ORANGEBURG, S.C.- Ready or not, South Aiken and Aiken, here comes Woodrow Dantzler.
During the next two Fridays, Dantzler, maybe the best prep quarterback in the Palmetto State, will be play at Aiken's Hagood Stadium. Tonight, his Orangeburg-Wilkinson team, the defending Region 3-AAAA champion, tangles with South Aiken (1-5, 0-2 in Region 3-AAAA) at 8 p.m.
Last week, Dantzler threw for 310 yards and four scores and ran for 66 yards in leading the eighth-ranked Bruins to a 38-8 victory over North Augusta.
"Obviously, he's a good quarterback," North Augusta coach Gyles Hall said. "He did everything that we thought he could do."
By Hall's account, Dantzler only handed the ball off three times in the game. Dantzler has thrown for over 300 yards in each of Orangeburg-Wilkinson's (5-1, 2-0 in Region 3-AAAA) first two region games.
Dantzler, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, leads the state in passing yards (1,588), total offense (2,304 yards), touchdown passes (16) and punting average (43.9). He's second in completions (85) and attempts (144) and is among the state's best in rushing with 716 yards and six touchdowns on 80 carries.
"I'm just trying to do everything that I can to help this team win," Dantzler said.
The 17-year-old is extremely team oriented. He did not set any individual goals entering this season. But, tonight Dantzler could surpass some milestones. He needs 10 yards passing to go over 6,000 career yards, 84 yards rushing to go over 2,000 and 94 yards total offense to break 8,000. He has thrown for 59 touchdowns and rushed for 15 in his career.
"If we win the region again and get to the state championship game, those individual things will take care of themselves," Dantzler said. "My perfect game would be in the state championship game and the clock is at double-zero and the score is Bruins 28, the other team 7."
Bruin coach Tommy Brown, who credits Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell for a lot of his coaching philosophy, said Dantzler and Deveron Harper, who signed with Notre Dame last season, are probably the two best players he has coached in his six years at the school. Campbell gave Brown his first coaching job as the Red Devils defensive coordinator (1979-81).
"I would say he is a combination of Tommie Frazier and Charlie Ward," Brown said of Dantzler. "He can run like Frazier and throws better than Ward."
Another Lincoln County product, David Norman, is the offensive coordinator. Norman was a wide receiver and defensive back for Campbell in the late '70s and early '80s.
He installed the team's no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense in 1994 to take advantage of Dantzler's skills. By the fifth game of his sophomore season, Dantzler was starting. In his first start, he threw for over 300 yards.
"In a way, yeah, we knew he had a lot of mobility and a good arm," Norman said. "And with the no-huddle offense we thought we could take advantage of that."
Dantzler said he has not finalized his list of schools, but the likely winner of his services will be a school in the Southeast and one that allows him to play quarterback. He said he does not plan to join Harper at Notre Dame because he does not like cold weather.
As a junior, he finished third at the state track meet in the 400 hurdles with a time of 54.7 and threw the discus 145 feet in helping the Bruins capture the Class AAAA team title. He's been clocked as fast as 4.43 in the 40.
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