It's that time of the year, high school football practice has began for teams this week and since that is the case, let's take a quick look at my preseason rankings. First week schedules begin August 17th.
High School Football
Southwestern 2A Predictions:
6) R-S Central (4-7, 2-3 last year)- Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers couldn't stop much of anything last year and if they repeat the same thing, it doesn't matter what offense they can produce. Quarterback, Jayden Waddell is now at East Rutherford coincidentally and that is who helped them win four games last year when they needed him the most. Central will be competitive and could finish fourth in the league. However, they must solve three problems. How do they stop offenses? Offensive reliability at QB? Who can get the run game going?
5) East Gaston (2-9, 1-4)- Teams chased Kobe Creamer all around the field last year and the quarterback will be at it again this season. They have many of the same problems at Central and Chase year ago, but turnovers may have been the worst of the issues. That's why I don't see them going any higher than fourth, but could finish last in the league.
4) Chase (1-10, 0-5)- There is a new belief within Trojan country as Cort Radford begins his first season at Chase as the new Head Football Coach. The roster has already grown from a year ago and they have an exciting freshman quarterback in Damian Boykins that should make an immediate impact. Much like R-S a year ago, they could stop much defensively a year ago. They have some pieces to work with this season, but can they make the offense go and the defense to rise up.
3) East Rutherford (7-5, 3-2)- They have about everybody back and they added a couple of pieces to the mix. Athletically, nobody is better than them this year in the county. Can they nip at the top two contenders...maybe, but last year was a big NO! Still, Demetrius Mauney at running back and Jordan Harris catching the pigskin, East should be a tough out every week.
2) South Point (12-1, 5-0)- They will still run that military style option on offense that will continue to fool defenses. The Red Raiders do lose a core group of athletes
1) Shelby (12-3, 4-1)- Despite having all the athletes a school could ever want, the Golden Lions finished second to South Point a year ago. That's all the more reason to try and win the conference outright in 2018. Shelby did beat them in the playoffs last year and ended up in the Western Finals before losing to Hibriten.
This year, Shelby has most of those kids back and they are primed to have a chance to run all the way to the state title game if all goes according to plan. Defensively, they should be okay, but offensively, not many teams are going to be able to keep them from scoring.
Southern Piedmont 1A
8) Highland Tech- Numbers just limit them every year.
7) Community School of Davidson- Not much went right a season ago on either side of the ball. That is likely to continue this season.
6) Pine Lake Prep- Last year, they had no defense, but could score at least. It could be a down year on both sides of the ball this season.
5) Cherryville- They have running back Justin Lemons and a defense that isn't bad, so they are a threat.
4) Mountain Island- They always seem to get a few athletes. They could fall to fifth in the standings or contend at the top, but the jury is still out.
3) Thomas Jefferson- Despite losing a few key players from a year ago, they do have a core group back. Coaching and defense doesn't worry me too much, but how they will do offensively without Max Robbins, Bill Lay and Stephen Hargett are a concern.
2) Bessemer City- The Yellow Jackets have a lot of players back from a year ago and I am tempted to make them go to #1 on the board. However, they seem to find a way every year to mess up down the line.
1) Union Academy- They have everybody back while with Bessemer City barely beating them and TJCA falling to them a year ago. The Cardinals maybe my odds on favorite, any of the top five teams could end up winning the SP 1A title.