The Doctor is no longer in

  • Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Like most local football teams, Ashley Ridge opened practice Friday. ROGER LEE/JOURNAL SCENE

This summer the Swamp Fox football team faces a few challenges, including one it has never faced before.
Ashley Ridge opened practice for its 2013 campaign Friday and for the first time in school history the team has to replace its leading rusher from the season before. Otis Neals was the team’s leading rusher during the Swamp Foxes’ debut season and returned for his senior season in the summer of 2009. Romelo Doctor became the featured back that year and he returned as the Swamp Foxes’ leading rusher in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before graduating.
Adding to the challenge is that Ashley Ridge also lost its second leading rusher, top two receivers and starting quarterback from last year.
Seniors accounted for all but 408 yards of Ashley Ridge’s 3,979 total yards from scrimmage last season and for all but two of the team’s 33 touchdowns.
However, the Swamp Foxes do have some promising skill-position players returning.
Coaches are hoping rising senior Sean White will help fill the void. Last season he had 21 carries and averaged 3.5 yards per carry. He also had 12 completions for 111 yards.
Donavon Thompson is also looking to contribute more his senior year. As a junior he was the team’s third-leading receiver with nine catches for 163 yards. Rising juniors Matt Linton and DeShaun Santiago also bring varsity experience to the receiver position.
Earlier this summer three players emerged as the frontrunners in the competition for the team’s starting quarterback position. Rising juniors David Turner and Chandler Avenel return to the team after serving in back up roles last year and rising sophomore Stephen Duncan also impressed coaches during summer passing activities.
The Swamp Foxes also have some holes to fill on defense, but the holes on that side of the ball aren’t as glaring.
All-region safety Kendall Felder returns for his senior season and is looking to help Ashley Ridge improve on the 4-8 mark it had last season after losing to Gaffney in the opening round of the playoffs. Other players returning with varsity experience include defensive backs Trequan Jenkins and Chris Jones, linebackers Stephan Gilliam, Daman Smalls, Tyler Moore and Dylan Mariucci and linemen Kadarius Anderson and Josh Spigner.
Ashley Ridge opens its season Aug. 30 by hosting Goose Creek.
Prior to that, the Swamp Foxes will host scrimmages against White Knoll at 9 a.m. Aug. 10 and against Bamberg Erhardt at 6 p.m. Aug. 13. The team will also travel for a scrimmage at Colleton County at noon Aug. 17 and face Woodland Aug. 23 as part of the Sertoma Classic at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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