High School Football regular season begins 

By Thomas Grant Jr.

Certainty and uncertainty.

It’s how Irmo and Chapin are approaching their Week 0 matchup.

As of Monday, the location of the matchup remained in question. Originally scheduled for Cecil Woolbright Field, ongoing renovations to the seating and plumbing have put the home opener in an uncertain status for the Eagles.

Chapin head football coach Justin Gentry said the school had a “positive meeting” with state inspectors who toured the stadium Friday. An answer was expected on Monday as to whether the stadium is suitable for a home game.

If not, the game will be moved to W.C. Hawkins Stadium at Irmo High School.

The two head coaches were asked about the game location during Friday’s Aun and McKay Kickoff Classic. Chapin faced Gray Collegiate and lost 27-6, while Irmo blanked Mid-Carolina 28-0.

“I fully expect the game to be at Chapin and we fully expect to be ready to play those guys up there,” Irmo head coach Aaron Brand said.

“Come next Friday, the ball’s going to be down,” Chapin head coach Justin Gentry said. “We’re playing somewhere.”

The Yellow Jackets provided a sample of its “three-headed monster” on offense during the Kickoff Classic. Junior quarterback A.J. Brand and transfer wide receiver Donovan Murph connected on two long touchdown passes and Gilbert transfer running back Jaden Allen-Hendrix added a rushing touchdown.

Aside from a scoring drive to open the game by quarterback Brady Albro, Chapin took a “vanilla” approach to its final preseason scrimmage. Nevertheless, Gentry is hoping to see more “intensity” this Friday, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

Dutch Fork opens title defense

Dutch Fork football celebrates the 2022 Class 5A title.

Despite losing key All-State players to graduation, the defending state champion was a certain bet to open the season atop the Class 5A rankings.

The Silver Foxes enter the season seeking their eighth state title under head coach Tom Knotts. They also look to extend a few winning streaks:

  • 45 straight regular season wins over in-state teams
  • 42 straight road victories
  • 32 straight region wins

Adding to Dutch Fork’s proverbial “target” is a national preseason ranking. The Silver Foxes are ranked 4th by High School Football America, with Northwestern at number 83 the only Palmetto State teams to appear in the Top 100 poll.

The two teams scrimmaged each other last Friday to a 14-14 tie at the Football City USA Kickoff Classic in Rock Hill.

Dutch Fork will get tested early with a road matchup with 7th-ranked Colquitt County out of Georgia. The Cowboys have arguably the top-ranked tight end in the country in Landen Thomas and wide receiver Ny Carr, who had 62 receptions for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns for the 13-1 state semifinalist.

Jonathan Hunt is expected to take over the quarterback duties with Trenton Lodge as the successor to Clemson running back Jarvis Green. The Silver Foxes do return several defensive starters in defensive linemen Josh Smith and Dakota Jordan, defensive backs Elgin Sessions and linebacker Tyler Jones.

S.C. Prep Football Media Preseason Top 10 Rankings

(Class 5A)

1.Dutch Fork, 2. Gaffney, 3. Summerville, 4. Fort Dorchester, 5. J.F. Byrnes, 6. Sumter, 7. T.L. Hanna, 8. Spartanburg, 9. Lexington, 10. Dorman

Featured photo: Chapin quarterback Brady Albro with the pass

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