Football season begins Friday with Augusta Christian's home-opener against Orangeburg Prep. The rest of our area teams kick off on Sept. 1.
It can only mean one thing: This Wednesday we will unveil the Columbia County News-Times High School Football Preview Section.
It's got everything you'll need to satisfy your appetite for Columbia County football, including a page for each team, the annual Super Nine, Ashley Brown's preseason predictions, news from the marching bands, the Big Four Issues surrounding Columbia County football, a look at Richmond Academy (our new region friend), the traditional athlete spotlight and much more.
So, to really tease the eager football fans out there, I'd like to use this week's column as a Football Preview preview. Let's take a look at some of the best "stuff" our high school football teams have to offer:
Best improvement: Harlem. The Bulldogs were the only public school team to finish with a winning record last season, but Jimmie Lewis' crowd didn't stop there. A new weight-lifting facility (with air conditioning) drew the players in over the summer, making for a bigger, faster and stronger football team in 2006.
Best improvisation: Lakeside. Several local teams got caught with nothing to do after excessive heat canceled all outdoor activities on the first official day of practice. Volleyball teams owned the gym, so football teams were forced into cafeterias and locker rooms. The Panthers made a quick move to Lakeside Middle and were at least able to stretch and work out indoors.
Best offseason: Greenbrier and Augusta Christian. A tie goes to the two schools who got their teams away from the practice field and into live action over the summer. Both the Wolfpack and Lions participated in a weekly 7-on-7 passing camp at North Augusta High School for the entire month of June. Other schools set up 7-on-7 scrimmages on their own but didn't get even close to the amount of snaps these two schools got.
Best road trip: Augusta Christian. The Lions will travel to Charlotte, N.C., to take on the North Carolina Independent Schools Association defending state champs. On the way, they'll tour the Carolina Panthers' facilities, including Bank of America Stadium. That sure beats a trip to Ware County.
Best marching band: Yeah, right. I know better than to upset four large groups of band kids by singling one out as the best.
Best Web site upgrade: Evans. Knight coach Marty Jackson credited his booster club president for the major renovation of the team's Web site this summer. Linked from the Evans High School Web site, the Knights' home page features varsity and junior varsity schedules, coaching profiles, stats from past years, a photo gallery and an individual page for every player. Lakeside and Augusta Christian already have the two best football Web sites in the county with several similar features and more.
That does it for your Football Preview preview. More to come Wednesday.
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