QB Daniel Thompson Boiling Springs
RB Tyrik Johnson Goose Creek
RB Tavien Feaster Spartanburg
WR Tabari Hines South Florence
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Dorman
TE Tavin Richardson Byrnes
OL Zack Bailey Summerville
OL T.J. Haney Gaffney
OL Zack Evans South Florence
OL Noah Green Boiling Springs
OL Dennis Daley Ridge View
ATH Dupree Hart Northwestern
DL Shameik Blackshear Bluffton
DL Rasool Clemons South Aiken
DL Eurndraus Bryant Fort Dorchester
LB Tyler Ragsdale Wando
LB Trae’von Hinton Northwestern
LB Hassan Belton Blythewood
DB Lane Ecton Dutch Fork
DB Kaleb Chalmers Greenwood
DB Deondre Daniels Goose Creek
DB Lyrics Klugh Byrnes
DB Cedarius Rookard Spartanburg
ATH Marquane Goodman West Florence
ALL-CLASS 4A TEAM
ONCE PERCEIVED TO BE A BIRTHRIGHT FOR REGION II- 4A powerhouses Byrnes, Dorman, Gaffney and Spartan- burg, none of them can make a claim to being the best eam in the Palmetto State’s top classification for the
first time in more than a decade.
But Northwestern and Dutch Fork face quite the road in their
quests for repeat titles as a large group of challengers aim to dethrone Class 4A’s gridiron kings.
A bizarre 2013 football season was followed by an offseason
that was just as strange. A number of the top South Carolina high
school football programs put out their welcome mats, bringing in
new – and old – faces to take the reins of their respective programs.
The departure of Bobby Bentley from Byrnes during the winter set
off quite the coaching carousel that impacted each of the state’s classifications. An offensive guru the likes of which the state has never
seen, he was replaced by a fellow “Byrnes-guy” in Brian Lane, who for
the past several years served as head coach at Class 2A Woodruff.
Among the other old faces in new places are Dan Pippin, the
longtime North Augusta coach who takes over at Greenwood;
former Ninety Six coach Chris Liner, who is tasked with reviving
the Laurens program; Jerry Brown, who after leading Batesburg-Leesville to a state title in Class 2A a year ago, is back at Spring
Valley where he led the school to its last championship almost
three decades ago; and Reggie Kennedy, who left Sumter less than
six months after taking the Gamecocks to the Class 4A championship game to replace coaching icon Bob Hanna at Irmo.
REALIGNMENT STRIKES AGAIN
Every two years, the South Carolina High School League shuffles
the deck, reclassifying each of its four divisions according to attendance numbers. As is always the case, some like it … and some don’t.
Greenville makes the jump to Class 4A, along with Socastee and
fledgling Midlands programs Westwood and River Bluff. However,
much of the movement came from within.
For so long, an Upstate bias reigned supreme in Class 4A football. But that stretch of dominance came to a screeching halt last
season as none of the region’s perennial powerhouses earned a
spot in either of the classification’s two championship games.
That’s because teams around the Midlands chose to be doormats
no longer as a pair of squads from South Carolina’s heartland qualified for the Class 4A – Division I title tilt with Dutch Fork winning
all the marbles. It was the region’s first championship at the Class
4A level in 20 years.
The Silver Foxes’ veteran core is still solidly intact and they
should again be in the championship mix. But more than Dutch
Fork is carrying the banner as the team it disposed of in the “Big
16” championship game – Sumter – is loaded and primed for another deep playoff run. And no one can forget about Spring Valley,
who despite losing a wealth of talent and their head coach in the
offseason, may have enough to get the job done this fall.
Nevertheless, a strong Upstate contingent should be in the con-
versation with talent-rich Byrnes leading the way. And the Rebels
are not alone as resurgent squads such as Boiling Springs, Dorman
and Spartanburg will make for some competitive football.
Northwestern athlete Dupree Hart caught 115 passes for 1,655 yards and 26
touchdowns last season.
TOP 5 TEAMS
1NORTHWESTERN: South Carolina’s all-time reception king Dupree Hart
2DUTCH FORK: A strong defense and running game make the Silver Foxes a
strong contender again this fall.
3SPRING VALLEY: A new coach may be at the helm, but expect the same fast,
aggressive Vikings and they’re eager to
avenge a heartbreaking playoff loss.
4BYRNES: Brian Lane succeeds coach- ing legend Bobby Bentley and hopes to
continue the Rebels’ tradition of gridiron
5GREENWOOD: New coach Dan Pippin inherits a talented Eagles roster, one
hoping to soar following a down 2013 season.