There is quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding high school football outcomes in The Herald’s coverage area, encompassing York, Chester and Lancaster counties.
Gone and graduated are a slew of Shrine Bowlers, North-South all-stars and now college football players. In their place? More questions than answers.
That said, here’s yet another shot in the dark at what might happen on area football fields this fall. Remember to cut it out, slap it on the refrigerator door and then taunt me mercilessly about my idiocy in December. Thanks in advance.
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1. Nation Ford - I’m not fully convinced the Falcons can break Northwestern’s grip on this region, but I’m also very uncertain about the Trojans as I write this, so... Nation Ford it is. Michael Allen’s team should be very strong defensively.
2. Northwestern - So many holes for the Trojans to fill and even annual powerhouses have reloading years once in a while. I’m sure I’ll hear about this pick later this fall.
3. Fort Mill - I like Fort Mill’s chances to make the playoffs this fall. They should be more experienced than Rock Hill and more settled in their scheme and what they’re trying to do offensively than Clover. And hopefully Ed Susi won’t yell at me next time I see him since I didn’t pick the Jackets to finish last.
4. Clover - Sure, the scheme is brand new and the Blue Eagles will have their struggles this fall, especially on offense. But there is a good vibe under new coach Brian Lane and hope that he can get Clover to the postseason for a second straight season.
5. Rock Hill - The Bearcats are trying to rebuild but a schedule that is too difficult for the program in its current condition and continual losses to graduation and transfers are preventing Bubba Pittman from succeeding in that aim.
1. South Pointe - This is the easiest pick on this page. Barring injury to certain players or any disruption of the program’s chemistry, the Stallions should be a safe bet to win Region 3-4A again.
2. Ridge View - Perry Parks’ program has a lot of talent but they learned last year that it takes more than flashy uniform options, recruiting stars and pregame smack talk to knock off the kings of Region 3-4A, the Stallions.
3. York - I think York will sneak up on folks this year and they could easily grab the No. 2 spot.
4. Westwood - Bounce-back year for Westwood, which struggled last season after offseason transfers and a new coach taking over.
5. Lancaster - Questions on offense for Lancaster, which replaces its entire offensive backfield and needs to find a lead dog to carry the football.
6. Richland Northeast - Replacing longtime coach Jay Frye won’t be easy; he always seemed to get the most out of the Cavaliers.
1. Chester - 2017 feels like the year that the Cyclones take the next step. Sure they lost their best player to graduation but they have more than enough back to not only win the region, but contend in the postseason too.
2. Fairfield Central - It feels wrong to pick against the Griffins. Few programs in South Carolina have been as consistently successful as them.
3. Camden - New coach in Camden after longtime head man Jimmy Neal stepped down. Probably a step back for the Bulldogs, but they should still reach the postseason.
4. Indian Land - The youthful Warriors are at least another year away from contending in this region. A positive 2017 could be a springboard for coach Horatio Blades’ team to try to reel in Camden in 2018.
5. Columbia - The Capitals are still on the bottom floor, looking up in a tough Region 4-3A.
1. Lamar - It wouldn’t be smart to pick against Corey Fountain and the Silver Foxes. They return one of 1A football’s best players in fullback/linebacker Jeblonski Green and they’ll be on a mission after falling flat in the state title game last December.
2. Lewisville - The scrap for second place between Lewisville and McBee will be intense. Both teams were hit pretty good by graduation but it appears that the Lions have more returning. Leapfrogging the Panthers would be a big step for Lewisville.
3. McBee - Charlie Poole has done a marvelous job making McBee a factor in 1A football. The Panthers got licked by graduation pretty good, making this team the real test of whether Poole built a program, or if he just had a couple of strong classes. (I think the former.)
4. Timmonsville - It’ll be tough for Timmonsville to break into the region’s top-three - and its playoff positions - considering the strength of Lamar, Lewisville and McBee.
5. Great Falls - 2017 should be a much better year for Great Falls, but how much better isn’t clear. Scotty Steen’s Red Devils will want to continue their improvement in region play, not just in August and September.