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In summer’s heat, thoughts turn to football season
Schedules set for all four Kershaw County squads
Austin web
NC QUARTERBACK AUSTIN BOWERS and the Knights are coming off their best season in two decades and host Camden in their season opener on Aug. 23. - photo by Tom Didato/C-I

Hopefully, this season it will stick.

In the past several years, Mother Nature’s wrath has forced high school football programs in South Carolina to shift games from their original playing dates. For what it’s worth, the 2019 schedule for football teams in Kershaw County contain no changes other than flip-flopping of most playing sites from last year’s contests for Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central.

Camden Military Academy’s schedule underwent the most changes with several new and a pair of former foes returning to the slate with the Asheville School and Heathwood Hall coming aboard to beef things up.

Before the regular season kicks off, teams will have scrimmages soon after returning to the practice field. The first day in which South Carolina High School League member schools may begin practice is Friday, Aug. 2. The first scrimmages can start Thursday, Aug 8.

Here is the listing of scrimmages for Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central:

Camden: Thursday, Aug. 8 – at River Bluff (multi-team event), 5 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 12 – at Westwood (multi-team event), will be held in morning exact time TBD

Lugoff-Elgin: Thursday, Aug. 8 – at Airport, TBD; Monday, Aug. 12 – at White Knoll TBD

North Central: Thursday, Aug. 8 – at Crestwood, 6 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 12 – at Keenan, 6 p.m.

Shrine Club Jamboree undergoes facelift: A new ruling from the SCHSL regarding the number of scrimmages and jamborees in which a team may participate has forced the Camden Shrine Club Football Jamboree to alter its format. That has led longtime regulars such as Andrew Jackson and Buford to opt out as they play in a jamboree in Lancaster County.

The 44th edition of the jamboree at Zemp Stadium in Camden is set for Friday, Aug. 16.

Tickets are $7 and will be available at the gate with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the many charitable endeavors of the Camden Shrine Club and its women’s auxiliary.

As opposed to last year in which eight teams played in four mini-games, this year will feature three contests beginning when North Central takes on Ben Lippen.

North Central is coming off its best season in 20 years after posting a final 8-4 record under second-year head coach Tyronne Drakeford. The Knights advanced to the second round of the AA state playoffs, the deepest for an NC squad since 1998. 

Ben Lippen is looking to rebound from a three-win 2018 campaign under third-year head coach James Reynolds.

In game two, Lugoff-Elgin will face Legion Collegiate Academy out of Rock Hill.

L-E is looking to put a winless 2018 campaign in the rear-view mirror in this, head coach Matt Campbell’s fifth season at the helm. The Demons, who moved into the 5A ranks last year, are just two years removed from an 8-4 season in which they advanced to the second round of the 4A state playoffs.

Legion Collegiate is a first-year school and program led by head coach Strait Herron who led South Pointe to five state championships in the past seven years and reached the 100-win total quicker than any coach in the history of the SCHSL.

Host Camden will play May River in the evening’s finale.

Brian Rimpf is in his third season at the Bulldog helm and led the team into the second round of the AAA state playoffs in last fall’s eight-win campaign. The 52-10 first round win over Seneca was the program’s first postseason victory since 2009.

May River is coached by Lugoff-Elgin graduate and former Demon defensive back Rodney Summers, who is the only head coach the Sharks out of Bluffton have ever had since May River became a school in 2016. May River won its first 12 games a season ago before losing to Dillon in the third round of the AAA Lower State playoffs.

Here are some other notes on the upcoming season:

* North Central will play a Thursday night game in game two --- week one ---when the Knights travel to meet Columbia High School on Aug. 28.

* Both Camden and Camden Military Academy will receive prime time exposure this fall. Camden High School’s home game with Richland Northeast High School on Friday, Sept. 27 at Zemp Stadium has been selected as the WACH FOX TV/Sonic Friday Night Rivals game of the week. The Oct. 25 game between Camden Military Academy and Heathwood Hall has also been selected as the WACH FOX TV/Sonic Friday Night Rivals game of the week.

Both contests will be shown live on WACH 57.2 as well as on Cable channel 1250 and the Stadium Channel. The games will also stream live online at WACH.com. WACH FOX’s own USC and NFL veteran Corey Miller will handle the play-by-play duties in the booth. He will, once again, be joined in the booth by Stacey Hough. 

* For the fourth consecutive season, Lugoff-Elgin will not have a bye until week 11. The Demons will play 10 consecutive weeks and have an open week on Friday, Oct. 26.

Here are the regular season schedules for all four Kershaw County high school football programs (Home games in bold. All games have 7:30 p.m. starts unless otherwise noted):

Camden

Aug. 23 @ North Central 

Aug. 30 Lugoff-Elgin 

Sept. 6 @ Hartsville 

Sept. 13 Fort Mill 

Sept. 20 West Florence

Sept. 27 Richland Northeast 

Oct. 4 Open

Oct. 11 @ Fairfield Central

Oct. 18 Chester

Oct. 25 @ Indian Land

Nov. 1 Keenan

Lugoff-Elgin

Aug. 23 Westwood

Aug. 30 @ Camden 

Sept. 6 @ Chapin

Sept. 13 River Bluff 

Sept. 20 @ Fort Mill 

Sept. 27 Rock Hill 

Oct. 4 @ Sumter 

Oct. 11 @ Spring Valley 

Oct. 18 Irmo

Oct. 25 Blythewood

North Central

Aug. 23 Camden 

Aug. 29 (Thurs.) @ Columbia 

Sept. 6 @ McBee 

Sept. 13 Lamar 

Sept. 20 @ Andrew Jackson 

Sept. 27 Open

Oct. 4 @ Central 

Oct. 11 Chesterfield 

Oct. 18 @ Lee Central

Oct. 25 Lewisville

Nov. 1 Buford

Camden Military Academy

Aug. 31 @ N. Ga. Falcons (6:30 p.m.) 

Sept. 6 Hickory Grove Christian (4 p.m.)

Sept. 13 @ Asheville School (7 p.m.)

Sept. 20 @ Ware Shoals

Oct. 3 (Thurs.) Great Falls (4 p.m.)

Oct. 11 @ Trinity Academy 

Oct. 19 Carolina Gladiators (2:30 p.m.)

Oct. 25 @ Heathwood Hall