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Lancaster County high school football teams get down to business off the bat.
Rivalry games, usually scheduled for late in the season, kick off the season Friday night.
Lancaster and Andrew Jackson will tangle for the 41st time at AJ’s Volunteer Stadium. A few miles to the east, the county’s oldest grid rivalry takes center stage as Buford hosts Indian Land in the first of two regular-season meetings.
In each game, early-season bragging rights will be at stake.
“These players and coaches know each other from other activities, such as churches and recreation sports just to mention a few,” said LHS head coach Bennie McMurray, in his sixth season guiding the Bruins. “It’s early in the season and the goal of each team is to get off to a good start, but only one can, so the competition and intensity will be thick. Whoever wins will take a positive step.”
McMurray said the Vols are “quite capable.”
“They have their share of quality players and they’ve had a season under coach David Moore and his staff, so we know they will be ready to play,” McMurray said. “They play us hard and they will give an outstanding effort which we will have to match. They have some weapons in Chris White, Quad Fair, Javaris Clyburn and Quincey Grier.”
Moore said the Bruins have solid athletes.
“It’s a typical Lancaster team with good skill people,” Moore said. “They probably spread it out more than in the past and their quarterback, Shaq Williams, is a talented player on the run and with the pass.
“A key for us is to keep the ball away from their big-play people and control the ball and clock,” Moore said. “I see special teams play as a key point because in their last two jamborees, they’ve taken two back for scores.
“We can’t have breakdowns and mistakes,” Moore added.
McMurray added the Bruins must continue to improve.
“We’ve made strides and we have to be on top of our game Friday,” McMurray said. “AJ throws the ball which means our defense has to put pressure on them and the secondary has to be strong.”
Buford coach Mike Wells said the Jackets’ key focus is to stop Warriors’ ace quarterback Rondreas Truesdale.
“That will be at the top of the scouting report this season when teams play Indian Land,” Wells said. “Truesdale is one of the top players in our region and we have to find a way to slow him down.”
Wells added ball control is vital.
“We have to keep the ball away from Truesdale and limit the time he touches the football,” Wells said. “We have to be sound in our offensive execution and control the game.
“On defense, it’s vital to get people to the football and tackle well,” he said.
Indian Land coach Mike Mayer said the Warriors’ defense will play a crucial role.
“Buford likes to control the flow of the game,” Mayer said. “Our defense has to shut down their Wing-T attack, which is going to be a challenge because they have experienced lineman and running backs.
“Since we’re on the road, I think it’s important for us to try and build an early lead and control the game,” Mayer said.