When Indian Land head football coach HB Blades looks at his schedule, there is no denying there’s a tough out nearly every week.
But the second-year coach is preparing his Warriors team to meet the challenge head on.
“If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Blades said. “We can’t overlook anyone. Our kids are looking forward to the bigger stage.”
Indian Land opens the season Aug. 17 at Lancaster and has a very difficult non-Region IV-3A schedule before it begins region play at Chester Sept. 28.
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The Warriors’ non-region schedule includes games at York, at Rock Hill, at Nation Ford and they will host South Pointe. Blades is hoping the trial by fire they will be facing will be beneficial in the long run come their region schedule.
“I am excited,” he said. “I look at it and think of all the positive possibilities. Our guys know what it takes. You only get better through repetition.”
Blades said a non-region schedule that features such bigger schools as Rock Hill and York is something the Warriros need to get used to because as the Indian Land area of Lancaster County grows, so will the school. As more new young families move in, pushing up in enrollment, Indian Land, which was in 2A just a few years ago, will soon find itself at 4A, playing large-school powerhouse teams.
“Indian Land isn’t slowing down in building anytime soon,” Blades said. “You can’t run from it. You can embrace it and I choose to embrace it.”
Indian Land returns most of its players from last year’s team that went 2-9. The Warriors lost only eight seniors to graduation.
“Our (remaining) guys have played a log of football and I am excited about this season,” Blades said.
The biggest competition when it comes to Region IV play is Chester and Fairfield Central. Two teams Indian Land lost two last season by a combined two points.
“They are the leaders of the pack,” Blades said. “We have a chance to compete for a championship against them.”
Besides South Pointe, Indian Land will host non-region games against former region rival Buford. The Warriors will have region road games against Camden, but will host region foes Keenan and Fairfield Central at home.