High school football players sprint back into action
The countdown to the high school football season officially started Friday when teams across the state began workouts.
The familiar sounds of players huffing and puffing, whistles blowing, coaches barking orders and helmets clashing were heard as players went through conditioning drills.
Several area teams have been active all summer competing in passing leagues and camps. Still, the first day of practice is special.
“I’m really anxious to be out here and get things started again,” Williston-Elko High coach Derek Youngblood said. “We’ve got a good group returning that has played a lot of football. We are working hard on both sides of the ball trying to get better.”
Barnwell High coach Dwayne Garrick said he likes the balance of his team as practice begins.
“So far, I’m very pleased with the participation,” Garrick said. “The offense has really been doing some good things, especially the guys up front. We have pretty good depth at all positions with a lot of the younger players developing.”
Jefferson Davis Academy opened practice Friday with more than 20 players — the most head coach Michael Tindal has had in his three years.
“I’m really happy with the number of players that have shown up for the first day of workouts,” Tindal said. “Right now, we’re just building on what we did at spring practice. Conditioning comes first, then we work on schemes and assignments.”
At Allendale-Fairfax High, former Bethune-Bowman head coach Glynn Darby Sr. takes over the helm for the Tigers after the recent departure of former coach Eddie Ford. Ford was relieved of his duties in June when the Allendale County School Board was still in power.
Ford, who was the fastest coach to reach 50 wins in school history, is now an assistant at Woodland High.
As for Darby, he’s been in the coaching ranks for 35 years. Darby said his goal is to bring stability back to the program.
“We have a talented group, but talent can only take you so far. We have to learn to take responsibility and ownership,” Darby said. “Right now, it’s about teaching and learning each other. I think we’ve had some spirited practices with emphasis on fundamentals and conditioning.”
Blackville-Hilda High coach David Berry, who returns for his 29th season at the school, said it was a good first day of workouts.
“We’re just out here trying to get better. I’m pleased with the turnout today. The kids came out and worked really hard,” Berry said.
Area teams have announced their scrimmage and jamboree schedules. Williston-Elko High will host Allendale-Fairfax High Friday, Aug. 4 at 9 a.m., Blackville-Hilda High will host Bethune-Bowman High Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m., Barnwell High will travel to South Aiken High on Friday, Aug. 4 at 9 a.m., and the Warhorses will also play at home on Tuesday, Aug. 8 in a scrimmage against Woodland High at 6 p.m.
The Region 4A jamboree will be held August 10 at 5 p.m. Williston-Elko High will be the host team with Blackville-Hilda, Wagener-Salley, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, Ridge Spring-Monetta and North High all competing. On Aug. 11, Williston-Elko High will play in the Aiken County Jamboree which will be held at North Augusta High.
Barnwell High will host the Region 5A jamboree Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. Batesburg-Leesville will play Calhoun County in the first quarter. That game will be followed by Allendale-Fairfax against Bamberg-Ehrhardt. Barnwell will take on Silver Bluff in the final game.
For Jefferson Davis Academy, the Raiders will host the SCISA 1A jamboree Aug. 11 starting at 5 p.m. The Raiders will play Cathedral Academy in the final game at 9 p.m.