A lot of questions surround the Fort Mill football program entering the 2020 football season.
With new faces joining their roster, the Jackets’ main question is who will be leading their offense that has struggled the past couple years?
This football season hasn’t been like any other, thus Fort Mill is trying to go about it the best they can.
“We are in a situation, like most are, where you are trying to cram in a lot of information and install what you can out of your playbook in a short amount of time, at the same time teaching fundamentals like blocking and tackling and sometimes it gets overwhelming for coaches,” said Fort Mill head coach Rob McNeely. “You got to understand the players are still teenagers and they struggle with being overwhelmed with stuff, but you still have to get some work done as well.”
McNeely said there has been a more sense of urgency from the coaching staff this year to make sure things are in place on a shortened season.
Fort Mill will start the season with three quarterbacks on their roster – two of which are sophomores and one of which is a junior transfer from Chicago in Kyle Neibch.
“He can rip it around the field and is eager to learn,” McNeely said. “He is a good kid and is already making friends on the team.”
Sophomores Gabe Tooper and Isaiah Haynes are the other two quarterbacks on the Jackets roster. At this point in time, McNeely said he is unsure of who the starter is going to be. Whoever it is, will need protection from their offensive line, which in recent years has struggled in giving just that.
“Our offensive line has been really big the past couple years, but inconsistent,” McNeely said. “What we are trying to teach our offensive line this year is to be consistent and get after it a little bit harder than in previous years. We are trying to get them to play faster and more physical.”
This year’s line will be led by two individuals – Nathan Brooks and Boston Brinkley. Fort Mill will also have some faces back from last year such as receivers Liam Walsh and Joshua Sturgeon, who should lead that section of the team. Fort Mill has just as many tight ends on the roster such as Miller Shouse, who should be a threat on both sides of the ball as well.
The Jackets region looks a little different this year with the removal of Rock Hill and Northwestern and the addition of Gaffney and Boiling Springs. Fort Mill still has mainstays in their region in Nation Ford and Clover, but the addition of Gaffney and Boiling Springs isn’t doing any favors for them.
Fort Mill opens the season at rival Nation Ford Friday and will play all four Region 3-5A games in the first five weeks of the season. Getting out of the gate and off to a good start will be critical for the Jackets this season as only the top two teams in the region are guaranteed a playoff spot. Despite the need for a good start, McNeely said he is only looking at the Nation Ford game and nothing else.
“To tell the truth, I know its cliché, but we just got to take each game one at a time and if I worry about stuff that is out of my control, that is all it is just a bunch of worry,” he said. “Really I’m just focused on the team we have to play up north (Nation Ford).”
2020 Fort Mill varsity football schedule
Sept. 25 at Nation Ford 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 Clover 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 Hartsville 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Boiling Springs 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 Gaffney 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 Catawba Ridge 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Lancaster 7:30 p.m.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep