Well, it’s finally here!!! High School Football season is once again upon us. If you are like me, you have been eagerly awaiting this moment since the final snaps of the Weekend of Champions back in December. Last season was a lot of fun with the new 5A classification and the new regions. We had two Spartanburg County teams that played for state titles with the Chapman Panthers bringing home the hardware. I for one cannot wait to see what this season holds. Can Chapman repeat? Can Boiling Springs maintain their high level of play? Can Byrnes bounce back with first year head coach Reggie Shaw? It will all play out in the next few weeks, but it all starts with week zero.
Here are my picks for week 0.
Our Game of the week this week, brought to you by Speed Factory, is Fort Dorchester at Dorman. The Cavs are replacing their starting quarterback with a transfer QB from Daniel. I think Ben Batson is a very capable, dual threat QB. Offensive Coordinator Kevin Farmer has some experience with a quarterback who is capable of making plays with his arm and his legs, and Dorman always has great wide outs. Fort Dorchester always has a lot of very good athletes and they are a force in the lower part of the state. These two teams last met in 2015 in the State Championship game with Fort D coming out on top. This game should be a good one.
Pick :Dorman in a close one.
Champan vs Union
These two teams met last year to open the 2016 season on week zero with the Yellow Jackets coming out on top. After that game, their seasons went in opposite directions. Chapman won seven of their next nine games and Union lost 4 of the next five before getting hot again in region play. Chapman brings back a majority of their team from last year and Union loses most of theirs. Chapman will start an experienced and talented QB, while the Jackets start an unproven youngster who coaches think have a very bright future. The biggest question for me and the Chapman faithful, is the offensive line. The o-line has struggled in the scrimmages and jamborees thus far. If the line can find a way to give Colton Bailey some time to make some throws and can make a few holes for DJ Twitty, this Chapman team will be dangerous. Union on the other hand will rely heavy on the run and try to play defense. If the Jackets can get some stops they could potentially win this game.
Pick: Union in an upset
Spartanburg at Summerville
I will admit that I don’t know a whole lot about Summerville. I know that in years past they were a dominant force in the lower state under John Mckissick. I do know that the Viking defense should be pretty good, especially the linebackers led by Connor Shugart (no relation). When I asked Coach Chris Miller about the strength of this year’s team, he didn’t hesitate to tell me the linebackers. The questions that loom over this team circle mainly around the offense. It appears that the starting quarterback will be junior Keonte Cartledge, with junior Jax Cash also getting some playing time.
I think the real key to this Viking team this year will be Damyjai Foster on the offensive side of the ball. Last year he just played some spot offense and was mostly on defense, this year it will be the opposite. His big play ability will be huge for the Viking offense.
Chesnee vs Broome.
Broome’s head coach use to be Chesnee’s head coach. Chesnee’s head coach use to be Broome’s head coach (though that was quite a few years ago now). Both Lynn Fleming and Bill Owens are really good coaches and probably even better men. I definitely have a ton of respect for them both. As far as the respective jobs go I think Coach Fleming has more work to do. Broome is a team that of course has been a run heavy (understatement of the year) team for many years now. Jet Turner and his wing-t offense was pretty successful for the Centurions, albeit boring for those who watched it. Coach Fleming is going to change the culture at Broome. Its going to be fun and exciting. However, the question in my mind is how long will it take the players to fully grasp the offense? It could be an immediate thing, but more than likely there will be a learning curve. Bill Owens is one of the beat defensive coaches around. He has been very successful for four decades building very good defenses, and if your teams offense has a weakness he will find it and exploit it.
Byrnes vs Myrtle Beach
The Rebels struggled last year, with one of their seven loses coming on the opening weekend to Myrtle Beach. Byrnes missed the playoffs last year and during the offseason parted ways with head coach Brian Lane. The Rebels coaching search landed Reggie Shaw who previously served as head coach of AC Flora. In my meetings with coach Shaw he had impressed me thoroughly and I think he can be the guy to return Byrnes to the glory days of Rebel Football. He is very knowledgeable and can instill confidence in his players. Question is have his players bought in? He has the luxury of a returning qb in Brock Carroll. In this region that’s a big step up on some of your competition. I like Byrnes to bounce back and be more competitive this year in Reggie Shaw’s first season at the helm.
The rest of my picks and more in depth analysis on the Friday Night Tailgate Show Friday at 5:00 on Fox Sports 1400 and 98.3FM.