(WCSC) - 5A Previews
Ashley Ridge Swamp Foxes
Head coach: Kenny Walker (9th season)
2017 Record: 7-4
Returning Starters: 11
Top Returners: Matthew Duncan (QB, Jr.), Nick Cunningham (WR, Sr.), De'Marr Proctor-Floyd (RB, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Josh Sharo (TE, Jr.), Noah West (CB, Sr.)
Outlook: Getting production on offense shouldn't be a problem for the Swamp Foxes this year. They return some key playmakers including heavily recruited junior quarterback Matthew Duncan. The other side of the ball will have some work to do."Defensively..we're still trying to find some of the pieces," says head coach Kenny Walker. He adds he wants to see his team finish off more of the close games this year. "We lost two games in overtime last year. There were times we could've put it out reach but let people hang around. We need to finish off games."
Fort Dorchester Patriots
Head coach: Steve LaPrad (16th season)
2017 Record: 13-1 (Lost in Lower State final to Dutch Fork)
Returning Starters: 5
Top Returners: Chaz Jones (WR, Sr.)
Key newcomers: De'Andre Sabb (QB, Jr.), Khalil Jenkins (RB-Jr.), Davon Gilmore (LB, Sr.), Darryle Ware (Jr, LB,)
Outlook: Head coach Steve LaPrad on some of his young guys stepping up after losing a big senior class, "They played a lot in blowouts. I think we're going to be OK." The Patriots have two big non-conference games at the beginning of the year with Glynn Academy out of Georgia and perennial power Viera High School out of Florida.
Head coach: Joe Bessinger (5th season)
2017 Record: 2-8
Returning Starters: 8 on defense, 4 on offense
Top Returners: Brent Hicks (MLB, Sr.), Cory Speights (QB, Jr.)
Key newcomers: Ron Dessasure (CB/FS, Sr.), Shaundale Bannister (DB/OLB, Sr.)
Outlook: The Warriors will have their hands full in a very talented region. But head coach Joe Bessinger says don't count out the Warriors. "If we can find some depth and be smart as coaches and smart as players, I think we can surprise a few people," says Bessinger. He added they are inexperienced on offense but they do have good size at the receiver and offensive line positions.
Summerville Green Wave
Head coach: Joe Call (3rd season)
2017 Record: 10-3
Returning Starters: 18
Top Returners: Johnathan Bennett (QB, Sr.), Andre Banks (WR, Sr.), Pedro Rios (RB, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Keyvon Gregory (CB, Sr.), Cole Collins (OL, Sr.)
Outlook: Head coach Joe Call returns a ton of starters for the Green Wave, including senior quarterback Johnathan Bennett and senior wide receiver Andre Banks. "They organize little workouts," Call said. "They ask for a key to the stadium. They check every box: weight room, attitude, film study. And they're both great students."
West Ashley Wildcats
Head coach: Bobby Marion (12th season)
2017 Record: 5-5
Returning Starters: 14
Top Returners: Kenyatta Jenkins (QB, Sr.), Dominique Kershaw (WR, Sr.) Amari Jenkins (WR, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Xavier Legree (LB, Sr.), Elijah Johnson (DL, Sr.)
Outlook: Watch out for the Wildcat playmakers this season, including seniors Kenyatta Jenkins and Dominique Kershaw. "Our skill athletes are very, very good," notes head coach Bobby Marion. Now it's a question of if they can stay healthy. "If we don't get anyone injured, we'll be ok," notes Marion.
Head coach: Randy Robinson (3rd season)
2017 Record: 13-2 (*4A)
Returning Starters: 14
Top Returners: Eric Tuttle (QB, Sr.), DJ Chisolm (WR, Sr.), Keyshawn Wicks (RB, Sr.)
Outlook: The Stags are one of the newcomers to class 5A. Berkeley blazed through 4A last year with 13-2 record. Head coach Randy Robinson feels they're in the right classification now. "We thought we were close last year in 4A. Hopefully the depth will hold up," says Robinson. Among the guys to watch for on the Stags is senior athlete D.J. Chisolm who committed to East Carolina earlier this month.
Cane Bay Cobras
Head Coach: Russell Zehr (8th season)
2017 Record: 9-3
Returning Starters: 3 on offense, 4 on defense
Top Returners: Mackenzie Dudley (RB, Sr.), Micah Staggers (RB, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Elijah Bey (QB, Sr.), Alex Mart (QB, Jr.), Daquan Neals (WR,Sr.), Andre Green (WR-Jr.), Michael Bradley (WR, Sr.)
Outlook: Just like their rival Berkeley, Cane Bay is making the jump to 5A. Head coach Russell Zehr will have to replace a lot of offensive production after the departure of running back Kris Copeland and current USC Gamecock R.J. Roderick. "I feel like we've got a good corps group of kids. We're going to be strong and in shape," says Zehr.
Goose Creek Gators
Head coach: Jason Winstead (1st season)
2017 Record: 2-7
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 4 defense
Top Returners: Dante Smith (RB, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Jaylen Daniel (CB, Jr.), Dijion Singleton (QB/ATH-Sr.)
Outlook: Just like their rival Stratford, the Goose Creek Gators have a new head coach in Jason Winstead. The former South Pointe coach likes what he's seen so far. "I've been pleasantly surprised. The kids' attitudes have been great," says Winstead. The Gators should be loaded at running back including standout rising senior Dante Smith.
James Island Trojans
Head coach: Ike Allred (5th season)
2017 Record: 1-9
Top Returners: JD Key (LB, Jr.), DQ Vinson (QB, Sr.), Rodney Hamilton (WR, Sr.)
Outlook: There's room for improvement for the Trojans who won just one game last year. There's reason for optimism on the Island though one of the Trojans leading tacklers last year returns in junior linebacker JD Key. James Island starts the year at South Florence on August 17th.
Head coach: Dennie McDaniel (1st season)
2017 Record: 2-9
Returning Starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense
Top Returners: Mario Anderson (RB, Sr.), Travis Lott (QB, Sr.)
Key newcomers: Damarius Anderson (WR, So.), Thomas Blackmon (OL, So.)
Outlook: Can the Knights get back to being a perennial power? New head coach Dennie McDaniel hopes so. "We need to build ourselves back to what Stratford was known for," says McDaniel. "We need more emphasis on doing it the right way, holding kids accountable." The cupboard isn't empty for McDaniel-he's got one of the best running backs around in senior running back Mario Anderson. "He's definitely going to carry the workload for us," but adds, "He's more concerned with us trying to win ballgames."
Head coach: Jimmy Noonan (11th season)
2017 Record: 4-7
Top Returners: Nick Wilson (LB, Sr.), Will Harris (RB, Jr.), Justin Pelic (LB/RB, Sr.)
Outlook: Wando has some different competition on the schedule this year. They're in Region VII with newcomers Berkeley and Cane Bay. As is usually the case being the biggest school in the state, Wando graduated a lot of seniors, including key playmakers Cale Lewis, Joseph Jenrette and Conner McCarthy. The Warriors will find out quickly what they have to work with-they face Summerville on the road August 24th.
Colleton County Cougars
Head Coach: Coby Peeler (2nd season)
2017 Record: 4-7
Top Returners: Jalen Levine (CB/WR, So.), Trakell Murray (WR, Jr.), Warren Randolph (DL, Sr.)
Key Newcomers: Jaden Smith (MLB, Sr.), Edwardian Stansel (QB, Jr.)