Football pre-season begins Aug. 1

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dan Brown/Independent Berkeley Stags football fans will be happy with a big crooked number in the win column in 2014.

Al Davis, the late maverick owner of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, said it best when he coined the phrase, “Just win baby.”

For area football teams Berkeley, Timberland, Cross and St. John’s Christian Academy, it’s all about winning in 2014.

Berkeley

For the Berkeley Stags, Coach Jeff Cruce begins his fourth year and expectations are high throughout Stag Nation to see a big crooked number in the win column.

The Stags open against Johnsonville on Aug. 22 and look to be in the thick of Region 8AAA with rivals Hanahan, Orangeburg-Wilkinson and Beaufort for coveted home field playoff games during the first round.

Berkeley has taken to the road each of the last three seasons for the playoffs and has not advanced beyond the second round since winning a fifth state championship in 2009.

Timberland

The Timberland Wolves have finally embraced their destiny:

Beat Dillon.

Since returning to Class AA in 2008 the Wolves are 1-6 against perennial foe Dillon. Timberland’s lone victory against the Wildcats came in the 2011 Lower State Finals on their way to the 2011 Class State Championship.

“We have to schedule tougher opponents if we are to have any hope of beating Dillon,” said Coach Art Craig, whose pre-region schedule includes a two-quarter scrimmage against Stratford in the Sertoma Classic, then games against Hanahan, Cross, Bishop England, Crestwood and Berkeley.

Theirs is a schedule that should get Craig’s Wolves ready for playoff football come November.

Cross

The Cross Trojans are faced with the unenviable task of replacing a trio of former all-state running backs in Devontae Shepherd, Dionte Evans and Diamonte Evans.

While the core of the Trojans’ 2012 team won’t ever be forgotten, winning in 2014 will help make moving on and forward a much easier pill to swallow.

Coach Shaun Wright once again has scheduled one of the toughest pre-region schedules in the county, opening with defending state champion Hunter-Kinard-Tyle on Aug. 29 and then perennial rival Timberland the week following on Sept. 5.

“It’s all about getting game ready for the region,” Wright said.

St. John’s Christian

For St. John’s Christian Academy, winning this fall will help usher in the second McCall Era for the Cavaliers in younger brother John McCall.

Playing SCISA 8-Man football, the Cavs finished a disappointing 3-6 in 2013 and look forward to putting the off-year behind them.

In 2012, in former coach Bill McCall’s final season at SJCA, the Cavaliers played for the SCISA Class A state title.

As the younger McCall takes over for former coach Matt Gilbert, who coached one season on the SJCA sidelines, winning will have Cavalier fans looking forward to 2014 and beyond.

The countdown clock ticks down to 00:00 and on Friday, Aug. 1, it’s time to lace up the cleats and strap on the pads.

After a long, hot summer, fans are hungry for some football.

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