Coach: Bubba Pittman, second year
Career record: 4-7
Last year: 4-7, 1-5 in Region 3-4A
Assistant coaches: Jym Jollie, offensive line; Joey Fowler, offensive line; Tim Sawyer, wide receivers; Anthony McFadden, wide receivers; Arkee Whitlock, running backs; Sam Betz, defensive line; Chris Price, inside linebackers; Dave Thomas, outside linebackers; Ko Simpson, defensive backs; Mike Biddix, defensive backs/defensive coordinator.
Returning starters: 6 offense, 9 defense
Twitter account: @RHHSBearcatsFB
Key players: Sr. WR John McCullough, Sr. LB Donavon Perryman, Sr. QB Brandon Banks, Sr. ATH Thailand Adams, Sr. OLB/SS Khari Hunter, Sr. RB/slot Tim Sherer, Sr. OT Civic Campbell, Sr. DE Stephen Chesney, Sr. OL Tyrik Anderson, Sr. DL Alan Salgado, Jr. CB Nick Truesdale, Jr. LB Kendrick Hicks, Sr. CB Delik King, Jr. WR Jonathan Muhammad.
Last season, Rock Hill sputtered when its offense did. The Bearcats didn’t top 20 points in five straight games, all losses. The problem was clear: Rock Hill’s offensive yardage didn’t decrease during that stretch, but scoring definitely did.
Coach Bubba Pittman feels like some of the issues that spawned that drought will be fixed. Brandon Banks is back under center for the third straight year, and he has weapons surrounding him. Senior receiver John McCullough could be one of the best in the area, and Thailand Adams and Tim Sherer are also versatile athletes who can catch and run. Left tackle Civic Campbell is a 6-foot-5, 290-pound roadblock for pass rushers attacking Banks.
“(Banks’) knowledge of the system is outstanding. We’ve just got to turn it into some points and production,” said Pittman.
Rock Hill’s defense kept it in a number of games and with nine starters back, that could be the case again. All four defensive line starters are back and the linebackers should be just as good, led by three-year starter Donavon Perryman.
The Bearcats haven’t had a winning season since 2009, but they have talent this year. With a typically challenging non-region schedule including South Pointe, Dorman and Sumter, the Bearcats will find out quickly what they’re about. The opportunity to send a message exists early and often.
“Our program is still looking for that signature win,” said Pittman. “We’ve been in a lot of games but haven’t been able to finish it. We’ve been talking a lot about finishing; ‘finish the drill, compete on everything that you do,’ and the kids are coming around to it. I keep telling them, they don’t know how good they can be.”
Aug. 21 Blythewood
Aug. 28 at South Pointe
Sept. 4 Chester
Sept. 11 at Dorman
Sept. 18 Sumter
Sept. 25 at York*
Oct. 2 Gaffney*
Oct. 9 at Clover*
Oct. 16 Fort Mill*
Oct. 23 Open
Oct. 30 Northwestern*
Nov. 6 at Nation Ford*
*Region 3-4A game
Opponents’ 2014 record: 75-61 (.551 winning percentage)