Xavier Mitchell-Brown

Cane Bay’s Xavier Mitchell-Brown takes a snap during a 7-on-7 game in June. He is one of two players back with experience at quarterback.

Cane Bay High School football coach Russell Zehr was encouraged by the Cobras’ work ethic in June and July. Perhaps they’re ready for a productive season in terms of victory celebrations.

“We had one of the better summers we’ve had as far as kids who showed up and how they worked when they got there,” Zehr said. “We had about 50 or 60 kids a day for most of the summer. They did really good with the workouts. They were upbeat and they were excited. How that translates to football, we’ll see.”

The Cobras were greeted by ideal temperatures on the opening day of high school football practice Aug. 2.

“I don’t know that it got much above 80 degrees,” Zehr said. “That’s a cool day in Charleston this time of year and we’ll take it. They were hopping around and moving around a little better than they normally do on the first day. I’m sure it will be over 90 again soon enough.”

Zehr enters his ninth season at the helm and the Cobras are coming off a 5-6 campaign in 2018, losing in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs to West Ashley.

The Cobras have fielded some quality squads over the years but never won a region championship. Zehr believes they can be in the mix this fall despite losing nearly 30 seniors, including five of their top seven rushers and nine of the top 10 tacklers.

“That’s our No. 1 goal every year,” Zehr said. “I feel like we’ve got the right kind of kids to do that but athletic ability plays such a little part in football. It’s about having a physical mentality and discipline, whether they will do the right things and work as a team. I feel like we’re as good at each position group as we’ve ever been.”

The first contact day for high school football teams is Aug. 7. Most will scrimmage for the first time on Aug. 8.

The Cobras tangle with St. John’s and Hanahan at St. John’s at 8 a.m.

“I know our guys will be happy to see something other than the flexbone,” Zehr said. “I know Hanahan has some good receivers and St. John’s beat us in Sertoma a few years ago. It will be good to see what we’ve got.”

In other scrimmages on Aug. 8, Stratford hosts Colleton County at 9:15 a.m., and Goose Creek hosts May River and Westwood at 5:30 p.m.

On Monday, Aug. 12, Cane Bay is at Colleton County (9 a.m.), Hanahan hosts Stratford (9:30 a.m.) and Goose Creek travels to Hartsville.