New sports season gets ready to roll

By CT McDonald

There is no question about it; the high school fall sports season is about to get under way with all of the 2021 – 2022 action straight ahead.

Sportsaramas and jamborees are happening this weekend in the midlands and around the state, Lexington-Richland District Five — and other — school classes start next week, and the first week of competition for many football teams also kicks in next week.

All District Five high schools start the football regular season next week in what the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) calls Week 0. Others will start in Week 1 August 27.

Class 5A, 5-time defending state champion Dutch Fork will start the season August 20 at Wren High School with some new people at various positions on the team and the staff.

After losing quarterback Will Taylor to graduation, the Silver Foxes are looking to fill that position with two candidates being considered. There are other holes to fill throughout the lineup from last year’s championship team, and the Foxes seem to have become adept at that over the past few seasons.

Dutch Fork returns to compete in Region 5-5A in the lower state again this year, along with Chapin, Lexington, River Bluff and White Knoll High Schools. The Silver Foxes completed last year undefeated.

District Five and Region 5-5A contender Chapin will also kick off the regular season on the road next week, on August 20, but not too far from home. The Eagles will start the season at Irmo where the Yellow Jackets will want to reverse the outcome of this matchup after taking a 55-38 loss against the Eagles last season.

Chapin completed the 2020 season 6-2, 2-2, losing only to Dutch Fork and River Bluff, both of which were region opponents. In last year’s pandemic abbreviated season, only the top-two teams in a region qualified for the playoffs, and in Region 5-5A that was Dutch Fork and River Bluff.

In head football coach Aaron Brand’s second year at Irmo High School, the Yellow Jackets made the playoffs last year behind, now, 4A defending state champion A. C. Flora and played to the second round where the Jackets lost to Catawba Ridge, the 2020 state runner-up.

Irmo completed last year 7-3, 4-1 and will start this season August 20 when Chapin visits W. C. Hawkins Stadium to kick off the new season. The Yellow Jackets return to Region 4-4A competition this year along with A. C. Flora, Dreher, Lugoff-Elgin, Richland Northeast and Westwood.

All games are on a Friday at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted.