Indian Land is in unfamiliar territory this fall as the Warriors enter 3A. It’s the highest classification in which the school has ever participated, but the transition should be eased by the fact that four of the five Region 4-3A schools reach the postseason.
There is an obvious difference between summer 7-on-7’s and actual Friday night football, but Indian Land looked like it would be able to move the ball through the air a bit, an improvement on the last few ground-focused seasons. Junior John Gregory is a track standout that offers the Warriors open-field athleticism, while Ryan Albino is a sure-handed, big-bodied senior that can make the tough catches in crowds.
Junior David Loughry and sophomore Jay Hildreth are competing for the starting QB job; Loughry started all 11 games last season.
The goal for any Warriors receivers is to alleviate the pressure on running back Lee Massey. He was an All-Area pick last season and has real power in between the tackles, but he’ll be running behind a new fullback and three new offensive linemen.
Indian Land’s defensive strength is its front seven. Three-year starter Dillon Howie is back at linebacker and could be joined by a pair of talented sophomores, Alex Murphy and transfer Robbie Csuhta, who started at Charlotte’s Providence High as a freshman. The defensive line will be bolstered by offensive linemen Jake Locklear, Stone Potts and Jeremy Montgomery. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Locklear is a definite player to watch and a college football prospect. He’ll need to pressure opposing QBs with a very young secondary behind him.
Returning starters: 6 offense, 7 defense
Key returning players: Jr. QB David Loughry; Sr. RB Lee Massey; Sr. LB Dillon Howie; Sr. LB Logan Teeter; Jr. OL/DL Jake Locklear; Jr. WR/DB John Gregory; Sr. WR Ryan Albino; Sr. OL/DL Stone Potts; Sr. OL/DL Jeremy Montgomery; Soph. DB Dorian Williams.
Coach Michael Mayer (16th year)
Career record 70-90
Assistant coaching staff Horatio Blades, linebackers/defensive coordinator; Terry Lasyone, defensive line; Eric Zajkowski, defensive back; Brian Gordon, offensive line/offensive coordinator; Adam Cole, wide receivers; Terry Young, running backs.
Last season 7-4, lost to Woodruff 45-14 in the first round of the 2A Division I playoffs
Last 10 years combined 40-64 (38 percent)
School state championships N/A
August 19 Lancaster*; 26 Buford*
September 2 at Blacksburg; 9 Broome; 16 at Chesterfield*; 23 at Nation Ford*; 30 at Chester
October 7 Open; 14 Columbia; 21 at Camden; 28 Fairfield Central*
▪ Indian Land’s opponents won 53 percent of their games last season; star denotes 2015 playoff team; cursive denotes Region 4-3A opponent
Numbers to know
56 percent increase in Indian Land’s student enrollment in last 10 years. Football coach and athletic director Michael Mayer suspects the Warriors could be competing in 4A by the next realignment in 2019.
0 all-time wins for the Warriors against their four new region opponents, Fairfield Central, Chester, Camden and Columbia.
60 miles (one way) to region opponents for Indian Land this fall, the longest average trip of the 12 schools in The Herald’s coverage area.
86 percent of Indian Land’s offensive snaps last season were running plays. A little bit more parity in that category would help the Warriors’ scoring unit in 2016.
500 of senior running back Lee Massey’s 967 rushing yards last season came in the final three games of the year.