Head coach: Lee Sawyer (Third year at Strom Thurmond; sixth overall)
Classification: SCHSL Region 4-AAA
2005 record: 14-1
Four-year record (since 2002): 35-14
Last playoff appearance: 2005
Returning starters: 3 offense, 2 defense
Key Rebels: Senior LB Jonah Lanham (5-9, 170); Senior WR Jarrell Taylor (5-9, 180); Senior S/RB Keon Cunningham (6-0, 185); Senior RB/WR Jakar Hamilton (6-0, 185); Junior WR Martavious Williams (6-0, 175)
Offensive attack: The question is under center. Junior QB Aramis Hillary (6-2, 205) will be more of a pocket passer than his brother, Coco. Hamilton might be the most exciting player in the CSRA. He might be the fastest, too. He scored 20 TDs last year. The rebuilding of the line is a priority.
Defensive keys: The Rebels will employ the 3-5, with Cunningham moving to safety. His talent should cover the mistakes of a few inexperienced teammates early on. Lanham has established himself as a leader of the team. He shined after being thrust into duty in the playoffs last year.
Thin at: Offensive line and linebacker.
Big game: Vs. North Augusta, Aug. 25
Different this year: 17 new starters. Can the Rebels lose two dozen seniors off a championship team and still be a contender?
Could go bad if: All the new starters and reserves struggle on defense. Injuries to Cunningham, Hamilton or Hillary would make this team a lot easier to prepare for.
Great year if: Hillary continues the family legacy with superior quarterback play on the way to another region title. If this defense can become a capable unit, the Rebels could make some serious noise in the playoffs again.
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