The Eagles have become a state power in SCISA Class 2A, making the state title game each of the last two years. But they’ll face some challenges maintaining that success this year.
The Eagles lose 11 seniors, including nine that started and seven that were three-year starters. They won’t have the depth they’ve been accustomed to, but their senior class will be strong.
“This year we’ve worked really hard. I think we’ve been hungrier than we were last year. And I think we’re going to have a good season,” head coach Neil Minton said.
Athlete Alex James (CCU commit) and RB/LB Bryce Broach are two of the top athletes in the SCISA ranks and are entering their fourth seasons as starters.
“I feel like I have to step up a lot but I also feel like I have others that will step up with me that will fill in the gaps,” Broach said.
“We’re not going to have as much talent this year, but I feel like if we do the little things more than we did in the years previous than we can get back to Columbia at the end of the season,” James said.
The Eagles will go as far as this tandem can take them.
LAST SEASON: 11-2
RETURNING STARTERS: 5 offense, 6 defense
KEY PLAYERS: SR. ATH Alex James, SR RB Bryce Broach, JR T Reed Hurt, SR DE Jaquez Braybay
OPENER: Aug. 21 vs. Dillon Christian
The Lions struggled in 2015, going 0-10 in the first season under head coach Keith Rogers. Rogers said in his second year, the Lions now have the basics down and can focus on bigger things. The Lions head coach said they had a great offseason, and players have showed their dedication to the program. They return some key leaders and expect a different outcome in 2015.
“The kids have really been able to understand what we want to do from a scheme wise so now we’re fine tuning all of our areas. So our goals are pretty simple. We just want to get better everyday, we don’t put any expectations on the wins or losses obviously we’re looking for wins, we feel that we have a good chance now at winning,” Rogers said.
LAST SEASON: 0-10
KEY PLAYERS: T Jacob Finkley, G Eduardo Diez, RT Jacob Webster
OPENER: Aug. 21 vs. Williamsburg Academy
PEE DEE ACADEMY
2014 was a year of transition for the Eagles. They had a new head coach and moved from 8-man football back to 11-man. Amid the changes, PDA went just 2-8. The good news: 2015 should be much smoother. Not only is the Year of Transition behind the Eagles, but they return 15 starters.
“We return 15 starters and a bunch of seniors so a good senior class. So we’re excited to hopefully improve on what we did last year. 2-8 is not a very good season, we will hopefully have a much better year this year,” head coach Jonathan King said.
“We got a lot of boys in the weight room this year which is more than last year so we’ll be stronger this year and I think we’ll compete a lot better,” senior Chandler Tisdale said.
“I’m actually a lot more comfortable last year it was kind of nerves, we didn’t know what to expect and now that we got a lot more experience we know what to expect and maybe we can do a lot more than we did last year. I know we are,” senior Trent Rogers said.
LAST SEASON: 2-8
RETURNING STARTERS: 8 offense, 7 defense
KEY PLAYERS: RB Chandler Tisdale, RB Trent Rogers, LB Garrett Jenkins, DE Tyler Rogers
OPENER: Aug. 28 vs. Colleton Prep
Dillon Christian went 9-3 last year and made it to the second round of the SCISA Class A playoffs. They’ve taken major steps forward under Wolfe, who’s entering his four season at the helm. DCS has gone from 2-8 in 2012 to 5-6 in 2013 to 9-3 last year. They lose just seven seniors and will have about 10 seniors this year.
“We’ve been close the past two years and it’s really sucked so I mean we’re really excited because we got a great group of kids coming back and didn’t lose very many people last year and it’s just exciting because we know we have a chance,” junior Luke Price said.
“It’s exciting. With all the hard work these boys have been putting in since the season has been over and they’re all just ready to get back at it,” head coach Christian Wolfe said.
“We just want to go out there and win games and see ourselves on the last saturday in a state championship,” junior Michael Minges said.
LAST SEASON: 9-3
RETURNING STARTERS: 8 offense, 6 defense
KEY PLAYERS: TE Luke Price, WR/RB Teshawn Lane, RB Kelvin Stackhouse, WR Anthony Williams, WR Michael Minges
OPENER: Aug. 21 at Florence Christian
The Saints are still trying to build their football program. The Saints only grabbed one win last year but this year they’ll get another shot with a new head coach. Matt Adams will try to help build the program starting with the fundamentals. The Warriors only return half a dozen starters from last year’s team, but Adams says work ethic is more important than just numbers.
LAST SEASON: 9-3
RETURNING STARTERS: 6
KEY PLAYERS: QB Braden McCauley, RB Christian Gaskins, Ian McCauley
OPENER: Aug. 28 vs. Dillon Christian
Trinity-Byrnes caught a glimpse of the playoffs last season. The Titans lost in the first round but this year they hope for even more. The Titans return six on each side of the ball. They will still have to do some work on defense but their offense should be pretty solid again this year.
“This year I think our ceiling is a little higher with the athletes we have and the numbers we have out right now. Just like any coach, if we’re not playing in the final game of the season i’d be upset,” head coach Jared Amell said.
LAST YEAR: 6-5
RETURNING STARTERS: 6 offense, 6 defense
OPENER: Aug. 21 at Hilton Head Christian
OPENER: Aug. 21 at Dorchester
Carolina Academy had a young team in 2014, but the Bobcats still made it to the state finals. Carolina Academy lost in the title game to Richard Winn Academy. This year, they have a lot of young talent as many experienced players graduated, but the Bobcats gained the experience they need to know how to win at the toughest levels.
“Playing as a unit. Playing as a team. Win or lose just giving it your all. We are young, we got a lot of sophomores and freshman that need to step up,” head coach T.J. Joye said.
LAST SEASON: 9-4
KEY PLAYERS: QB Zach Coward, C Connor Floyd, TE Brad Tucker, return everyone on defense
OPENER: Aug. 21 at Cathedral Academy
LAST SEASON: 11-3
RETURNING: 12 varsity players
KEY PLAYERS:Maleke Davis-OLB, Addison Osborne-DL, Tripp Mason-ILB, Cale Gamble-OL/DE, Burke Mishoe-FS/QB, Austin Griffith-OT/DE, Brandon Hutson-RB/FS, Olin Robinson-DE/TE, Colton Ardis-RB/LB, Nick Hill-LB, Justin Alsbrook-TE
OPENER: Aug. 28 at Augusta Christian