By Steve LeMaster
A familiar face will be back on the Battery Creek High School football sidelines as veteran head coach Fred Hamilton has returned to the top of the Battery Creek High School football program.
During the offseason, Hamilton was hired to guide the Dolphins in the 2016 season, returning to coach a program he mentored earlier in his career.
The experienced Hamilton replaces Jim Shuman, who resigned in March.
Shuman vacated his head coaching position with the Dolphins in March to aid his ailing parents.
Hamilton guided Battery Creek to its first playoff win in 2001 during his prior stint with the program. He guided the Dolphins from 1999-2002.
Hamilton took the Dolphins to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, compiling a 20-28 record.
Hamilton left Battery Creek to coach the West Ashley football program.
A native of James Island, Hamilton, 57, spent six years as the head coach of the West Ashley football program before making his next career move. Hamilton was an assistant football coach and track and field head coach at Fort Dorchester. In 2010, while guiding the Fort Dorchester track and field program, Hamilton was named the South Carolina Track Coach of the Year.
Hamilton returned to Battery Creek from Colleton County High School, where he has teaching. His additional coaching experience includes stints as an assistant coach at Porter-Gaud Academy, James Island, The Citadel, Wofford, North Charleston, Charleston Southern University and East Tennessee State University.
Back on the field to lead the Dolphins offensively are backs Alterell Chatman (Sr.), Eddie Dean (Jr.) and Diamonte Blackshear (Sr.).
Defensively, linebacker Sonja Jones (Sr.) is among the top returnees for the Battery Creek football program.
In addition to Jones, Chatman, Dean and Blackshear are other experienced linebackers.
Chatman was selected as the Co Back-of-the-Year in Region 6-AA at the conclusion of the 2015 season. He shared the award with quarterback Leo Albano of Bishop England High School.
A leader throughout the 2015 season, Chatman rushed for 1,108 yards on 203 attempts (5.4 yards average), scored 13 touchdowns and averaged 12.7 yards per return on punts for the Dolphins during the 2015 season. He also played on special teams.
Chatman, Dean and Jones were each honored as an All-Region 6-AA selection. Dean and Jones were recognized for their outstanding play as linebackers.
Several Battery Creek players will start on both sides of the ball.
Multiple longtime rivals await the Dolphins in the 2016 season. Hamilton will make his latest coaching debut for the Dolphins on the road. Hamilton-coached Battery Creek is scheduled to open the 2016 campaign at Swansea High School on Friday, Aug. 19.
Battery Creek has additional away games scheduled versus Whale Branch, Calhoun County, Bluffton and new rival May River. The Dolphins are slated to host Beaufort, Hilton Head, Charleston Math & Science, Wade Hampton and Ridgeland-Hardeeville during the 2016 season.
Battery Creek exited the 2015 4-7 following a loss to Timberland in the postseason.
Kickoff for the Battery Creek-Swansea football game is set for 7:30 p.m.
Top photo: The Battery Creek Dolphins will take on Swansea in its first game Friday, Aug. 19. Photo courtesy of Theodore Wagner.