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Ben Lippen High School
Columbia

By CHRIS DEARING

Special Contributor

Columbia - Ben Lippen coach Derek White opened spring football practice this week with a different vibe around his program. The Falcons won the SCISA Class AAA championship for the first time-ever and that has made the hunted.

That sits well with him.

“You’re always going to have change from season to season,” White said. “The fact that we’re the hunted this year I take with a grain of salt. The kids are still hungry, they’re doing everything we’ve asked of them and our goals stay the same.”

The goal obviously is to defend the title. Ben Lippen lost a lot to graduation and one transfer out of the program but gained a lot with some transfers into the program.

Highly touted Bryce Thompson elected to transfer back to Dutch Fork after playing with the Falcons for one season. He was a jack of all trades and will be difficult to replace on both sides of the ball.

But White believes he as a player ready to handle that role. Kyle Wright is a two-way player at running back and linebacker. He’s already picked up 14 scholarship offers and more are expected to come.

“Bryce certainly is a huge talent to replace. He’s a special player that was a game-changer for us,” White said. “Kyle is going to run the ball for us and anchor our defense. He’s one of the most outstanding young men I’ve been around.”

Trad Beatty transferred in from Chapin to take over the quarterback job for the departed Patrick McClure. Beatty is a dual-threat option that is picking up offers as the summer approaches.

Akele Pauling, Blake Harris and Matt Johnson are a few more transfers that could play key roles this season.

“We’ve had some guys transfer in that will help us but we also have some youngers guys that are developing and are showing signs,” White said.

 

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