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Blackville-Hilda football looks for another high-flying season


The 2024 Blackville-Hilda football team is looking to pick up right where they left off last year, by making a return deep into the 1-A playoffs.
The returning players and coaches have been working hard this spring to help make those hopes turn into realities later this fall. In order to advance deep into the playoffs, a team must be good, have some really good athletes, quality coaching, work really hard, stay healthy, and have a few breaks go their way along the journey. Blackville-Hilda is doing their part to make it back to the playoffs. With a little luck on the injury front and if the ball can bounce their way in a couple of tough situations, we just might see these Hawks playing for the Upper State Championship and a trip to the State Championship game.
The 2023 Hawks team finished the season with a 10-2 record and a trip to the Upper State Championship game. The semi-final contest determined which team would get to move on to the State Championship game. The last four teams left standing in 1-A football last year were Christ Church, Southside Christian, St. Joes, and Blackville-Hilda. Blackville-Hilda is the only team from those final four teams that remains in 1-A football for the upcoming 2024 season. The South Carolina High School League reevaluated classification levels of their schools in order to make competition a little more fair for all. The other three teams not only moved up a classification, but they all moved up to 3-A for this coming season.
Do not think that realignment makes for an easy path to the State Championship. Perennial powerhouse Abbeville has returned to the 1-A rankings this year. There are other teams like the always strong Bamberg-Ehrhardt Red Raiders and maybe a surprise team or two that has all the pieces fall into place, that stand in their way. However, if things do go well for the Hawks, we might see them make another final four run and possibly more.
In order to get to the playoffs and be successful there, Blackville-Hilda will need to find a few replacements for those big playmakers like Tamari “TD” Daniels. The Hawks will not be hurting in the skilled positions. They are returning Jaquel ­Holman who was one of the state’s leading rushers last season, averaging more than 130 yards per game. Holman is faster than ever, freshly back from winning three gold medals at the 1-A Track and Field State Championships. Holman won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and was part of the 4x100-meter relay champions. Samari Williams is another track star for the Hawks and returns for his fourth season at quarterback for Blackville.
Hawks coach Kevin Jones was asked about his team’s spring workouts and the outlook for the upcoming season. “The spring has gone well. The first stretch we were still missing a lot of kids that were competing in track. So, we were able to focus on some of the younger kids until those guys got back on the field. They have competed hard in the weight room and on the field. We have a lot of returning starters from last year. On defense, we have nine kids that saw significant time last year. On offense, we return about 85 percent of our production and our guys up front have gotten bigger and stronger in the off season. One area that is strong for us is team speed. On both sides of the ball, our kids can really run.”
Jones continued saying, “We hope to improve on our depth. As a smaller school that is never going to have 50 kids on the roster, we know that some of our key players will have to miss snaps for whatever reason during games and we have to have guys ready to come in and compete in those situations. When people talk about our strengths, they start with our skill guys and I get that. Jaquel Holman is a major college prospect that at 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 205 pounds is the state champion in the 100-meters and 200-meters in track. He is big and fast. He rushed for over 1,700 yards on 170 carries last season. Namair Anderson is 6 feet tall and 180 pounds. Namair plays DB/WR and can really run as well. He has been receiving college offers. Our QB Samari Williams is starting for his fourth straight season. He is a smart kid that brings 4.5 speed to the field and poses problems for opposing defenses. We are excited about what transfer student ­Jamarian Kirkland brings to us. He is a kid that is 6 feet, 2 inches and runs really well. He will line up next to Messiah McFadden who is 6 feet, 4 inches and was clocked at a 4.6 flat at the combine. At fullback, we will have a junior 5 feet, 9 inches and 200-pound Jaden Jackson that runs like a bull and has good speed. The offensive and defensive lines have really improved
this offseason. Timothy Beard, Jayden Dash, Jalen Brown and Isaiah Greggs are all returning starters up front.”
The Hawks have also made an addition to the coaching staff. Former Allendale-Fairfax head coach Corey Haynes has joined Coach Jones and staff.
Put all of this together and hopefully the Hawks will stay healthy and get a few good breaks. If so, this will be a very exciting Blackville-Hilda Hawks football team to watch. Good luck Hawks!