High School Sports

Football: Batesburg-Leesville at Lexington

Site: WildCat Stadium. Time: 7:30 p.m.

Lexington notes: There is much anticipation in Lexington these days. The Wildcats are bigger, stronger, deeper, more experienced and confident than a year ago when they surprised many by going 6-6 in Allen Sitterle’s first season in command … The Wildcats have nine starters back on offense, and expect to be productive. Trad Hunter is back at quarterback, Xavier Salley returns as the H back and the offensive line will average 230 pounds – a big jump in size over last season. But the key man is three-year starter Anthony Carden, a bruising running back who could get the call 30 times a game … The defense, though not as seasoned, figures to be better as well with a whole new defensive coaching staff in place, including coordinator Rocky White. The returning standouts are defensive back Andy Chandler and linebacker Bradley Moore.

Batesburg-Leesville notes: The Panthers have a lot of holes to fill, and the newcomers will get their first chance to shine this week … Sophomore K.J. Johnson makes his debut at quarterback. Junior Elliott Jeffcoat and senior Colby Watkins will get the bulk of carries. Juniors Jamal Bryant and Chris Lewis take over at receiver. The offensive line is in good shape with the senior leader Justin Quattlebaum in the forefront … The defense will build around returning all-region players Demetrius Robinson and Ben Trotter. Michael Shealy is back at linebacker next to Robinson and Jamie Gleaton is back up front with Trotter. Sophomore Tyrell Leaphart has star potential star in the secondary.

Series history: It is somehow fitting that the first game at Lexington’s new on-campus stadium will also mark the welcome return of a traditional county rivalry that was the victim of the Class 4A playoff points system. The series began in 1925, but was put on hold after the 1999 meeting when then Lexington coach Jimmy Satterfield felt his team could no longer afford to play a Class 2A school, no matter how big the gate. But the traditional season opener for both schools is back in place, just as it was for 12 seasons in a row (1988-1999). The Wildcats lead the overall series 35-26-4. The best run of success for B-L came between 1985 and 1996 when the Panthers won 10 of 12 outings. The game will be televised live on South Carolina ETV.