Nation Ford running back Eli Whitner battles through a group of teammates during a recent practice.

The potential was there last year, and it’s still there.

For the Nation Ford Falcons, this season hopes to be one that will make up for what happened last year due to a coronavirus shortened season.

Nation Ford only played five games last year going 3-2, but showed a lot of potential in those games. This year’s team has that same potential. Falcons’ head coach Michael Allen is hopeful they will be able to show it.

“We had a great off season and we got multiple returners on offense and some second level returners on defense,” Allen said.

The big key this season for Nation Ford is the play of Division I quarterback prospect Carson Black. Only a junior, Black is being looked at by several schools including the University of South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Cincinnati. In just five games last year, Black had a quarterback rating of 115.8 and threw for more than 1,700 yards for 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

“He is constantly working,” Allen said. “He isn’t staying the same. He works hard in the weight room. He works hard in the film room. He is improving daily.”

Black will have multiple targets to look at including another Division I prospect in Jerrick Foster, as well as Quadier Hand, Kenan Bowman and Brooks Johnson, just to name a few. The Nation Ford running game could also be something to contend with as Eli Whitner has looked good in the early going to go with Will Alvarado, who comes over to the Falcons’ program from Fort Mill, where he was a key cog in their offensive system last year.

“We have got plenty of weapons,” Allen said. “We have got to stay heathy just like anyone else.”

One little mentioned aspect of the Falcons’ offense this year for Nation Ford is their kicking game with Reed Richardson, Evan Mitchell and Evan Cox.

“Our kicking game should be at a very high level,” Allen said.

Defensively, the Falcons should have key components in linemen such as Callan Sobas, Jackson Sims and Clayton Rygol to go with others. They are also pretty big on the offensive and defensive line, which will help the offense work seamlessly. Both Sims and Rygol return as the leading the defense last year in tackles in the shorten season.

“Our philosophy on defense is to disrupt and have fun,” Allen said.

Nation Ford is scheduled to open the season Friday at Indian Land. Despite their best laid plans, COVID-19 has the chance to wreck the football schedule like last year for most teams. Nation Ford is no exception. Allen said its something they can’t hide from.

“You can’t run and hide from it,” he said. “You just have to carry on day-to-day and do what you can to take care of your team and your staff. You can’t be oblivious to it.”

Nation Ford Football       (all games start at 7:30 p.m.)

Aug. 20                 at Indian Land

Aug. 27                 vs. Catawba Ridge

Sept. 3                  vs. River Bluff

Sept. 10                at Northwestern

Sept. 17                vs. George Washington (Va.)

Sept. 24                Bye

Oct. 1                    at Fort Mill

Oct. 8                    vs. Boiling Springs (Homecoming)

Oct. 15                  at Gaffney

Oct. 22                  vs. Aiken

Oct. 29                  vs. Clover

Mac Banks:, @fortprep