown of what to look for in this shortened season.


Region 1-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Wren
  2. Belton-Honea Path
  3. Daniel
  4. Seneca
  5. Pendleton
  6. West Oak


Region one could make a strong argument as the toughest and most competitive AAA region in the state. The league has at least three legitimate title contenders and probably two others that will contend for the two playoff spots in the region.

Why not go with Wren? The defending state AAAA champions have some holes to fill but also return some key personnel in key areas of leadership.

Seven starters return on defense, which should allow a little time for the offense to find their bearings early on. And you can bet Jeff Tate will get that offense clicking,

Senior linebacker Reed Morrissey, senior defensive back Shyheim Scotland and junior defensive back Nick Morgan are the top returners on defense. Senior Briggs Cox and junior Shavis Edwards add depth in the secondary. Junior Evan Goodwin and sophomore Luke Schuller are quality performers up front.

Senior Noah Staples (6-3, 215),  a transfer from J.L. Mann, is next in line at quarterback for the Hurricanes. Senior Hayden Willimon is the lone returning receiver and junior Zorian Young will step into a role at running back.

The offensive line should be formidable with the return of seniors Hunter Fountain and Devian Cooley leading a group of four returning starters.

Like death and taxes, a sure bet is that the Bears of Belton-Honea Path will be a competitive football team under veteran head man Russell Blackston. The Bears were 7-4 last season and return solid experience overall on both sides of the ball.

Senior Tyler Fields will step into a starting role at quarterback with senior Dusty Hester returning as a running back. Along the front are senior tight end Kaleb Horne, senior center Pearson Fisher and senior guard Hayden Lawter. Junior Jackson Hall is a returning starter up front as well.

Anchoring the defensive line is senior Jatius Geer, a Syracuse commitment. Juniors Jamius Glenn and Xander Brown also return up front.

Senior Tyler Center will step in as a starting linebacker. Seniors Wes Sexton and Eugene Scott anchor the secondary.

Seneca went 4-7 in David Crane’s first season as head coach and the Bobcats will start a bevy of underclassmen this fall. Crane reports only 11 seniors on the roster and feels the program’s future is bright.

Linebacker Tae McCauley is one of the few starting seniors, along with fellow linebacker Damon Worley. Sophomores Deebo Ramsey (DL) and Cade Eavenson (DB) will be counted on for leadership as underclassmen.

On offense, junior receiver EJ Evett (6-3,185) is a major talent with several Division I offers. Senior Elijah Massey and sophomore Matthew Crane also rate as solid pass-catchers. Leading up front are junior guard Zay Gleaton, and sophomore tackles Cam Johnson and Davis Riches.

Yon Radford’s Pendleton Bulldogs finished with an 8-4 record in 2019 and looks to contend for a region championship this fall.

Junior Kameron Jones (6-4, 195) is a key returner at quarterback. Jones threw for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Junior running back Amir Dendy (6-0, 190) topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark and senior Jacari Clark returns as a key receiver.

Senior Ryan Gibson and junior Ethan Jackson are key returners on the defense, each finishing last season with at least 60 tackles. Corner Rashad Johnson will be a leader on the back end.

The Daniel Lions were a threat in AAAA the last two seasons, finishing with an 11-1 record last season. Key players have since graduated and the next wave of talent is ready to take over.

Replacing all-stater Tyler Venables at quarterback is the first order of business. Entering camp the competition was between Jackson Crosley and Eli Merck. Crosley was the backup last season and also played receiver. The top returning running back is senior Jordan Grayden, who averaged 6.6 yards per carry last season. Seniors Josiah Benson (52 receptions) and Javares Hamilton (43-527) are the top receivers.

Linebackers Blake Simpson (Sr.) and Logan Lasher (Jr.) are key pieces defensively. Senior Jacob Hendricks (97 tackles) is back at middle linebacker while junior Griffin Batt returns at defensive end.

West Oak finished with a 1-9 record last season and may struggle to compete with a loaded region. One of the top returning players this fall is junior tackle Ethan Jordan (6-6, 320).


Region 2-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Palmetto
  2. Powdersville
  3. Blue Ridge
  4. Southside
  5. Berea
  6. Carolina


The Palmetto Mustangs are hoping to contend for the region title, finishing 5-6 after a first-round playoff loss last season.

