High school football | commentary

Baxter: ‘Why can’t Richland Northeast win at football?’

October 10, 2013 

Sun Aug 08, 2010-Columbia, South Carolina-Sunday during USC Football media day. Photo by Tracy Glantz/ Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com/ tglantz@thestate.com

TRACY GLANTZ — Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.co

Questions and answers from the mailbag:

Question: Can you shine some light on what in the world is going on at Richland Northeast and the football program? Why can’t we win?

Answer: I seem to field these questions a lot when teams are struggling. The biggest problem at Richland Northeast is declining enrollment. This is a program that will drop down to Class 3A with the next realignment; they are 55th in enrollment.

So, they are playing in 4A with a student body selection the size of a 3A school. The opening of Westwood hurt, as well, as they lost certain areas of the attendance zone where they had gotten a lot of their athletes before.

They also used to get a lot of players who were military dependents from Fort Jackson. Today, a lot of those families are choosing not to live on-base and move out farther out, taking them out of that zone.

I know that the answer that many fans always look for is coaching, but I can assure you that x’s and o’s are not the problem. Coach Jay Frye is a good coach and has a good staff. Be patient and see what happens in 3A next year.

Question: Who do you see as the top prospect in the state for the Class of 2016, and is Stephen Davis in that mix?

Answer: Dutch Fork’s Davis is growing into a solid prospect. Early on there was a lot of hype about him because he is what we call a “legacy” player because of his father’s success. But he has proven that he is a player and his physical attributes along with his developing skill set are going to make him a prospect on his own merit.

At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he’s been used a lot in the secondary for the Foxes, but I see him developing into an outside linebacker with his physical prowess and skill set.

In terms of No. 1, remember there are some good players generating heavy interests and offers. Conway wide receiver Bryan Edwards is going to be heavily recruited and already has offers from several SEC and ACC schools. Spartanburg running back Tavien Feaster is another high profile sophomore and he, too, has an impressive early offer list from the likes of Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Keep an eye open for Goose Creek lineman Jovan Kinlaw (6-5, 276); he’s new to the lineup with no offers but his size and program exposure will most likely lead to offers.

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