It’s probably not a good idea to put much stake in how the Laurens and Clinton football teams fare in Saturday-morning scrimmages on each campus.
Neither the Raiders or the Red Devils have experienced much contact in practices to date. The delayed season is still two weeks away.
It’s football, though, the first many in Laurens County have had a chance to see, though Laurens Academy is playing its third game at home on Friday against Clarendon Hall.
At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Chapin is paying a visit to K.C. Stadium to take on the Raiders, and at 10, the Red Devils take turns scrimmaging Blacksburg and Ninety Six at Wilder Stadium.
The matchups seem to favor the county schools.
Laurens, 9-2 last year, takes on a Chapin team that lost its final four games in 2019. The Eagles finished 4-7, 1-3 in Region 5-5, and lost to Dutch Fork, 55-10, in the first round of the playoffs.
Clinton, 4-7 and 2-3 in Region 3-A, plays both Blacksburg (6-6, 2-2 in Region 1-2A), Ninety Six (4-7,1-4 in Region 2-2A). All three lost in the first round of the playoffs last year: Clinton, 43-14 to Camden; Blacksburg, 42-6 to Saluda; and Ninety Six, 49-7 to Southside Christian.
A compelling reason to watch the Raiders’ first test against another school is the implementation of a new offense to match the skills of sophomore quarterback James Rawl Jr.. New head coach Daryl Smith was the defensive coordinator last year. LDHS used an option attack to great advantage to win Region 1-5A, but the Raiders will use what is mostly a ball-control passing attack with Rawl calling the signals. Six starters return on defense. Gone is county Player of the Year, Duane Martin, now at Louisville.
Clinton’s goal is to improve again in Corey Fountain’s second year. The Red Devils earned a playoff spot and doubled their victory total in 2019. Davis Wilson returns at quarterback, and Clinton figures to be strong at running back and in the defensive secondary.