A couple of running back/defensive back types in Ragen Davenport and Jalal Dean will be key performers for head coach Doug Shaw this fall. Iler Capps and Grayson Fowler return to lead the defensive effort at end.

Powdersville finished 3-8 last season and looks to get back to winning this fall under eighth-year head coach Robert Mustarr.

Sophomore running back Thomas Williams will play a key role offensively this season, along with running back Kinore Hunter. Anchoring the defense are linebackers Will Goforth and Jalen Lambert, a sophomore with major college potential. Hunter Cox and Caden Beck are returning in the secondary.

Blue Ridge was 3-7 a year ago and James Thurn returns for his third season as head coach. Senior receiver Hunter Styles and junior running back/linebacker Braeden Enlo are two key returning players this fall.

Grayson Loftis returns at quarterback while Franks Johnson and Garrett Stokes return at receiver and tight end, respectively. Guard Taylor Wooten and tackle Adam Congreve are back along the offensive line.

Key defenders will include linebacker Jackson Goforth and defensive backs Jemiah Mayfield and Zach Skinner.

Southside is coming off a 5-5 season under Jeremy West. Look for senior quarterback Jamie Gamble to have another big season. Gamble had more than 1,500 yards passing last season,

Senior running back Kai’letri Hunter added nearly 700 rushing yards. KP Hill and Cortez McGee-Curry will be among the defensive leaders.

Carolina Academy looks to improve after only one win last season. Senior running back Silas Thompson returns offensively, with junior Keith Teasley working at running back and defensive end.

Berea managed just one win for coach Julius Prince but brighter days are head for the Bulldogs. Key returners include senior quarterback Cam Massey, senior running back Qua Chapman, junior receiver Roman Brown and lineman Zack Poteat (6-2, 300).


Region 3-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Union County
  2. Chapman
  3. Clinton
  4. Broome
  5. Woodruff
  6. Emerald


Union County lost a big-time performer in quarterback KeSean Glover but coach Brian Thompson has a solid squad returning from a 9-4 team that won a region title last season. The coach reports a small senior class so many underclassmen will get their opportunity to play.

Only one starter returns on the offensive line so some underclassmen will have to step up. Taking over at quarterback is JaBryson Hunter with Ke’Avis Savage returning to anchor the running game. Back at receiver are senior KJ McCluney and junior Isaiah Stokes. Desmond Herbert, a starter in the secondary, could also factor in the passing game.

Termaine Epps will anchor the defense at linebacker. Chico Cureton also returns at linebacker and sophomore Tim Salter returns at defensive end.

Harris Cabaniss takes over as the head coach at Chapman, coming over from Mauldin High. The Panthers are defending state AAA champions and finished 15-0 last season.

There will be some new faces on the field this fall but many of them were key backups a year ago. One of those is junior Drew Settle, who saw significant playing time last season because Chapman had many blowout victories. Settle still managed about 1,000 passing yards.

The receiving corps should be solid with juniors DJ Black, Tim McClurkin and Walt Waddell returning with some experience. Handling the run game is senior Carlos Parks. The top returner on the offensive line is junior Nick Cox.

Senior lineman Gabe Watson will anchor the defensive front. Quality experience returns at linebacker in seniors Camden Gray, Andrew Colasurdo and Kam Burrell. Junior Lance Holden returns at defensive end and senior Rontyias Jones returns in the secondary.

Lynn Fleming begins his fourth season at Broome, hoping to improve on a 6-6 finish in 2019.

Quarterback Dylan Ramirez leads a solid group returning at the skill positions. Running backs Bryant Davis and Kalvin Morales look to step up in the run game while KJ Morgan, Nick Shippy and Marcus Lindsay will be at receiver. Dylan Spurlin and Adam Comer are returning linemen.

On defense, Cole Davis is at linebacker as a leader. Eli Reeder returns along the line and Drew Alfred is a returning end.

Woodruff is coming off a 9-4 season but third-year coach Bradley Adams will have to rebuild a bit this fall. Among the key returning players are running back Shamare Dendy, receiver Zay Scott and offensive linemen Nick Robertson and Jonathan Sexton. Sophomore Carson Tucker is looking to take over at quarterback. Jalen Tribble will be a key leader on a young defense along the front.

Clinton posted four wins and made the playoffs in Corey Fountain’s first season at the helm. The Red Devils hope to take the next step in 2020 with 6-3 junior quarterback Davis Wilson and senior running back Kimon Charles leading the way.

