Trying to predict the future actions of teenage males seems like a dumb thing to do. And yet...
Defending 4A Division II state champs Northwestern look like the favorite in this new 5A region.
Beyond that, predicting Region 4-5A outcomes - especially which four teams make the postseason - is pretty murky business. Nation Ford has momentum from last season but was hit hard by graduation; emotion and savvy might not be enough for the Falcons to stave off three other fairly evenly matched and playoff-hungry opponents. Clover appears ready to make a jump in the win-loss column thanks in part to an easier schedule, a giant offensive line and plenty of returning experience. Fort Mill and Rock Hill are wildcards; the Bearcats have talent but haven’t delivered in recent years, while the Yellow Jackets annually outdo preseason predictions such as these. I picked Ed Susi’s team to finish last, so this year probably won’t be an exception.
2. Nation Ford
3. Rock Hill
5. Fort Mill
Make your own preseason predictions:
This is the best 4A region in the state.
Even with some offseason shuffling and plenty of graduated star talent to replace, two-time defending state champs South Pointe are the pick until another school suggests otherwise. The Stallions have one of the best athletes in the state at QB, junior Derion Kendrick, and their offensive line should be better than expected. York and Westwood - so much speed and power in the RedHawks’ run game - should be very good this season, while Lancaster and Ridge View are right on the cusp. Richland Northeast is the wildcard; the Cavaliers could end up with a pretty good team in 2016 and still not make the playoffs, such is the strength of this new conference.
1. South Pointe
5. Ridge View
6. Richland Northeast
Fairfield Central has averaged 11 wins per season over the last six years, and has its starting QB Stanley McManus and much of the defense back this fall, meaning the Griffins are the team to beat in the first ever edition of this Region 4-3A.
There should be an interesting tussle for the next three spots with Chester, Camden and Indian Land each seeming to have unique advantages over the other. If Chester stays healthy, the Cyclones have the most talent from that bunch, and maybe the best skill position prospects in the region. Depth will be their concern, but shouldn’t prevent them from earning a top-two finish and at least a home playoff game.
1. Fairfield Central
4. Indian Land
Defending 1A Division II state champs Lamar have more than enough returning to be anointed preseason champs of Region 2-A. The veterans include Jablonski Green, last year’s 1A defensive player of the year, and coach Corey Fountain, who has built on J.R. Boyd’s legacy of championships in Lamar.
McBee will likely join the Silver Foxes in the 1A classification’s top three or four teams of statewide preseason rankings, with talented ball-carrier Dashonnell Wright back. Lewisville is the dark horse, a team with as much talent as either of the other two but without the success and exposure to winning the last few years that Lamar and McBee have had. I think Lewisville makes the break-through this year.
5. Great Falls