EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a four-part series previewing Aiken County high school football teams for the 2005 season.
Midland Valley, South Aiken, and Wardlaw Academy began the high school football season with games last weekend. On Friday, Aiken, North Augusta, Silver Bluff, Wagener-Salley and Ridge Spring-Monetta begin their seasons.
AIKEN HIGH SCHOOL
LAST SEASON: The Green Hornets posted a 12-2 record and went to the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA Division-II state playoffs.
THE OUTLOOK: After breezing through last year's regular season with only one loss, Aiken is the team to beat in 2005. A solid returning core of 20 seniors could take the Green Hornets even deeper into the postseason this year. Opposing teams will be gunning to upset the defending Region 4 AAAA champs, making every game tough for the Green Hornets.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Quarterback Brett Williamson will lead the Green Hornet offense this season. The senior saw limited action last year, but will play a key role in the team's success in 2005.
GAME TO WATCH: Rock Hill, last year's Class AAAA Division-I state champion, handed Aiken its only regular-season loss. The Green Hornets travel to Rock Hill Sept. 30 looking for revenge.
NORTH AUGUSTA HIGH SCHOOL
LAST SEASON: North Augusta missed out on the playoffs with a 2-9 record.
THE OUTLOOK: With very few starters returning, North Augusta coach Joe Long will look to several talented but untested players for leadership. The potential is there for the Yellow Jackets, but a tough Region 4 AAAA schedule will be a challenge for this young team.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Akeem Jackson might prove a versatile weapon for the North Augusta offense. At tight end, the 6-4, 220-pound senior has the speed and pass-catching ability to break down opposing defenses. He also starts at defensive end.
GAME TO WATCH: Hosting Strom Thurmond this Friday, the Yellow Jackets begin the season with a hard test. A win to open the season could go a long way in boosting the young team's confidence.
Reach Billy Byler at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 p.m. Friday - vs. Dutch Fork
7:30 p.m. Sept. 2 - at Silver Bluff
8 p.m. Sept. 9 - vs. Midland Valley
7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 - at Irmo
8 p.m. Sept. 23 - vs. Greenwood
8 p.m. Sept. 30 - at Rock Hill
7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 - at White Knoll
8 p.m. Oct. 14 - vs. Orangeburg-Wilkinson
7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 - at Lexington
8 p.m. Oct. 28 - vs. North Augusta
7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 - at South Aiken
North Augusta schedule
8 p.m. Friday - vs. Strom Thurmond
7:30 p.m. Sept. - 2 at Midland Valley
7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 - at Dutch Fork
8 p.m. Sept. 16 - vs. Lower Richland
7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 - at Spring Valley
7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 - at Irmo
8 p.m. Oct. 7 - vs. Lexington
8 p.m. Oct. 14 - vs. White Knoll
7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 - at South Aiken
8 p.m. Oct. 28 - at Aiken
8 p.m. Nov. 4 - vs. Orangeburg-Wilkinson