Patriots face Terrors Friday night

Ronald Williams, shown here taking on a Woodland defender during the Dorchester County Showdown, is one of the offensive linemen Fort Dorchester will be counting on Friday night.

Fort Dorchester’s first opponent of the 2019 football season should provide a good test for a Patriots’ team with high expectations.

Fort Dorchester opens its season at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 by hosting Glynn Academy, a Class AAAAAA team from Brunswick, Georgia.

“They are primarily a running team offensively,” Patriots coach Steve LaPrad said. “They have strong football tradition and win their region probably 90 percent of the time and Georgia has good high school football. They are well coached and a big-time program.”

The Red Terrors have won Georgia’s Region 2-AAAAAA the past three seasons. Like Fort Dorchester, Glynn Academy prides itself on sculpting high school athletes into college-caliber players. It is also not uncommon for the Terrors to be in state-championship conversations. The last time the team advanced to a state title game was in 2015, the same year Fort Dorchester won the South Carolina 4A, Division 1 state title.

This is the second straight year Fort Dorchester has opened its season against Glynn Academy. Last year, the Patriots earned a 37-21 victory in Georgia. Later in the season the South Carolina High School League made Fort Dorchester forfeit the victory due to an eligibility infraction that Fort Dorchester self-reported.

Fort Dorchester showed a balanced offense on the field that evening, rushing for 188 yards and three touchdowns and passing for 142 yards and two TDs without any interceptions. Fort quarterback De’Andrae Sabb, then in his first start for the Patrioits’ varsity, completed 9 of 18 pass attempts for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards and two more scores. Running back Kalil Jenkins finished with 108 rushing yards on 17 carries and made two receptions for 21 yards.

Both of those offensive standouts return this season and the Patriots’ defense returned all but two starters from last season. However, as far as LaPrad is concerned, last year’s performance is just going to fire up the Terrors.

“No one wants to get beat by the same team two years in a row and last year we won a barn-burner on their field so we are expecting their absolute best this year,” LaPrad said. “Last year we got up on them early and that helped us a lot. We are expecting a really tough rematch.”

The Patriots are disappointed with the 9-3 record they finished the season with last year. They are on a mission to retake their region crown and make a deeper playoff run this season.

Two strong programs with a lot of tradition, both out to prove something, what more can fans ask for in a season opener?

LaPrad is hoping taking on teams from out of state will help his team accomplish its goals.

“You know if you want to improve it doesn’t help you to practice or play against the weaker teams,” he said. “You have to take on the good teams and Glynn Academy will be one of the better teams we will play. I don’t think anyone plays a tougher schedule than us. We choose to do that because it gets us ready for the playoffs.”

In a couple of weeks, the Patriots will travel into the middle of Florida to face Viera High School Sept. 6.