1Spartanburg (4A): Last season, Spartan- burg broke through for its first state title
since 2001, riding the back of an explosive
offense led by speedster Tavien Feaster and
gunslinger Austin Scott. With many of those
same components back and a confident defense to accompany them, there is no reason
to believe the Vikings will not repeat.
2Hillcrest (4A): The Rams surprised everyone but themselves en route to
claiming the 2014 Class 4A-Division I crown.
No longer the hunter – but the hunted – it will
be interesting to see how a largely experienced
Hillcrest squad responds to that scenario.
3Dutch Fork (4A): Experience may not be as plentiful with this year’s Dutch Fork squad
as ones in the past, but head coach Tom Knotts
has proven he can flat out get the job done –
regardless of the weapons at his disposal.
4York (4A): Fresh off a trip to the Class 4A-Division II title game, head coach
Bobby Carroll has talent to replace. However,
Wally Wilmore and a deep pool of York players
are ready to show they have what it takes to
help the Cougars take that final step toward
becoming a champion.
5Byrnes (4A): A three-year championship drought seems like an eternity for backers
of the Byrnes football team. Talented veterans
in Micah Young and Jaylan Foster hope to help
lead this year’s group of Rebels back to the
6South Pointe (3A): An already stout defensive squad received a boost last season
courtesy of quarterback Greg Ruff, who passed for
2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns. Obviously, that
is not what opponents of the Stallions wanted to
hear heading into a new football season.
7Fort Dorchester (4A): Fort Dorchester experienced a resurgence of sorts in
2014, riding the wave of a ball-control offense
and dominant defense. If it can get a similar
effort this season, the Patriots can again be
among the final few competing for a state title.
8Westside (4A): Head coach Scott Earley has brought a swagger to the Anderson
school as he took Westside from one win to
eight in a single season. Going by his track
record at previous stops, it is not difficult to
see that plenty more victories could be on the
horizon for the Rams.
9Dillon (2A): With 16 starters back from an undefeated, state-championship squad,
Dillon is undoubtedly the odds-on favorite to
claim a fourth consecutive Class 2A-Division I
title. Moreover, veteran quarterback Avery McCall
is seeking to become one of the state’s all-time
greats at any position as has the potential to
complete his prep career with four rings.
10 Northwestern (4A): A program known more for its offensive prowess,
Northwestern may get it done on the other
side of the ball this season courtesy of a
mammoth defensive front. Don’t be surprised
if the Trojans take to the air more than in the
past, largely due to personnel.
11 Summerville (4A): Though legendary head coach John McKissick is gone, he
17 Newberry (2A): Following a game effort against Dillon in last November’s Class
left an impressive cache of weapons for the
next coach of the Green Wave. Such especially
holds true on the offensive side of the ball,
where several experienced skill players return
to offer the unit explosive potential.
12 Hartsville (3A): Making two state championship game appearances
in the past three years and winning one, the
Red Foxes have their eyes fixed on redeeming
themselves for last year’s failure to secure
another ring. Indeed, they have the tools,
returning a solid stable of running backs.
13 Goose Creek (4A): A new era begins at Goose Creek, but the philosophy remains
the same. What makes this group dangerous isn’t
as much its rushing attack, but a stingy defense
that loves to harass opposing ballcarriers.
14 Myrtle Beach (3A): Injuries derailed last season’s run at a state title. With
the return of Old Dominion commits Drayton
Arnold and Brandon Sinclair, the Seahawks are
certainly title contenders in Class 3A.
15 Dorman (4A): Only six starters return for Dorman, but head coach Dave Gutshall
believes this is one of his fastest, strongest
squads. It also helps when you have Colorado
State commit Collin Hill starting under center.
16 Greer (3A): With the pass-catching combo of Mario Cusano and Dorian
Lindsey along with an elite secondary led by
Virginia Tech commit Troy Pride, Greer looks to
control the skies in 2015.
2A-Division I title game, Newberry seeks to
earn another shot at the Wildcats – this time
planning on a different result.
18 Seneca (3A): Head coach Gene Cathcart has moved on, but he left a
talented roster that returns 19 starters from
last year’s team that won nine games. Ten of
those are on the offensive side of the ball, a
unit that averaged 40 points per game.
19 Timberland (2A): One of three teams tatewide to go undefeated a year
ago, Timberland hopes to emerge from Dillon’s
shadow by earning another Class 2A crown.
20 Belton-Honea Path (3A): Returning 17 starters from a team that won nine
games a season ago, the Bears seek to reclaim
their spot as the top team in Western 3A.
21 Christ Church (1A): With 54 straight victories, Christ Church has its eyes
on another bit of history – becoming the first
team in state history to earn five consecutive
state championships on the gridiron.
22 Emerald (3A): Following a season in which the defensive backfield tandem
of K.J. Chamberlain and David Johnson
snatched 18 interceptions, the pair hopes to
commit a few more thefts this fall as they help
Emerald achieve another campaign with at
least 10 victories.
23 Fairfield Central (2A): Though diminutive in size, the Griffins’
superior speed and athleticism, along with an
abundance of experience, will help them move
closer to earning that elusive state title – the
program’s first since 1997.
24 Sumter (4A): Talent has never been the issue at Sumter. With the addition
of former Crest (N.C.) head coach Mark Barnes
to the sideline, optimism is high that he can
deliver a championship.
25 Batesburg-Leesville (2A): Following a first-round exit from the state playoffs,
Batesburg-Leesville is bent on redeeming itself
and pushing the storied Lexington County
school back into the Class 2A title picture.
TOP 25 TEAMS SOUTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL