COLUMBIA — Nearly nine months have elapsed since they last took the field in official competition and now the Bulldogs of Newberry High School are ready to kick off their 2016 campaign with an away game at Keenan High School.
The teams last met in October of last year which saw the Dogs triumph over the Raiders 28-7.
“We’re still working to get better. We’re still making mistakes,” said head coach Phil Strickland. “We’ve got a lot of kids who haven’t played a whole lot but they’re getting better.”
With only a handful of returning starters on either side of the ball, Strickland said adapting a system to new players becomes necessary.
“We have a system in place but we’re also not opposed to changing a little bit if something fits,” he said.
Working mainly out of the pro-I, Strickland said they will probably switch up offensive looks over the course of the game.
“Sometimes we’ll run tight ends, sometimes we won’t,” he said.
Tyriq Goodman will be taking over the quarterback slot this year following the graduation of three-year starter Yafari Werts.
Strickland said Goodman throws the ball well and has the legs to run when necessary.
“The biggest thing is just the experience factor,” Strickland said.
Strickland said getting a win this week is just a matter of whether his team is able to execute their game plan and that hopefully the Bulldogs’ offense is able to pick up Keenan’s stunts.
On the other side of the ball, Strickland said it’s crucial that the defense shut down the screens and jet sweeps the Raiders are known for running.
With construction ongoing at their new stadium, the Bulldogs are expected to make their home debut of Sept. 16 against Fairfield Central.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.