HARTSVILLE – Hartsville lost only one football game last year. It just happened to be in the Class 3A state title game.
The Red Foxes hope to return to Columbia and finish the job in 2015, and they have the talent to do it. Shy McPhail, Brian Rivers, and James Clair form one of the top backfields in the Blitz area. Matt Lynch is a veteran at quarterback, and Hartsville’s defense has All-Blitz type talent at all three levels of the defense.
So there’s no question the have the ability to win the title, and players hope last year’s disappointing finish will propel them to bigger things in 2015.
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“That was tough losing, but we had to get back in the weight room,” McPhail said. “We just had to work harder this coming season.”
But coach Jeff Calabrese doesn’t want his team getting caught up in what happened last year. Just because the Red Foxes have a lot returning from the group that went unbeaten in the regular season doesn’t mean they can replicate that success.
“I think last year’s team is last year’s team, and 2015 is a whole different bag,” Calabrese said. “So I really don’t carry over what happened. It’s about this team and what they want to accomplish. And we certainly have a lot of ability, but there’s a lot of football to be played.”
Hartsville has to replace Shrine Bowl receiver Daquan Benjamin and North-South All-Star linebacker Ray Coe, but they have a lot of talent and experience returning aside from that. Defensive lineman Shymon Brockington and linebacker Datavious Wilson both made the Preseason All-Blitz team. Defensive back Riquan Cotton was considered for the honor.
LAST YEAR: 14-1, 5-0 Region 6-3A
PLAYOFFS: Lost to South Pointe in state title game
KEY PLAYERS: RB Shy McPhail, RB Brian Rivers, RB James Clair, LB Datavious Wilson, DL Shymon Brockington, DB Riquan Cotton
OPENER: Aug. 21 vs. Central