High school football season approaches

Here’s a sneak peak at my column in Sunday’s Star:

It’s hard to believe, but we’re 22 days away from the start of high school football practice.

The Border Showcase Jamboree, featuring Crest/Gaffney, S.C., and Shelby/Dorman, S.C., is set for Aug. 12 at Gardner-Webb and the annual Cleveland County Jamboree with all four local teams on display will take place the following Friday at Shelby High.

With that — and the fact that I can’t resist the urge to talk about high school football — in mind, here’s a few thoughts on the upcoming season.

Biggest questions
Question No.1 — How will Crest respond to having to forfeit its season on the eve of the 4A Western Finals last year? If the 0-15 that went down in the history books wasn’t bad enough, the Chargers must replace Florida signee Brandon Spikes and Brevard recruit Brandon Peterson from a defense that has long been the Chargers’ strength.

Answer — I think they’ll have a chip on their shoulders and a sour taste in their mouths after last season, so I don’t look for that to be a problem.

As for retooling the defense, I think the Crest offense — led by quarterback Jordan Robinson, skill players Bruce Smith and Tosh Toms and a solid offensive line — might be good enough to pick up the slack.

Question No. 2 — Can Shelby do it again? Losing a four-year starter on either side of the ball — Tavorris Jolly and Keon Ross — is tough to overcome, both on the field and from a leadership standpoint.

Answer — Anyone writing off the Golden Lions from the 2A State Championship picture is crazy. Shelby returns its all-time leading passer in Darryl Montgomery, a bruising fullback in Arsenio Parks and a talented anchor for its offensive line in Lamont Carpenter.

I know there are questions on defense, but I’m sure there will be more than enough answers to keep the Lions in the hunt for another state title.

Games of note

Burns at Crest — We certainly won’t have to wait long to find out how the new-look Crest defense responds to adversity, as the Burns Bulldogs and reigning Star co-Player of the Year Lance Camp comes calling for the season opener.

Camp has never beaten Crest, and the senior quarterback has had mixed results against the Chargers. He rushed for 55 yards on 25 carries and completed only 10 passes in 34 attempts in a season opening loss last year.

In 2004, however, he piled up 371 yards of total offense and accounted for all five Burns scores in his last visit to what’s now known as Sid Bryson Stadium.

Freedom at Shelby — Shelby was dealt a bitter overtime defeat in Morganton last season, and now it’s payback time. The Patriots will bring a new head coach to Shelby for a date with the Lions, and I think it will be a long night for the visitors in this one.

Crest at Shelby — Is there really a need to explain this choice? The intensity of this rivalry is off the charts, and this year’s version will be no different.

Shelby spoiled the dedication of Sid Bryson Stadium last year with a 21-17 victory, so the Chargers will be eager to return the favor at Blanton Memorial Stadium’s Pearley Allen Field.

Shelby at Kings Mountain — The Battle of Buffalo Creek is always interesting, not necessarily because its competitive, but because it’s the state’s most contested rivalry. The two teams tied 21-all in 1999 and you have to go back to 1998 to find the last Kings Mountain win in this series, a 7-6 decision at John Gamble Stadium.

Record watch

Camp is 595 yards away from passing former Burns High and current Navy quarterback Troy Goss for the top spot on the county’s all-time passing list.

Goss had 5,267 yards in his career in Lawndale and camp starts his season with 4,672.

Camp also sits 19th on the all-time rushing list with 2,496 yards, giving him a good chance of cracking the top 10 and an outside shot of slipping into the top five after his senior campaign.

Contact assistant sports editor Randy Capps at randycapps@shelbystar.com.

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