08/17/2014 7:25 AM

08/17/2014 7:26 AM

How they stack up

Outlook: Fort Mill returns 17 starters from 2013, meaning the hard lessons learned last fall should bear some fruit. Four offensive linemen return up front, led by senior Jimmy Reeves, and if they do their jobs, the Yellow Jackets have an excellent pair of backfield runners waiting to surge into the rushing lanes in Chandler Kryst and Malik Long, both seniors.

Long is a patient runner who reads blocks well, while Kryst is a burner that can hit the corner or do damage from the slot for quarterback Rogan Wells, a returning starter who will be a junior. Brandon Plyler will try and stretch the field for the Jackets. Mason Jordan, a defensive end/tight end-type, is another player that could be a red zone factor with his size.

With parity expected in Region 3-4A, the chance is ripe for the Yellow Jackets to grab a playoff spot. Experience will be the immeasurable intangible that should help a Fort Mill team that gave up more than 30 points six times last season, while scoring 30-plus just twice.

Departed: LB Jesse Horine, RB Deryan Sanders, OL Sam Smith, DE Drew Moses, LB Joseph Coley, WR Zach Fowler

Key players: RB/Slot Chandler Kryst, RB/LB Malik Long, QB Rogan Wells, LB Dan Marr, DE/TE Mason Jordan, OL Jimmy Reeves, LB Josh Gast

Susi said: “Malik’s just little in height; he’s a pretty thick kid. And Chandler’s a lot quicker, and that helps us because he can play in several different spots. We’re gonna try and get inside some and hopefully that opens up the pass for us.”

Did you know? Long is not tall. Standing at just 5-foot-6, the senior makes his height a non-factor by playing close to the ground. In 2013, Long ran the ball 123 times for 816 yards, a 6.6-per carry average. He scored 12 touchdowns on the ground, and also made 54 tackles as a starting linebacker, including a team-high 10 for a loss. Good luck finding him in traffic.

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