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The final road test for county high school football teams features five hours of play at Andrew Jackson High School’s Volunteer Stadium tonight.
The eighth annual Founders Kickoff Classic begins at 5:30 with a county clash – Indian Land vs. Lancaster and closes late in the evening, with host AJ doing battle at 9:30.
“It’s a big night of football and a big night for Andrew Jackson High,” Volunteers’ coach David Moore said. “We’re excited about being the host and it’s been a busy week preparing for the event on and off the field.
“With a new season, I think it will be an exciting time at AJ,” Moore said.
Five hours of football kicks off with the Warriors battling the Bruins at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re usually playing near the end, but we start off the action,” IL coach Mike Mayer said.
The Bruins and Warriors will be followed by Buford against Great Falls at 6:30 p.m.
Classic newcomer Northern Guilford, led by former LHS coach Johnny Roscoe, will play back-to-back games starting with a 7:30 p.m. contest with defending Class AA state champion Central of Pageland.
Northern Guilford then takes on Class AAA Fort Mill at 8:30. The final game has host AJ meeting McBee at 9:30.
Indian Land coach Mike Mayer said the Warriors are hoping to build momentum with the game with LHS.
“We didn’t play well in the Fort Mill jamboree last week, but we came back and had a good scrimmage with Great Falls on Tuesday,” Mayer said. “We forced four to six turnovers and had only two turnovers.
“I thought we bounced back well from the Fort Mill jamboree (a 16-7 loss to Harding),” Mayer said. “I thought we played physical and did a better job of tackling.
“The chance with Lancaster will be a good opportunity for us,” he said. “If we can play our game and limit our mistakes, we might make it interesting.”
Lancaster High coach Bennie McMurray said playing the Warriors is good preparation for the Bruins’ opener with AJ the following week at the Vols’ field.
“This is a rivalry game, much like the Andrew Jackson game,” McMurray said. “Indian Land is a quality foe with its share of talent and we will look at it as another chance to work out the kinks and jitters.”
LHS is coming off a five-way scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night when the Bruins battled Fort Mill, Central, Country Day and Providence Day.
“We saw some improvement and we’re a work in progress,” McMurray said. “We just need to develop more consistency on both sides of the football.”
Buford follows the Bruins-Warriors clash.
BHS will be breaking in a new quarterback after losing starter Tripp Wright with a broken wrist in a scrimmage at North Central High on Tuesday.
“We will use the game as a way to work in some people at quarterback,” Buford High coach Mike Wells said. “We’re going to use this game as a way to get better.
“Great Falls will be a good test,” Wells said. “It’s a chance for us to play in front of a big crowd and hopefully settle our nerves.”
Northern Guilford’s Roscoe said playing back-to-back games will be good preparation for the Nighthawks’ opener.
“We take on two teams who will give us varying looks,” Roscoe said. “It will be a test off the bat since Central is a defending state champion and a quality opponent. Fort Mill will also be a tough match-up.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Roscoe said. “This is a good football atmosphere at Andrew Jackson.”
Moore said AJ is using the jamboree as a way to prepare for the season.
“We’ve used this as a game week to be ready for the season,” Moore said. “It will give us another chance to make evaluations on our team and gain some vital game experience.”