High School Football Preview
2017 has the potential to be a stellar year for several High School Football teams in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Lets start with the lower classifications:
Landrum had a major offensive change in the 2017 off season as Head Coach Jason Farmer switched to a wish-bone style offense. The offseason has been a rollercoaster for the Cardinals as they were very impressive in the 7 on 7's. Scrimmage's came around and the new offense started to sputter. On August 7th, QB Turner Ussery quit the team and sent the Cardinals offensive plans into a whirl-wind. The Cardinals will struggle this season without QB Turner Ussery and will go 2-8 on the season.
Chesnee has Bill Owens back in the saddle which is good news for Eagle fans but losing Isaiah Ellis will be a huge loss for the young Eagles. I predict the Eagles to go 6-4 as they have to find young play makers to step up and play a large role in the 2017 campaign. Bill Owens & the Eagles will face former Eagle Lynn Flyming in Week 0 as the Broome Centurions and the Chesnee Eagles face off at Chesnee High School.
Keegan Halloran will be one of the best QB's in the Upstate by the end of the year, if he stays healthy. Woodruff comes into the season with several veterans led by Head Coach Trey Elder. Halloran is a very versatile QB that has great awareness and pocket poise. Woodruff opens up at Flora in Week 0, August 18th. The Wolverines are in a very tough region with the defending State Champions, Chapman Panthers. I look for Woodruff to go 6-4 after losing several close games to Chapman, Newberry, & Greer. However, they will finish the season with a 3 game win streak getting into the playoffs with a head to head win over Broome.
Lynn Flyming will be staring the season with a showdown at his former school, Chesnee High School. Broome is also coming into a year where they will have to find some younger players to step up and play large roles in the new spread offense. With the departure of Jet Turner, the Centurions will be throwing the ball a lot more than usual, while Jet Turner took his run heavy offense to Woodmont. Broome will have to tread rough waters in a very tough region this season. I look for the Centurions to go 3-7, finishing the season on a 4 game losing streak as the face Newberry, Woodruff, Clinton, & Chapman.
Mark Hodge is now a State Champion as the Head Football Coach at Chapman High School. How will the veteran Panthers respond to having a target on their back? Colton Bailey returns as the QB for Chapman along with several offensive weapons including record holder DJ Twitty. Abrams (Newberry) & Twitty are the two best running backs in the state when it comes to 3-A football. I look for Chapman to go 8-2 on the season, losing to Seneca & Newberry.
Dorman is sitting pretty going into the 2017 season as Ben Batson has impressed many in the preseason games. This offense looks as potent as any, led by the Daniel transfer being protected by the biggest wall in Roebuck, the Dorman offensive line. Jordan McFadden, Virginia Tech commit, leads the senior heavy offense with weapons on the outside with Pickney & Hillstock Jr. The question mark for Dorman is the young defense who lost 8 starters. I look for the Dave Gutshall led Cavaliers to go 7-3, with loses to Fort Dorchester, Boiling Springs, & Spartanburg, The Cavs open the season at home on August 18th as they welcome Fort Dorchester into Cavalier Stadium.
Anytime a football team is coached by Chris Miller, you have to give them a fair chance in whatever region they play in. The Vikings just so happen to play in the toughest region in the state, having to compete with Dorman, Byrnes, Gaffney, & Boiling Springs. They will be led at QB by junior, Keonte Cartledge. Junior Jax Cash is also competing at the QB position trying to win the starting job as the Vikings open up in Summerville facing in the Green Wave in Week 0. I look for Spartanburg to go either 8-2 or 7-3, with a tough non-region schedule as well. The Vikings have enough play makers on the outside to be dangerous this season and also have the defense to keep them in ball games.
Gaffney may be the biggest question mark coming into the 2017 season. Tyshun Surrat comes back at QB on the senior-led offense for the Indians. The Indians open up the season in Anderson SC as they play host to the yellow jackets of TL Hanna. Dan Jones has had this team very close to getting over the hump the past few years, as the Indians got very close last season on a deep run into the playoffs that ended in Boiling Springs. Even though many people have Gaffney winning the region, I have the Indians going 5-5 with a very tough non-region schedule as well.
Reggie Shaw takes the reigns in Duncan as the Byrnes Rebels look to improve after a very disappointing season in 2016. Byrnes missed the playoffs for the first time in years and the Rebel fans look to Reggie Shaw to take this team to a different level, bringing back the Bobby Bentley type swagger in Duncan. Quarterbacks Brock Carrol & Cary Enos return on the Byrnes offense as well as stud running back, Rajay Harris. There are several holes on the offensive line of Byrnes & the secondary as well and anytime you lose WR Demarcus Gregory to a season ending injury is a huge blow. I look for Byrnes to struggle with such a touch schedule and go 4-6, again missing the playoffs in Region III-5A.
The defending Region III-5A Champions are arguable the biggest underdog coming into the 2017 season. Boiling Springs lost 7 starters on both sides of the ball this off season due to graduation. However, the Bulldogs made notice in the off season as they went down to Hoover and won the USA Football 7 on 7 National Championship. The Bulldogs will lean on junior QB Dawson Taylor (USC Baseball Commit) this season. Taylor is surrounded by other juniors at the receiving core including Chance Guest, Kamal Desor, Caden Peeler, Davis Brown, & lone senior TE, Patrick Smith. Head Coach Rick Tate has made a name for himself in his 5 year tenor at Boiling Springs and looks to do the same this season. I look for Boiling Springs to go either 8-2 or 7-3. In my opinion, the Bulldogs have the easier of the non-region schedules as they avoid several powerhouses from other regions.
All predictions are opinions of Cole Bryson, and not those of anyone else associated with UpstatePrep-Cast.