South Pointe will be a work in progress - unsurprising with so many heavy contributors graduated - but plenty of prospects and high school football veterans remain making an intriguing mix.
Derion Kendrick slides into the permanent QB role, but could still play some defensive back, especially in the big games. Running backs Voshon St. Hill and Geomni Mayfield are back but the wide receiver position looks very different from last season. Senior Quinest Bishop, Rock Hill transfer Jonathan Muhammad and juniors Jamari Currence, Scott Robinson and Stevie Gilmore could all take turns making big plays for the Stallions’ offense.
Our skill players are very good skilled athletes, but they don’t have a lot of Friday night experience.
South Pointe coach Strait Herron
The Stallions’ offensive line should be solid, with Herron believing he has a couple of 10th graders that could be some of the best ones the school has had. The group is certainly much better off at this point than it was last season when it was replacing all five starters. Seniors Alex Lais and Dylan Thomas return, joined by a promising bunch including Keshawn Freeman, Jaydon Collins, Christian Benson and Tre Russell.
We’re small. I wouldn’t be okay with it, but being where we’ve been before, it isn’t the first time. We’ve been successful when we’re small before, so I’m not concerned.
South Pointe should also be better on the mirroring line, led by junior sack machine Eli Adams. Keshawn Veal and sophomore Adam Foxx should contribute, while senior Bryson Cooper - the leading tackler in The Herald’s coverage area - leads the linebackers. Juniors B.J. Davis and Cort Neely could be impact players at that position, too.
As always, Herron’s program is blessed in the secondary. Senior Ken’darius Frederick is a three-year starter at safety and several of the aforementioned receivers can and will also play defensive back. Cornerback Justin Reese should be a college prospect after transferring in from Lower Richland.
In junior B.T. Potter, South Pointe has a strong-legged kicker that can decide games. That could come in handy as the Stallions seek a third straight state title.
Our schedule is tough and our kids have to understand you’re not gonna have weeks where you can just cruise through.
Strait Herron, on South Pointe’s quest for a third consecutive state title
Returning starters: 3 offense, 5 defense
Key returning players: Sr. LB Bryson Cooper; Jr. QB/DB Derion Kendrick; Sr. OL Alex Lais; Sr. OL Dylan Thomas; Jr. DB Justin Reese; Jr. DE/LB Eli Adams; Jr. WR/LB B.J. Davis; Jr. ATH Stevie Gilmore Jr.; Sr. RB Voshon St. Hill; Jr. K B.T. Potter; Sr. DB Ken’darius Frederick; Soph. DL Adam Foxx.
Coach Strait Herron
Career record 63-10
Assistant coaching staff Jason Winstead, defensive coordinator/linebackers; Pat Burris, defensive backs; Gerald Peake, defensive line; Jibrille Fewell, defensive ends; Nathan Green, outside linebackers; Jason McManus, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks; Calvin McCullough, defensive backs; Robert Beckler, running backs; Mike Zapolnik, offensive line; David Ard, offensive line; Welvin Simpkins, wide receivers; Jay Currence, wide receivers.
Last season 14-1, beat Midland Valley 35-0 to win 3A state championship
Last 10 years combined 113-28 (80 percent)
School state championships 4 (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015)
August 19 at Northwestern*; 26 Nation Ford*
September 2 Rock Hill; 9 at St. Frances Academy (Towson University); 15 Mallard Creek* (Thursday); 23 Open; 30 Ridge View
October 7 Westwood*; 14 at Lancaster*; 21 Richland Northeast*; 28 at York*
▪ South Pointe’s opponents won 61 percent of their games last season; star denotes 2015 playoff team; cursive denotes Region 3-4A opponent
Numbers to know
8 straight seasons with double digit wins for South Pointe.
49-point scoring advantage for the Stallions in their consecutive state championship game wins in 2014 and 2015.
0 South Carolina high schools still in operation have a better playoff winning percentage than South Pointe (86 percent, 30-5 all-time). Byrnes and Dillon are next closest at 78 and 72 percent, respectively. (Data from SCFootballHistory.com)
492 miles from South Pointe to Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy. The Stallions make that trip the second week of September to face the Maryland private school.
13 games with at least one tackle-for-loss for South Pointe defensive end Eli Adams last year, out of 15 contests. Adams had seven multi-sack games en route to a 20-sack season.