Senior tackle Matt McKittrick (6-4, 255) and junior tackle Peyton Pitts (6-6, 280) will anchor the offensive line. Senior Marcus Chalmers anchors the defensive line.

Solid experience returns in the secondary with C.K. Vance, Zeke Johnston and Jykorie Gary.

Tad Dubose hopes to bring his winning pedigree to Emerald as he becomes a first-time head coach. Dubose is a former longtime assistant at powerhouse Abbeville and is looking to turn around an Emerald program that posted just one win in 2019.

Dubose has been pleased with his new team’s attitude and energy and feels they make positive strides this fall.

The coach is counting on Nate Parks to run his offense at quarterback, with Jaylen Foster, Damarius Morton and Z Elmore handling the bulk of the duties in the running game.

John Deal looks to be the leader along the offensive front and Ean Ryans is the top threat at receiver.

Along the defensive front are Robby Harrison, Cameron Gordon and Javarious Perkins. Leading the way at linebacker are DK Sauls and Cole Ison, while Zion Williams anchors the secondary.


Region 4-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Chester
  2. Fairfield Central
  3. Lower Richland
  4. Mid-Carolina
  5. Keenan


Chester went 15-0 and won the AAA state championship in 2018. They slipped to 8-4 a year ago despite having a good core group returning.

Many of those same core group are back again and determined not to repeat the letdown of a year ago. The Cyclones have a third-year starter at quarterback in Zan Dunham, only a junior.

Dunham is a dual threat option, combining for more than 1,600 yards despite an injury last season.

“He’s ready for a breakout year and he brings instant stability to our offense,” Floyd said.

Senior Johnathan Goldsborough heads up the receiving corps, along with Rathael Pendergrass, who grew to 6-4 in height since last season. Junior Jagen Hinton is the fastest of the group.

Junior Darius Head (5-11, 230) anchors the running game. Head suffered a broken arm early last season and missed most of the season but Floyd says “he’s pretty special.”

Anchoring the offensive line are tackles Jeremiah Days (6-1, 260) and Demarious Thompson (6-2, 275), both three-year performers on the varsity.

Seniors Octaveon Minter and Jalen Woods will lead the way defensively. Minter, a three-year starter at linebacker prior to this fall, has moved to defensive end after growing into his 6-2 frame at nearly 270 pounds. Woods, also a three-year starter, led the team in tackles last season.

Junior Quez Jackson is a returning starter at the other end while senior Javonti Jackson is a four-year starter in the secondary. Jaden Simmons, a transfer from Spartanburg, will make an impact in the secondary and will see time at receiver as well. Sophomore Tim Brown is another receiver/defensive back, as is sophomore Andre Evans. Junior corner Khamari Tobias is a major college prospect, according to Floyd.

Fairfield Central slipped to 4-7 last season and coach Demetrius Davis will put a host of underclassmen on the field this fall. The coach projects only five senior starters.

Three of those key seniors will be left tackle Gerald Gaither, running back Will Barber and defensive back Melvin Peay.

Junior Stephon Gadsden brings game experience at quarterback and sophomore Donovan Watkins is a promising player in the secondary. Davis says four underclassmen will start on the defensive line and three sophomores are projected to start at linebacker. Josh Green heads up that group at the second level.

Marlin Taylor is the new head coach at Lower Richland and sees potential in his new team, saying “we have everything we need to be competitive in AAA and hopefully make a good playoff run.”

Taylor will lean on junior quarterback Robert Adams, a transfer from Gray Collegiate, to run the offense this season. Jermey Barney is a returning running back while senior Dustin McCombs and junior Jurnii Lucas return at receiver. The top returning lineman is junior Cameron Newton.

Three senior linebackers – Jabez Taylor, Montero Hood and Casion Hood – will be the strength of the defense. Juniors Lee Davis and Timyous Lippett are returning along the front. Senior safety JR Evans and sophomore cornerback Jefferson Watson anchor the secondary.

Mid-Carolina was 2-8 last season but will be improved in 2020. Junior Macon Arnoult is a steady hand at quarterback and running back Justin Hedgepath returns as well. Junior outside linebacker Andrew Washington and junior safety Jaheim Young lead the defensive effort.

Keenan (3-7) is led by senior defensive end Jadon Allen and offensive lineman Trexton Black. Senior Josh White is expected back at quarterback and senior Lewis Alston is a returning running back.


