It is not hard to find football coach Reggie Kennedy on the practice field at Blythewood High.
He is the man with the bullhorn stalking the field from corner to corner, his encouragements echoing throughout the early morning practice session.
On the first day of practice for S.C. High School League teams, Kennedy was brimming with excitement over the possibilities for the upcoming season.
“This is what high school coaches kind of live for,” said Kennedy, a 22-year coaching veteran. Entering his second year at Blythewood, Kennedy enjoyed seeing the hard work of offseason conditioning begin to show.
“We have high expectations for this group here, and we’re getting to see what they really are going to be capable of,” he said.
The Bengals have the raw tools for success but, as an assistant coach explained, they will spend the summer working to improve their energy, attitude and technique.
“The extra three weeks in the postseason last year, you could see the difference that that made in the energy and intensity all through conditioning and the spring, and it’s good to see it continue out here today, as well,” Kennedy said.
With 32 seniors lost from last year’s squad, the Bengals “have a lot of holes to fill,” Kennedy said. “The good thing is, it looks like we have good kids that are going to step up.”
Among them is Kylen Binn, a 6-foot-5 rising senior competing at starting quarterback.
“It’s great, and it’s fun,” he said. “We all get along well and we just enjoy competing, and the best man will win. It’s all going to make the team stronger.”
Binn, who sat out last season as a transfer, is enjoying his first real action with the squad.
“I saw how hard they worked last year, and we’re working even harder this year,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep this energy level up and not slack off no matter what happens in the season.”
The Bengals tried to beat the heat with an early practice and headed to the weight room before the weather heated up.
Daily practice continues for the Bengals, and most area teams, until the season begins on Aug. 17.