The Patriots face a familiar opponent with a new coach Friday.
Fort Dorchester hosts Carolina Forest for its 2014 home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Last season the Patriots made the trip to the Myrtle Beach area to open their season and crushed Carolina Forest 62-14. The Fort rolled for nearly 700 total yards and had three running backs have big nights.
It was the first of many disappointments for the Panthers, which finished the season at 1-10. However, Marc Morris has taken over as the head coach for Carolina Forest so things might be different for the Panthers this season.
“They look better on film,” Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. “Their new coach led one of his old teams to a state championship and Carolina Forest’s quarterback is one of the best in the state. He can run and throw so we will have to play good on defense.”
Senior QB Will Brunson, who passed for more than 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore, is one of 12 starters returning to the Panthers this season. Those returners are split down the middle between the offense and defense.
Also back are Carolina Forest receiver Victory Woods and running back Michael Culbreath. The Panthers offense is a spread, which is similar to what the team ran under its former head coach.
Last week, Carolina Forest suffered a 41-21 loss to Darlington.
The Panthers only trailed by 6 at the half, but managed only one score in the final two quarters.
The Patriots are coming off a 34-10 victory over South Florence, which was ranked fifth in the S.C. Prep Media Class AAAA Football Poll. The Fort defense didn’t surrender a touchdown until the final 20 seconds of the game.
Running back Datron James rushed for approximately 220 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Kobe Garrett rushed for nearly 100 yards and two scores.
Both players had a strong showing against Carolina Forest last year. James tallied 278 yards rushing and scored a touchdown.
The Patriots returned 15 starters this season. Everyone is back on the defensive side of the ball except two linebackers.
The Fort is strong up front on both sides of the ball so if the Panthers are going to have any success at Bagwell Stadium they will have to take care of business in the trenches.
For the Patriots, most of the pressure will likely be on the players in the secondary as the Panthers will likely try to air it out.