Region 5-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Gilbert
  2. Brookland-Cayce
  3. Strom Thurmond
  4. Orangeburg-Wilkinson
  5. Fox Creek
  6. Swansea


Gilbert has become a major threat in the Lower State, finishing 11-2 last season. However, head coach Chad Leaphart reports only six returning starters this fall.

The team strength is along the defensive line with returning seniors Jarrett Cason and Sean Spence and juniors Suthern Taylor and Charlie Swails.

Senior LP Snelling and junior Gray Leaphart will be leaders at linebacker while senior Alex Dinkins is the lone returner in the secondary.

Senior running back Colton Mason and senior right tackle Bryce Smith (6-5, 315) are key returners offensively. Though new starters, seniors Sam Felkel, Carson Harmon and TJ Freeman will be working with Smith along the offensive front.

The physical Bearcats of Brookland-Cayce, 8-5 last season, return senior running back Will Way to lead the offense. Senior Phelan Sullivan anchors the offensive line, along with returning senior Gavin Taylor. Senior Latrell Jamison operates in the slot. Junior Jordan Wise is one of the top playmakers in the Midlands.

Defensively, leaders include linebacker Owen Plane, a 6-1, 215-pound junior, safeties Vontre Strader and Trevon Davis, linebacker Tyshawn Davis, and ends Logan Small and Miles Singletary. Junior Skylar King returns in the secondary.

Strom Thurmond coach Antwaun Hillary has solid experience returning from a 10-3 team. Senior Patrick Westbrook returns as the starting quarterback and leading receiver TJ West (24 rec., 352 yards) is back in the passing game as well. The lone senior along the offensive line is center Chance Wisnant.

The Rebels are more experienced on the defensive side of the ball. Junior linebacker Devron Williams led the team with 113 tackles last season while senior end Brandon Williams is a threat off the edge.

Senior Keyshon Jones returns at tackle and senior Stefon Morris returns at linebacker. Senior bandit Justin Rouse is a returning starter while senior Thaddeus Burton and sophomore Greg Bryant return in the secondary.

Kevin Crosby continues to build a strong foundation at Orangeburg-Wilkinson, posting a 6-5 record last season. However, the Bruins lost their last four games, including a playoff loss to Wren.

Senior Nashawn Hezakiah and sophomore Horrace Jacques will be active in the passing game at receiver, while junior Keondre Dickson returns at running back. Leading the way up front are senior Darryl Shivers and junior Jonte Gregg.

Seniors Paul White and Chris Austin lead the defensive charge at linebacker. Sophomore Danion Jackson will step in and fill a role at linebacker as well.

Anchoring the front are senior Andre Linton and junior Ricardo Sprinkle. Senior Jaylon Carson is the leader in the back.

The Fox Creek Predators, 5-6 last year in Class AA, will rely heavily on the experience and talent of returning quarterback Jadon Johnson, a junior. Johnson threw for 964 yards and added nearly 500 yards rushing as a sophomore.

Senior Michael Adams will be a versatile athlete who will see time at quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back.

Handling the bulk of the running game duties are sophomore Kearston Hughes and Kash Johnson. The top returning receivers are senior Chandler O’Bannon and Bryson Johnson.

Anchoring the offensive line will be junior prospect Nick Williams (6-4, 320) at left tackle. Stewart reports 15 FBS offers for Williams already. Tripp Baggott will be the starting right tackle while working at guard are Ryan McAfee and A.J. Martinez. Late in the preseason, Stewart says former tight end Caleb Trahan has moved to center.

The defensive line will be one of the team’s strengths this season. Filling out the starting front are RJ Ramp, Dawson Lewis, Quincy Wells and Jake Kornachick. Lewis totaled 57 tackles and 29 tackles for loss while earning all-region honors last season.

Senior Tommie Priester is the top returner at linebacker.

Starters in the defensive backfield include Connor Morgan, Chris Thomas, Juan Hudson and sophomore Caleb Cook.


Region 6-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Camden
  2. Marlboro County
  3. Manning
  4. Lake City
  5. Crestwood
  6. Lakewood


Camden went 12-2 last season, losing to Chapman in the Upper State championship game. The Bulldogs are now a Lower State team and coach Brian Rimpf has nine returning starters on defense and will have about 17 starting seniors.

