COACH: Shell Dula LAST SEASON: 11-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 1; lost to Clover insecond round of Class 4A Division II playoffs
KEY RETURNERS: DE Sam Montgomery, FS D.J. Sweainger, DB Byron Best
WHY GREENWOOD? Montgomery (6-foot-5, 245) had 65 tackles, including 15for a loss, and 12 sacks last season. He anchors a defense that allowed 12.2 points a gamein 2007. He has several Division I offers, including from Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida,Florida State and South Carolina.
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COACH: Phil Strickland LAST SEASON: 11-3 overall, 5-1 in Region 2; Lost toSummerville in semifinals of playoffs
KEY RETURNERS: RB Jeremiah Cochran, OL Denzelle Good, WR EmisonHughes, WR Jeffrey Brown, QB Joe Craig
WHY GAFFNEY? Excitement and great expectations surround the Indians as they move intoRegion 3 and move into their new stadium. The squad will be young, with sophomores gettinga good deal of playing time, but they will gain experience playing a rigorous nonregion schedulethat includes Region 2 squads Dorman, Byrnes and Spartanburg. The offense should hit theground running. Led by Cochran, the Indians gained 2,662 yards on 573 carries last season.
COACH: Dave Gutshall LAST SEASON: 10-3 overall, 4-2 in Region 2; lost toByrnes in second round of playoffs
KEY RETURNERS: TE Brandon Thomas, CB Taylor Sowell, WR/CB Walt Canty,OL Malcolm Boyd, K Bo Lindsey.
WHY DORMAN? The Cavaliers allowed 10.1 points per game last season, making it the topunit in Class 4A. To maintain that ranking, the Cavaliers will need solid play from Sowell andCanty and a breakout season from Ash Butler, who replaces Christian Graham at runningback. Last season, Dorman averaged 5 yards per carry and scored 33 rushing touchdownswith Graham as the primary back.
COACH: Bobby Carroll LAST SEASON: 9-4 overall, 4-2 in Region 3; lost toBerkeley in second round of playoffs
KEY RETURNERS: ATH Stephon Gilmore, RB Devin Whery, WR Charles Holmes,FS Devonte Holloman, DB Pat Burris, LB Pete Roseboro, TE Ryan Heitkamp
WHY SOUTH POINTE? The Stallions have a bunch of three-year starters, led by one of thestate’s premier talents, Gilmore. The squad has to fill holes on the offensive line and in thesecondary but returns all of its skill players. South Pointe employs a run-based attack, butwith Holmes at receiver and Gilmore in the pocket, it can move the ball through the air, too.Tight end Heitkamp (6-5, 225) gives the Stallions an extra edge.
— Akilah Imani Nelson