By: Robert Driggers
Summer workouts are over, pre-season camps are history, and there are no more scrimmages.
Colleton Prep and Colleton County High will play their first games of the season Friday night. Colleton Prep will be hosting Florence Christian Academy, while the Cougars will be traveling to Hampton to take on the Wade Hampton Red Devils. Kick-off for both games will be at 7:30.
The Cougars are hoping to be able to play a full schedule without any interruptions to the season. Last year COVID interrupted the season, allowing the Cougars to only compete in five games.
“We have been looking forward to this game since last year. The kids are excited, the coaches are excited and hopefully our fans will get excited and support this team,” states head coach, Kris Howell.
The Cougars are fresh off of participating in a jamboree at Berkeley High School. While the scrimmage did not go as expected for the Cougars, Coach Howell saw the game as a wake-up call for his young Cougars.
After a successful first scrimmage, Howell stated, the Cougars were brought down to earth. “I would much rather we had this kind of experience now than later in the season when it counts the most. We made a ton of mistakes. However, all the of the mistakes are correctable and we will work on correcting those mistakes this week in practice.”
Howell did have praises for three of his seniors in response to their play during the scrimmage.
“Nikell Ferguson played well at center for the first time in his career. He did a remarkable job snapping the ball, especially in the wet weather,” says Howell. Offensive lineman Landon Garvin and outside linebacker Karden Winfield were also cited as having good games.
The Cougars now turn their attention to Wade Hampton, a team described by Howell as being well-coached, with good athletes on both sides of the ball.
“They are a good ball club that went 11-1 last year and played for the lower state championship,” Howell explained. “They run the spread on offense, and will be in a 3-4 look on defense. They will definitely be a tough team to play, but I am confident that our guys will bounce back and play well.”
Over at Colleton Prep, Coach Greg Langdale has a number of seasoned players in the line-up for this year's Warhawks.
“We played a bunch of freshmen and sophomores the last two seasons. Now those kids are juniors and seniors,” says Langdale. The Warhawks will also be moving up in classification this year from 1A to 2A.
Coach Greg Langdale is beginning his fourth season with a feeling of excitement surrounding this year’s team.
“This team will be more experienced than teams we have had in the past. They're excited to be playing in a new classification, as well as playing several new teams we have not played in the past,” says Langdale.
The Warhawks finish the pre-season with a scrimmage against Edisto High School.
“We had a good scrimmage, with us being able to run the ball effectively and playing sound defense. I'm definitely pleased with the effort and the way the team performed under the lights in front of a crowd of people,” says Langdale.
One area of concern for Langdale was the number of penalties that the Warhawks incurred during the scrimmage. One was a holding penalty that wiped out a 70-yard scoring touchdown. “We definitely need to clean up the penalties,” the coach noted.
Howell cited several positive points in the team's performance as well.
“I thought the defense played really well, with Noah Catterton and Gus Warren shutting down the running game. Kaden Crosby was the top defensive back, as he was credited with knocking down several passes,” says Langdale.
Offensively, the coaches were pleased but admit there is room for improvement. It was noted that on one series of plays they will be in the spread, but in the next series they are in the wishbone without changing personnel. “This could cause us a lot of problems,” Langdale admitted.
“We went into the scrimmage with the goal of spreading the ball around to as many running backs and receivers as we could during the game. I thought our offensive line played extremely well. We probably averaged between 4 and 5 yards per carry,” stated Langdale. The game was actually won on a 30-yard field goal by Connor Nettles as time was running out.
Langdale and his staff will now turn their attention to Florence Christian. “They are big, fast, and good. It is a great opportunity for us to play one of the better teams in the 3-A division. We get to see how our program stacks up against one of the elite teams in SCISA,” the head coach relayed.
In response to their upcoming game at Warkhawk Field, Langdale says, “We are ready to go and excited to play.”
Football season is here. Cougar fans can make the short trip to Hampton, and Warhawk fans can support their team at home for the teams' first games. Either way, these kids and coaches have worked hard during the summer and deserve your support.