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Calhoun/Orangeburg Feature High School

Barnwell ready to finish the job in 2017

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Barnwell—After playing for a Class AA Lower State title last season, the Barnwell football team entered 2017 with high expectations. The Warhorses got off to a solid start after defeating Williston-Elko, 24-6, and next host Blackville-Hilda Aug. 25.

“I was happy with it. Williston had a veteran team with a lot of seniors and we had a lot of kids on defense who hadn’t been tested. I was really pleased with the outcome,” head coach Dwayne Garrick said.

Barnwell faced some tough competition in the preseason, going against South Aiken, Saluda, Fox Creek, Woodland and Aiken. They’re prepared for the long haul of the regular season and will count on everybody to pull their weight.

“We’ve got more depth this year than we’ve had in the past. We might not have the big playmakers, but I think we’ve got a lot of good high school football players on this team. This is going to be a team that’s going to get better every week,” Garrick said.

Offensively, Pete Elmore returns at quarterback while Mykal Lee and Brandon Harvey get the carries at running back. The receivers include Ty Frazier, Ena Bynum, Tyreek Foust and Marcus Robinson. Copeland Burbage and Julius Arnold are the tight ends.

 The offensive line has three starters back in senior guard Jackson Carter and sophomore tackles Isaiah Williams and Briggs Kearse. Jackson Ridgeway and Nathan Miller are the newcomers up front.

“We started in the wishbone and went to the spread before halftime. Anytime you can do both, that’s a positive,” Garrick said. “There are going to be people who put 10 or 11 in the box so you have to be able to throw it. We’ll work on that every week.”

The defense had to be retooled, with only one player returning in the front seven. Carter, the veteran middle linebacker, is joined by Griffin Corley and Michael Guty at the second level. The line consists of Arnold, Burbage, Ernest Smith and Tylik Grant. Reggie Roberts, Markel Corley, Dallyon Creech and Cole Kearse are in the secondary.

“Our first scrimmage was really bad. We put a lot of emphasis on getting better up front over the next two weeks. That showed last night. When you can hold Williston-Elko to six points, you’ve done a good job,” Garrick said.

 

 

 OPS looking for playoff berth in Palmer’s second year

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Orangeburg—The Orangeburg Prep football team finished the 2016 season with some momentum, winning four of its last five games. However, they were 0-4 in conference play and failed to reach the SCISA playoffs.

Head coach Andy Palmer enters his second year in charge and feels like better things are to come this fall. The Indians got off to a good start by defeating Hilton Head Prep, 46-7.

“I thought we had a pretty good preseason,” said Palmer. “We focused on conditioning, special teams, eliminating turnovers, mistakes and penalties. Although we held our own with the conditioning and it being a 5:00 game, we had two turnovers and seven penalties so we have to cut back on that and limit those mistakes. With that being said, when you come out with a victory in week zero, you’re happy with that and look forward to the next one.”

The OPS defense should be very strong as eight starters returned. The entire defensive line remained intact in Matheson Wannamaker, Braxton Wannamaker, Josh Hutto and Colin Bair.

Andrew Brickle and Wesley Wells are the veteran linebackers while Peyton McDougal and Parker Kuck are back in the secondary. Newcomers to the unit include linebacker John Henry Reynolds and defensive backs Bill Metts, Grant Axon and Hunter Shaffer.

“They can be extremely good. We’re going to have to match up with some people, athlete-wise, and get people to run to the football. We have to give extra effort making sure that we have everyone in the right gaps and to do what we need to do. Good defense wins championships and wins a lot of ballgames for you,” Palmer said.

Offensively, the Indians have picked up where they left off a season ago. Trace Furtick returns at quarterback after starting the final three games last year while Brickle is coming off a 1,000-yard rushing campaign. Kuck has experience at receiver while William Garner and Darby Self are back on the left side of the offensive line.

McDougal will serve as the other receiver while Wells and Reynolds share time at tight end. Hutto and the Wannamakers round out the offensive front.

“Coming into the spring, we didn’t have to do a whole lot of re-teaching. We just hit the ground running. We’re just going to be a power run team that runs as many plays as we can. We’ll throw the ball when we have to in order to get people out of the box,” Palmer said.

Orangeburg Prep also gets a huge boost as Metts returns at running back. He was one of the top players in the area before missing the second half of the season with an injury.

“He played three and half games last year and got hurt against Wilson Hall. Last spring he was the state champion in the 110-meter hurdles. He’s had a great offseason getting ready to go,” Palmer said.

The Indians hope to take the next step forward when the travel to Cardinal Newman Aug. 25. It will be the first conference game of the year, and OPS will try to exact revenge after losing 28-7 in last year’s matchup.

“When we go against lower classification teams, we feel like those are the games we ought to win. This week we play Cardinal Newman, a 3A team, and those are the wins we haven’t gotten yet. We need to start beating the 3A competition,” Palmer said.

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