The high school football season kicks off Friday, and two Beaufort County public schools begin the season ranked in the top 10 in the state in their classifications in the S.C. Prep Media Football Poll coordinated by high school sports writers throughout the Palmetto State.
Whale Branch checks in as the highest-ranked local team at No. 4 in Class 1A. The Warriors put together the first undefeated regular season in program history last year before dropping an 18-15 heartbreaker to Bamberg-Ehrhardt in the second round of the playoffs.
The Warriors return a trio of first-team All-Lowco performers in OL/DL Xavier Chaplin (Virginia Tech commit), RB/LB Joseph Hicks, and LB D’Ante Parker, as well as second-team All-Lowco standouts LB Mason Griffin and DB Keith Chisolm.
Beaufort High is ranked eighth in Class 4A as the Eagles aim for a third consecutive region title. The Eagles return All-Lowco Offensive Player of the Year Tyler Haley at quarterback, along with first-team All-Lowco standouts RB Amariee Morris, WR/DB Kacy Fields, and DL Eamon Smalls.
May River received votes in the Class 4A poll but fell just short of the top 10 as the Sharks look to replace a number of key seniors, including star QB Ahmad Green.
S.C. Prep Media Football Poll — Week Zero
Preseason rankings for S.C. Prep Football Media Poll released Tuesday, Aug. 17. First-place votes in parentheses
1. Dutch Fork (10)
2. Fort Dorchester
4. (tie) Dorman
4. (tie) T.L. Hanna
6. Ridge View
10. River Bluff
Others receiving votes: Spartanburg, Chapin, Hillcrest, Nation Ford, Mauldin, West Ashley.
1. A.C. Flora (7)
2. Myrtle Beach (2)
3. Greenville (1)
4. Catawba Ridge
5. South Pointe
6. North Myrtle Beach
Others receiving votes: North Augusta, May River, Greenwood, Airport
1. Daniel (10)
2. (tie) Chapman
2. (tie) Camden
4. Oceanside Collegiate
10. Union County
Others receiving votes: Aynor, Woodruff, Clinton, Fairfield Central, Hanahan, Palmetto
1. Abbeville (10)
2. Gray Collegiate
10. Christ Church
Others receiving votes: St. Joseph’s, Andrew Jackson, Woodland, Pelion, Cheraw, North Central, Chesterfield, Silver Bluff, Blacksburg
1. Southside Christian (10)
2. Lake View
4. Whale Branch
7. Baptist Hill
9. C.A. Johnson
Others receiving votes: Carvers Bay, Johnsonville, McBee, North/Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, Ridge Spring-Monetta, Allendale-Fairfax, C.E. Murray, Great Falls, Denmark-Olar
This Week’s Voters: Lou Bezjak, The State Newspaper; Jed Blackwell, Prep Redzone SC; Tyler Cupp, WHRI; Ian Guerin, Prep Redzone SC & My Horry News; Travis Jenkins, News & Reporter; Wes Kerr, Lowcosports.com; James McBee, Boiling Springs Journal; David Shelton, Charleston Post & Courier; Pete Yanity, WSPA; Alex Zietlow, Rock Hill Herald.
FRIDAY’S AREA SCHEDULE
Richmond Hill at Beaufort High, 7:30 p.m.
Calhoun County at Whale Branch, 8 p.m.
John Paul II at Hilton Head Prep, 5 p.m.
Above: Whale Branch RB/LB Joseph Hicks is a First-Team Preseason All-Lowco selection. Photo by LowcoSports.com.