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Preview Aiken at ST


By Tim Crane
web posted August 21, 2015

SPORTS – Strom Thurmond football is back! The Rebels open with Aiken High this Friday night in Johnston to kick off the 2015 campaign in what has built up to be a thriller. Coming out of a preseason that showed many ups and downs, contributed to numerous starters being injured, the Rebels are mostly healed up and ready to go. 
 
Strom Thurmond is coming off a 7-5 season, losing out in the 2nd round of the playoffs to Fairfield Central and has been working hard all offseason prepping for this year.

Strom Thurmond Head Coach Antwaun Hillary enters his 2nd year at the helm of the Rebels and is excited about this year’s squad. “I’m a little more experienced.  Saw some things that worked and didn’t work in my first year. I’ve been changing things that didn’t while staying constant on the positives.  I feel good about the program and the direction we’re headed” stated Coach Hillary.   

The Hornets have been in rebuilding mode and are looking to improve on last season’s 2-8 record under 3rd year head coach Brian Neal.  “They are looking for something special to happen.  Aiken has a rich tradition and I have a lot of respect for Coach Neil and their program.  They are very close to getting things turned around but we will try our best to make sure that special something doesn’t come against us Friday night” Coach Hillary said. 

Junior Tyrece Nick earned the starting quarterback job in the offseason after spending 2014 as a wide receiver. Nick is a dual threat that throws a tight spiral and has the speed to break the big play.  He gets his first start as quarterback in the opener against the Hornets.  “We’ve told him to slow everything down and just do his job.  Don’t try to win the game all by himself.  He has to be the game manager and in control at all times. He’s proven he can handle whatever we throw at him” said Coach Hillary. 


Last Meeting:  August 22, 2014 Strom Thurmond won 17-10.
All-time series:  ST leads 9-6.

Strom Thurmond:
Last game:  Lost to Fairfield Central 34-7 on November 14, 2014.
2014 Offense:  26 ppg
2014 Defense:  17 ppg

Aiken
Last game:  Lost to Midland Valley 41-14 on October 31, 2014.
2014 Offense:  16 ppg
2014 Defense: 31 ppg

Keys to Victory:  “Offensively we must protect the ball. In our five losses last season I think we had 10 turnovers, but only one in our seven wins.  We’re better in the trenches this season, last year Aiken gave us fits upfront.  
 
Defensively we have to stop the run.  They are going to bring that triple option in here and be ready to pound the ball.  We have to get them to 3rd and long situations then make the stop.  We cannot give up the big plays. 

We have to be good on special teams, both ways.” stated Coach Hillary. 


Kickoff is 7:30 at Strom Thurmond High School.


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