Ashley Ridge Swamp Foxes
Head Coach: Kenny Walker (8th season)
Last Year: 4-8
Top Returners: Matthew Duncan (So. QB), JJ McAphee (Sr. WR), Jackson Pell (Jr. OL), Tyler Cory (Sr. OL), Rodney Oldham (Sr. SS), A’veyuan Dennis (Sr. LB), Darius Smith (Jr. FS)
Top Newcomers: Troy Chavis (Sr. WR), DeMar Proctor-Floyd (Jr. RB)
Coming off a down season, Kenny Walker says his team is still pretty young going into 2017. That includes at quarterback where Matthew Duncan showed a lot of promise as a Freshman but he also still has a lot to learn. Walker says his velocity has gotten better and he’s gotten bigger but to be successful the offensive line must protect him.
Ft. Dorchester Patriots
Head Coach: Steve LaPrad (15th season)
Last Year: 12-2
Top Returners: Dakereon Joyner (Sr. QB), Justin Williams (Sr. WR), Raquan Simmons (Sr. WR), RJ Cobb (Sr. DE), DeAngelo Knight (Sr, S), Avery Snipes (Sr. OL)
Top Newcomers: Khalil Jenkins (So. RB), Bruce Benjamin (Jr. OL), James Middleton (Jr. OL)
“Once you win a championship, nothing else satisfies you.” Is what Steve LaPrad said this preseason after the Patriots attempt to win back to back state titles came up short last year. But the coach returns a ton of talent in their quest to get back to the finals this season. Led by Dakereon Joyner, the best player in the Lowcountry and maybe the state. The future Gamecocks QB will try to put up huge numbers again this season. He’ll also have Khalil Jenkins to hand off the ball to who LaPrad says has a chance to be a special player.
Goose Creek Gators
Head Coach: Chris Candor (3rd season)
Last Year: 3-8
Top Returners: Tremaine James (Jr. OL), Dante Smith (Jr. RB), Dalton Smith (Sr. OL), Keshawn Mays (Sr. DL), James Wilson, (Sr. DB), EJ Eadie (Sr. DB), Anthony Martin (Sr. DB)
Top Newcomers: Tavion Major (Sr. QB)
Chris Candor suffered a lot of setbacks in his 2nd season leading the Gators but he’s made a few additions to his staff that he thinks will go a long way towards solidifying things. Their defense should be solid this year, led by Mays upfront and the combination of Wilson, Eadie and Martin in the backfield. Candor said Tavion Major, who started his playing career at James Island, is in the lead to be the starting quarterback and could be a big playmaker.
James Island Trojans
Head Coach: Ike Allred (4th season)
Last Year: 2-9
Top Returners: DaQuan Vinson (Jr. QB), Jermaine Alston (Sr. RB/MLB), Rodney Hamilton (Jr, WR), Zakhyis Pinckney (Sr. OLB), Germonta Brisbane (Sr. MLB)
The Trojans offense has to find a way to fill the void left by graduating senior Jordan McDaniel from last season. But they have a young core on offense that should be able to put up some points and, at the very least, keep James Island competitive in most of their games.
Head Coach: Joe Marion (4th season)
2016 Record: 1-9
Top Returners: Ryan Robinson (Jr. QB), Kevin Mood (Jr. C), Johnathan Boags (Sr. WR), Cameron Smith (Sr. CB), Katray Pringle (Sr. DE), Blake Mars (Jr. LB), Jordan Judge (Jr. LB)
“We’ve increased our strength over the summer which we’re hoping will translate into wins,” head coach Joe Marion said. Marion’s added two former Lowcountry head coaches to his staff in associate head coach Dennie McDaniel (St. John’s) and offensive line coach Mathis Burnett (Woodland).
Summerville Green Wave
Head Coach: Joe Call (3rd season)
Last Season: 7-6
Top Returners: Jonathan Bennett (Jr. QB) Shaq Davis (Sr. WR), DJ Hancock (Sr. RB), Deonte Geddis (Sr. LB)
Top Newcomers: Derrick Larry (Jr. S), Ben Mitchum (Sr. DL)
Joe Call can’t say enough good things about his quarterback Jonathan Bennett. The junior has improved immensely over the offseason and Call said he might be the best quarterback he’s seen in his 15 years of coaching. Bennett will have some weapons this year with Davis and Hancock on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively Call says they’ve come a long way in the offseason. The addition of Ben Mitchum, a 3 year starter at Ashley Ridge, will help a lot.
Head Coach: Jimmy Noonan (10th season)
Last Year: 8-4
Top Returners: Cale Lewis (Sr. QB), Scott Rogers (Sr. OL), Joseph Jenrette (Sr. WR), Connor McCarthy (Sr. WR), Jaylen Edwards (Jr. NG)
Top Newcomers: Jaden Singleton (So. RB), Justin Pelic (Jr. OLB), Jaxen Rogers (Sr. OLB), Ramsey Turnage (Jr. CB)
The Warriors have a lot of holes to fill after graduating 34 seniors last year. “We’re very inexperienced and young in a lot of spots. The number of repetitions is going to be big early,” says Warriors head coach Jimmy Noonan.
West Ashley Wildcats
Head Coach: Bobby Marion (11th season)
Last Season: 5-7
Top Returners: Kamden Middleton (Sr. LB), Josh Heyward (Sr. DB), Jay Smith (Sr. DL), Kenyatta Jenkins (Jr. QB)
The Wildcats return eight starters on defense but need to find someone to fill the void of standout running back Dexter Freeman. “You don’t replace 2,000 yards,” said head coach Bobby Marion. “But we’ve got three of four guys we feel can get the job done.”