Baxter's Blitz

Plenty of story lines entering start of practice

We are officially in the dead week for high school football, with coaches at clinics and players probably enjoying their last free days before practice officially starts.

Here’s some questions that I will attempt to answer over the next few weeks before kickoff on Aug. 19.

Can the Wildcats

return to title game?

Lexington had a Cinderella season in 2015, but the clock struck midnight when the ball was kicked off in the championship game against Northwestern. Gone are services of two senior quarterbacks, the Midlands’ top running back and the best wide receiver group in town.

Lexington will have to play well at quarterback, find a running back, and get much better at linebacker if its to have any chance at a deep run in the Class 5A.

Can Chapin find

a new playmaker?

I don’t think filling the quarterback role is going to be an issue. Trad Beatty is a rising junior and very capable of doing the things necessary to execute the offense. He also has a solid offensive line coming back. The void that was created by Logan Bailey’s graduation was that of a playmaker.

As well as Chapin is coached and as talented as they were, Bailey still single-handedly impacted the outcome of several games with his athleticism. That’s where I think the Eagles will hurt.

Can Blythewood

break through?

The Bengals have been loaded with talent in each of the past several seasons, but they’ve been unable to reach what most think was their potential as a deep playoff threat. If they’re to do that this year, they need to play complete games.

We might see a two-quarterback system for the Bengals, but it’s Jordyn Adams who will make the difference calling signals. The defense is strong, so the biggest question mark is going to be how well the offensive line is able to perform. If they can play well, they have an outstanding running back in Kyle Wright, who can be a difference-maker on offense.

Will Irmo turn it around?

The Yellow Jackets enter their third season under coach Reggie Kennedy, and the previous two seasons haven’t been kind. This is a spin that started well before Kennedy took the reins, but the question is can he get control of it?

Spring showed good participation, but I didn’t think the Jackets looked impressive on offense. Their performance in a recent passing league tournament demonstrated there’s a lot of work to be done on defense, as well.

Which first-year coach has best shot at

winning?

Considering the candidates at the schools: Dustin Curtis (Westwood), Chad Leaphart (Gilbert), Greg Wright (Swansea), Rodney Barr (Lower Richland), Robert O’Connell (Richard Winn) and Jerry Brown (Northside Christian). Keenan and Eau Claire are also with new coaches.

I think that Wright is walking into the best situation. The Tigers have tradition, and a schedule that’s favorable. Look for the Tigers to be a playoff team.

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