Running back Willis Lane heads up the offense. Lane led the state in rushing last season, going for 2,389 yards with 25 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jaffari Pearson added 634 yards on the ground while passing for 1,830 yards. He accounted for 33 touchdowns.

Leaders along the front are returning seniors Donovan Edwards and Drake Davis.

Linebacker Marcellus Juggins is back after racking up 101 tackles as a junior. Senior safety Joseph Byrnes added 108 tackles and had a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Expect the Marlboro County Bulldogs to lean heavily on what should be a solid running game. Returning are backs Demarkus Hicks and Jacardo Riggins, both seniors. Hicks gained more than 600 yards last season while Riggins added nearly 400 yards.

Senior Jesse Williams will be a first-year starter at quarterback. Returning as receivers are Anari Brown (40 receptions, 389 yards), Jaden Brown and Quatrice Bostic, who coach Bobby Collins feels is a Division I prospect.

The offensive line should be a strength, led by three seniors – Coby Webb (6-1, 240), Khalid Roberts (6-3, 330) and Thomas Ashe (6-0, 230).

The defensive line will have all new starters but experience returns in the middle and back of the defense. Senior Shemar Williams, junior Jhamari Talley, and sophomore Marte Simmons will provide leadership at linebacker.

Riggins will likely start at one corner and sophomore Jaylyn Plato will play the other side. Manning the safety positions are seniors Elijah Reed and Ernest Pierce.

Manning won a region title for the first time in 12 years last season, their first under head coach Reggie Kennedy.

The Monarchs return running backs Jaleel Myers and Nizhajuan McFadden to a strong rushing attack. Three offensive linemen return, led by Anthony Hilton, who also starts at nose guard. Junior end Bobby Allen and linebackers Ernie Calloway and Jaquan House also return defensively.

Lake City and head coach Ronnie Baker are excited about the prospects of a good run in 2020. Senior quarterback Hilshon Bailey is the top returning player, accounting for 25 touchdowns last season.

Shelton Burgess, a 6-0, 190-pound senior looks to handle the running chores for the Panthers. In the Panthers three wide set expect to see senior SaQuan Epps, juniors Shamonte Burgess and Damian Wilson.

Returning along the offensive line are seniors center Jordan Hemingway (5-11, 200) and left guard Fredrick Cameron (6, 305).

North Carolina A&T commit outside linebacker EJ McClam is back to lead the defense after totaling 75 tackles last season. Also returning at linebacker is senior T.J. Jackson (6, 195). He had 80 tackles at middle backer. Ssenior cornerback Brice McIntosh and senior strong safety Jakiem Herring return in the secondary.

Lakewood finished 4-7 last year. The Gators are led defensively by safety James Wright, senior end Jayden Jones and junior corner Zayveon Wells. Jayden Jones is a key returner offensively at running back.

Crestwood listed their top returning players this season as junior receiver Desmond McMillan and placekicker Gavin Zimmerman.


Region 7-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Dillon
  2. Aynor
  3. Georgetown
  4. Loris
  5. Waccamaw

There is no clear reason why Dillon cannot win yet another region title but they didn’t win last year, thanks to Aynor. However, veteran head man Jackie Hayes returns a very good core group of veterans in 2020.

Leading the way is all-state receiver and Louisville commit Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, who caught 53 passes for 1,059 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. There will be a new quarterback this fall with transfers Jack Grider, a junior, and sophomore Lucas Hunter competing for the nod.

The Dillon running game will again be strong with returning senior Nemo Squire and Nigel George. Anchoring the offensive line are returning all-stater Avery Hewitt and center Knox Jackson, a three-year starter.

Linebackers are the strength of the defense, so what’s new? Travon Johnson, Ladarius Ladson and JQ Cabbagestalk will spearhead the defensive attack. Jedarius Campbell is a returning senior starter along the front.

The 2019 football season will rank as one of the best ever for the Aynor High football program. Coach Jason Allen’s team won 10 games and their first region title in 30 years, while also ending Dillon’s 59-game region winning streak.

There are some holes to fill in 2020 but Allen’s team should be solid along the trenches, led by Byrnes Britton and Trevor Larrimore. Noah Jones returns with some experience under his belt at quarterback and running backs Anthony Eaddy and Ahmad Gerald will be solid performers.

Gerald also rates as a key defender at linebacker. Tyler Smith and Hunter Richardson will be returners at tight end and could play defense as well this fall.

