By CINDY CROSBY
The lights will be back on at Cougar Stadium Friday Oct. 2 in Region VII-AAAA action against Hilton Head High School.
In the meantime, the Colleton County Cougar Football program is preparing to kick-off the 2020 season after a delayed start due to COVID-19.
The Cougars will scrimmage Ashley Ridge High School on Sept. 14 (away) then face Goose Creek High School in the Berkeley Jamboree Friday Sept. 18 (away). They will open conference play in an away game versus Bluffton High School Friday Sept. 25.
“I am excited about our team this season,” said Coach Coby Peeler. “Really just excited to get back to playing some football. With everything we’ve been through the last few months, especially our players, having to learn how to do virtual schooling, and the uncertainty around their season, I think we’re all looking forward to getting a sense of normalcy in starting the season.
“With daily screenings, temperature checks, and the distancing protocols we’ve put into place, I’m confident that we’ve created the safest environment possible for our athletes to feel safe, and be able to compete,” said Peeler.
“We have a great mixture this year of youth and experience,” he said. “We have a pretty big group up front, with some experience on both sides of the ball, but we have a lot of youth in our skill positions, although there is some definite talent there.”
The Cougars will have new faces on both sides of the ball with some making an immediate impact. In addition, expect to see some shuffling among returners.
“Nayrone Holmes will move over from defense to help out at quarterback,” said Peeler. “Having him there gives us a true weapon both throwing and running the ball. Jackie White, though just a junior, provides us with a lot of versatility, and has played a good bit of football already, so we’ll ask him to do a lot of different things for us. Jorryn Simmons, along with JaTodd Allen, give us a tremendous amount of speed and athleticism on the outside at wide receiver.”
One player on everyone’s radar this fall is senior offensive tackle and guard Ian Shark, named Preseason All-Lowcountry for the 2021 Class.
Shark has one offer on the table from Alabama State University.
“Up front on the offensive line, we have experience and size with guys like Ian Shark, Saigron Bowman, and Kobe Ferguson,” said Peeler.
“Defensively guys like Daryl Green (LB), Lamontre Green (LB), Josh McClendon (DL), Paul Winbush (DL) all give us a strong front with some experience. The secondary will be led by Antawn Griffin at safety and Jahiem Bellamy at corner. They give us huge playmaking ability on the back end.”
“The biggest thing is – we are ready to compete,” said Peeler.
“These guys have worked hard, through a ton of adversity, to be ready. They want to give their school and community a team they can be proud of – and, they’re chomping at the bit to get started.”