I don’t know if it’s growing old, battling a disease or I have become a victim of dying brain cells, but my ability to make predictions has just about hit rock bottom this year.
A friend of mine, who promised he would keep it a secret if I answered a question, asked: “How do you think Region 3-AAAA will end up this year, standings wise?”
I thought for about two minutes – I’d already put a lot of time into this – and swore him to secrecy once again. “Jeff, “ I said. “People will be after me like a deer in the woods during hunting season if you tell anybody, so I’m serious, this just between you and me.”
Jeff had a comment on all of my picks except number 8. We agreed that spot was Clover’s to lose. Then I started at the top and watched as his jaw dropped at my unofficial predictions.
I picked York first, because I’m expecting the Cougars to be one of the best defensive teams in the state this year. Looked like that honor would belong to Chester after the Cougars beat the Cyclones 14-7 in the opening game.
And two, Jeff asked. I’m going to go with South Pointe. They have good offensive players and are very quick. The defensive front is like a brick wall and the only weakness I see is an untested secondary, which is brand new.
I picked Northwestern third, figuring they may flop a little early, because they lost some very talented players. Someday, I’m going to figure out on my own – never pick against Northwestern, because they always seem to reload.
Fourth was probably the hardest pick, because I had my finger pointed at two teams I felt would fight for that spot. I ended up going with Nation Ford, because of its skill players, size and the best speed the Falcons have had since they opened.
That meant number five was close to being my number four and that would be Rock Hill. The Bearcats have talented players and the usual speed, but have to replace two quarterbacks and some pretty good defensive players. Two straight years of adversity are hanging over Rock Hill’s heads, so it’s very important – and the coaches know this – to teach the young guys how to win and finish games.
Seven went to Fort Mill, because it could be the fastest team in the area this year and has nearly its entire starting front four back on offense. The Yellow Jackets offensive should score enough points to allow the young players on defense to mature and play solid ball by midseason.
Down in Lancaster, Coach Mac has been fighting a numbers issue. You can only do so much when you’ve got only so many players and he could use probably 20 more, easily. The man will coach his butt off as he always does, and his team will win some games its not favored to win. But for now, he’s playing a game of catch-up.
• Directions: Sorry about the mix-up in the directions for a couple of games last week. This week, we’re going to do our best to get you to where you’re supposed to go. Fort Mill plays Dutch Fork on the road Friday night, but the game will be played at Chapin High School. It was moved because of field construction at Dutch Fork’s stadium. The directions will be in Friday morning’s scouting report.
• Congratulations go out this week to several area athletes who got good news from their college coaches. Former Northwestern defensive lineman, Collins Mauldin, walked on at Clemson and was given a scholarship this week by Tigers’ coach Dabo Swinney.
• At South Carolina, senior defensive back and special teams player Jarred Shaw was awarded a scholarship by Steve Spurrier. Shaw was a stand-out at Fort Mill High School and began his career at Newberry before transferring to USC.
Also down Columbia’s way, it was announced that South Pointe’s Landon Ard won the Gamecocks’ kickoff job. His little brother, Logan, kicks for South Pointe this year.
• And finally, another former Northwestern player got the starting nod, because the player in front of him at wide receiver was indefinitely suspended from the University of Tennessee’s team. Cordarrell Patterson will line up at one of the wide receiver spots in the Volunteers’ opening game.
Take care, folks, and hope your team wins this week.
Barry Byers firstname.lastname@example.org