Swamp Foxes preparing for new campaign

Ashley Ridge running back Troy Grant attempts to elude defensive back Jacob Berry during practice Friday.

With a new season on the horizon, the Swamp Fox Football team is focusing on physicality and consistency.

Like most public high schools across the state, Ashley Ridge opened football practice Aug. 2. The team’s 2019 season begins Aug. 23 so the work the Swamp Foxes put in between now and then will be crucial to what type of success it will have during the new campaign.

“This is an important time for us,” Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We have to sort of knock the rust off and develop a feel for game-like situations. Over the next several days we will also learn who some of the young guys are who we will be able to count on to help us out.”

The Swamp Foxes had an explosive team last season but weren’t always able to capitalize on that. Ashley Ridge finished the season with a 5-6 record after being eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs.

Walker is looking for this year’s team to be stronger and wiser.

“It is key for us to maintain our physicality,” he said. “I thought we were a more physical team last year than we had been but it is something we can still build on. We are also placing a lot of focus on discipline and consistency across the board. Last year we averaged more than 10 penalties per game so we need to clean that up. Most of our penalties came from mental mistakes so we are working on limiting those.”

Ashley Ridge has some holes to fill, but it once again has several talented athletes.

Quarterback Matt Duncan returns to lead the Swamp Fox offense after completing 150 passes for more than 2,300 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. Fellow rising senior Josh Sharo is a versatile athlete coaches are looking to get more involved in both the Swamp Fox rushing and passing attacks.

Linemen Kamyrn Petrick and Anthony Jackson return to provide leadership on the offensive and defensive fronts.

Linebacker Delray Ford returns with a lot of varsity experience on the second level of the defense and defensive backs Latrelle Jefferson-York and Jerren Strickland will be looked to for leadership on the third level.

In addition to daily practice, Ashley Ridge has two scrimmages scheduled prior to opening night. The Swamp Foxes will travel to Spring Valley Aug. 8 and to South Florence Aug. 12. Ashley Ridge will also participate in the Dorchester County Showdown jamboree the evening of Aug. 16.

The Swamp Foxes are scheduled to open their 2019 season at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at Goose Creek.