Georgetown has a new coach as Jimmy Noonan comes from Wando. Noonan inherits a team that finished with three wins last season. Among key returners is lineman Chance Jackson, a 6-5, 297-pounder. Jakari Frasier also returns up front.

Pep Jordan is a returning starter at quarterback. Running back Malaki Johnson and receiver Philip Frazier also return.

Waccamaw, 7-4 last year, has a new head coach as former defensive coordinator Amondre Johnson steps into the top role as the interim boss. Running back Kaimon Skinner will be a key returner offensively. Senior Denson Crisler and sophomore Jaret Yonker are quarterbacks and will play positions on defense.

Top returning offensive linemen include Joey White and Kweli Edwards, while Victor Otubu and Kyle Pence return on the defensive front.

The Loris Lions won just one game last season and have a new head coach in Greg Mance. The Lions will look to senior Brice Faircloth to take the reins at quarterback this fall. Faircloth (6-2, 190) was a key receiver last season.

Junior Jasir Sinkler, senior Chris Gilchrist and Jaquan Jackson will be the leading receivers while junior Mikell Lance returns in the run game. The top returning lineman may be senior center Chandler Graham.

On defense, look for strong play senior Jakwane Gilchrist up front, linebacker Neshaun Lucas at the second level, and defensive backs Omarion Bland (corner) and Amarion Riggins (safety).


Region 8-AAA Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Oceanside Collegiate
  2. Hanahan
  3. Bishop England
  4. Battery Creek
  5. North Charleston
  6. Academic Magnet


Oceanside Collegiate has a lot of new faces on the 2020 football team, starting with the head coach and several members of the coaching staff.

Former Summerville head coach Joe Call is the new boss on campus and has assembled a quality coaching staff as they seek to reload and compete in Class AAA. The Landsharks were in Class AA last season, advancing to the Lower State finals before losing to Barnwell.

The strength of this year’s team will be along the massive offensive line. Some of the big bodies up front include seniors Mickey Lee (6-1, 280) and Will Gause (6-1, 260), along with 6-5, 310-pound Jacob Ashley and 6-6, 270-pound sophomore Monroe Freeling, who already is getting numerous Power 5 offers.

Junior Garrison Kepley is looking to continue the tradition of solid quarterbacks. Junior tight end Dana Brunson will be a key factor offensively as well.

On defense, linebacker Carson Arnold, a 6-2, 215-pound junior, will serve as the team leader. Junior James Deveaux (6-3, 250) will be a leader up front. The Landsharks also return one of the state’s top placekickers in junior Spencer McKinley.

Hanahan also has a new head coach as former Timberland mentor Art Craig eagerly accepts the challenge of rebuilding the program. Craig won more than 200 games and two state championships at Timberland.

Hanahan went 1-9 last season.

Linemen Andrew Stewart and Kai Buffalo will return as senior leaders. Leading tackler Alex Herriott returns at linebacker. A star in the making will be freshman running back Kevon Rivera.

Bishop England returns some weapons offensively but is rebuilding on defense. Returning at running back is three-year starter Michael Long, who topped 1,000 yards as a junior. He will team with senior quarterback Eddie Marinaro as the top playmakers on the offense. Marinaro played receiver last year but has progressed well as the quarterback.

Senior Max Hulen, back for his third season as a starter, will anchor the offensive line at left guard. Senior Jackson Carroll returns at center and senior Remy Moxley is at right tackle. Promising sophomore Cole Preiditsch will be the starting left tackle.

Sammy Gress is a key returner on the defense as a starting linebacker. The lone returning starter along the defensive front is senior Matthew Champlan.

Seniors James Murphy and Michael Owens will start in the secondary.

Battery Creek head coach Terrance Ashe likes the way his team is progressing and recovering from a lack of work this summer.

The Dolphins will look for leadership offensively from quarterback Jacore Anderson and senior linemen Lukas Kinsey and Fabian Salazar. Junior Jeremiah Dilbert will be a key running back and also will play linebacker on defense. Junior Dresean Brown is a receiver who also will work in the secondary and sophomore Tanner McCracken will be a nice addition up front.

Seniors Luke Sanders (linebacker) and Malachi Wilson (tackle) will provide leadership defensively. Wilson also will work on the offensive line. Junior Alvin Black returns along the defensive line and junior Quantell Livingston will return at linebacker. Junior Jaeon Allen is an athlete and will help in various positions on both sides of the ball.

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