Another football season is upon us. It's that time of year when everyone's hopes are high, the slate is clean with a 0-0 record and anything can happen.
Could this be the first time since 2004 that a public school team makes the state playoffs? Will Augusta Christian reach the SCISA state title game for the third consecutive year? Who will win the big rivalry games when Lakeside goes to Evans and Greenbrier? Don't forget about Harlem's and Greenbrier's road games at Evans.
Those questions won't be answered until the season plays out, but the main players in those games are listed below. Please welcome The Columbia County News-Times' Super Nine: the top high school football players in Columbia County this year.
Tyler Bourdo, QB
Augusta Christian, Sr.
The 5-9, 155-pound starting quarterback returns for another year after leading the Lions to the SCISA state title game in 2006. His mobility and football intelligence alone make him a good quarterback. He's got a strong arm as well.
Trey Crain, TB/LB
At 5-8 and 185 pounds, he's not the biggest back on the team, but he is the hardest hitter. Expect to see Crain on the field more than 90 percent of the game for Harlem. If he does get a rest, it'll be on offense. His impact behind the defensive line is simply too big.
Jay Harmon, RB
Augusta Christian, Sr.
Let the touchdown tally begin. The offensive line will help Harmon get past opposing teams' defensive lineman, and it will take more than one SCISA defensive back to take down this 6-1, 215-pound workhorse. He spent all last year as a fullback so expect plenty of North-South running.
Mike Leverett, LB/TE
Harlem's best all-around athlete will make his home in the center of the defense again this year. NCAA D-I colleges have taken interest in the 6-1, 205-pound linebacker. Along with Crain, Harlem's defensive stand is dependent on how well Leverett plays.
Kevin Millward, QB/P
Millward's environment around him has improved every year since he took over the starting job two years ago. This year he's got a tall veteran group of receivers and more experience at quarterback than anyone else in the county. If all else fails, he's still the best punter in the entire Aiken-Augusta area.
Jonathan Nicely, WR
He's one of several targets for Evans this year. The 6-4, 190-pound receiver accounted for almost half of the Knights' receiving yards last year and led the team with an 18.8 yards per catch average and four touchdowns.
Nick Richards, QB
The 6-4, 210-pound starter just looks like a star quarterback, and appearances aren't deceiving. He threw for more than 1,000 yards last season and brings back the strongest arm in the county. He has every quarterback tool there is.
Kyle Tudor, FS
Lakeside's top defender returns to the secondary where he started 10 games last year. With region rivals Evans and Greenbrier expecting to pass the ball more this season, they'll both have their work cut out for them with Tudor on duty.
Dylan Turner, LT/DT
Turner, a starting tight end since his freshman year, will shift down the offensive line to the tackle position this season. Turner's offensive stats will obviously suffer, but that will strengthen the Wolfpack line. Turner's big numbers will come on the other side of the ball where he'll start at defensive tackle.
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