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If any team in Region 6-AA can unseat perennial power and champion Timberland in 2019, the odds-on favorite would be Oceanside Collegiate.

The two teams settled the title a year ago, with Timberland again taking the crown with a solid win over the upstart program at Oceanside.

“They are the standard in AA in this area so you pretty much know you have to go through Timberland,” Oceanside Collegiate head coach Chad Grier says.

Oceanside might close the gap this season and could be a more serious threat to Art Craig’s Timberland program. The rest of the league is not ready to challenge for either of the top two spots,  but Philip Simmons and Burke will be improved season.

North Charleston will likely be better overall but the Cougars have the farthest to go, winning just once in 2018.

Burke

Burke Football at Johnson Hagood Stadium (copy)

Burke coach Anthony Sterling and the Bulldogs were 5-6 last season. Paul Zoeller/Staff

COACH: Anthony Sterling

2018 RECORD: 5-6

WHAT TO KNOW: The Bulldogs improved from one win to five in Sterling’s second season and the coach feels a winning record could be possible in year three … Sterling has improved participation from 24 to 46 players and will have a host of third-year varsity players this fall … Victor Goodwin is the top returning offensive player, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards last season … Goodwin also returns at linebacker … Thomas Coaxum anchors the play along both lines of scrimmage and Zach Stallings is the projected starter at quarterback.

North Charleston

COACH: Devon Smalls

2018 RECORD: 1-8

WHAT TO KNOW: Smalls continues his effort to rebuild the program in his second season … The Cougars will fight youth and inexperience in several areas, particularly on defense … Luke Gayle returns with experience at quarterback, with his favorite target expected to be senior Jalil Yeadon … Trevon Jordan will be a key senior leader as a two-way performer … Courtland Washington is a key defender at linebacker.

Oceanside Collegiate

Chad Grier

Oceanside Collegiate and coach Chad Grier were 8-3 last season. Frankie Mansfield/Moultrie News

COACH: Chad Grier

2018 RECORD: 8-3

WHAT TO KNOW: Grier feels his 2019 team can make a deep run into the AA Lower State playoffs … The Landsharks have more depth than they’ve had in their three years as a program, not to mention very solid skill personnel … Senior Sean Cooney will be one of the area’s top quarterbacks while senior Keegan Williams is among the top running backs … Leading a good receiving corps are Malachi Oree and Walker Rhue … Myles Castain is a two-way starter along the line and senior Joey Boylston is a returner at defensive end.

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Philip Simmons

solly bess

Solly Bess (No. 11) is back for Philip Simmons this season. Frankie Mansfield/Moultrie News 

COACH: Eric Bendig

2018 RECORD: 2-8

WHAT TO KNOW: Bendig is excited about year two of the program at Philip Simmons … The coach has his first senior class and returns virtually his entire starting lineup from a year ago … Depth and team speed also appear to be better overall this fall … Senior running back Solly Bess is the top returner offensively and will be a workhorse in the running game … Anchoring the offensive line will be Keyshawn Lockwood and Carter Easley … On defense, linebacker Tyler Harper is the top returning tackler … Senior Javier Collins-Smith also returns at linebacker and senior Kiamani Denmark anchors the secondary.

Timberland

Jamaal McKinney Timberland

Lineman Jamaal McKinney (left) returns for Timberland this season. Rob Gantt/ourgazette.com

COACH: Art Craig

2018 RECORD: 9-3

WHAT TO KNOW: Craig has a quiet confidence about his 2019 squad after a productive summer in the weight room… The Wolves have won nine games in each of the last three seasons and look to get back to double figures this fall … Senior James Alston will return as the quarterback after missing most of last season to injury … Alston was the starter as a sophomore … Anchoring the running game are returners Matt Williamson and Jamari Nelson … The top performer in the trenches is Javar Jenkins while juniors Jamaal McKinney and Sam Moultrie lead the way defensively along the front … Seniors Emmanuel Moultrie and Jamal Williams anchor the secondary.

Region 5-AA

Woodland

COACH: Eddie Ford

2018 RECORD: 5-6

WHAT TO KNOW: Ford takes over at Woodland and inherits a talented cast of skill position player… Senior receiver Lavel Davis, a Virginia commitment, is one of the state’s top pass-catchers … Senior receiver Jaelyn Perry transferred from Ashley Ridge after catching 41 passes last season … Senior cornerback K’ron Ferrell, an Appalachian State commit, anchors the secondary while senior Rylan Ashe returns as a key linebacker … Junior Mark Bryant leads the run game.

Region 6-AA Schedules

Burke

Aug. 23 at Cross

Aug. 30 First Baptist

Sept. 6 Baptist Hill

Sept. 13 Barnwell

Sept. 20 at Charleston Charter

Oct. 11 Oceanside

Oct. 18 Timberland

Oct. 25 at North Charleston

Nov. 1 at Philip Simmons

North Charleston

Aug. 30 at Military Magnet

Sept. 6 at Calhoun County

Sept. 13 at St. John’s

Sept. 20 Waccamaw

Sept. 27 at Baptist Hill

Oct. 4 at Oceanside

Oct. 11 Philip Simmons

Oct. 18 Edisto

Oct. 25 Burke

Nov. 1 at Timberland

Oceanside Collegiate

Aug. 23 Baptist Hill

Aug. 30 at Savannah Christian

Sept. 6 at Socastee

Sept. 13 Gray Collegiate

Sept. 20 at St. John’s

Sept. 27 Legion Collegiate

Oct. 4 North Charleston

Oct. 11 at Burke

Oct. 18 at Philip Simmons

Oct. 25 Timberland

Philip Simmons

Aug. 23 at St. John’s

Aug. 30 Georgetown

Sept. 6 at Charleston Charter

Sept. 13 Bishop England

Sept. 20 at Hanahan

Sept. 27 at Whale Branch

Oct. 4 Timberland

Oct. 11 at North Charleston

Oct. 18 Oceanside Collegiate

Nov. 1 Burke

Timberland

Aug. 23 Stratford

Aug. 30 at Charlotte Latin

Sept. 6 Cross

Sept. 20 Bishop England

Sept. 27 at Hanahan

Oct. 4 at Philip Simmons

Oct. 18 at Burke

Oct. 25 at Oceanside

Nov. 1 North Charleston

Region 5-AA

Woodland

Aug. 23 Summerville

Aug. 30 at Lake Marion

Sept. 6 Hanahan

Sept. 13 Battery Creek

Sept. 20 at O’Burg-Wilk.

Sept. 27 at Bishop England

Oct. 4 Battery Creek

Oct. 10 at Bamberg-Ehrhardt

Oct. 25 at Barnwell

Nov. 1 Allendale-Fairfax