Easley High will be trying to keep its momentum going. Pickens will be trying to create some of its own.
The two rivals will play at Pickens at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the 2012 season opener for both teams.
Easley is coming off back-to-back seasons in which it won at least nine games and advanced to the Class AAAA Division II playoffs.
Chad Smith, in his third season as the Green Wave’s coach, said one advantage is the players’ familiarity with his system.
“Our kids know what we do, and that’s one thing that I believe makes it a successful system — having something to hang your hat on,” Smith said.
Replacing the 2011 team’s overall MVP, running back Braundan Addison, and the offensive skill MVP, quarterback Zach Lappin, will be key challenges for the Green Wave.
Veterans are ready to make sure the team doesn’t miss a beat.
“Kevin Bryant is looking like the leader in the quarterback position. He’s a 6-1, 230-pound kid with a really good arm, and he runs our offense really well,” Smith said. “He’s what we look for in our double-wing offense.”
Easley also has nonregion games against Daniel and at Seneca before entering Region 1-AAAA play.
Pickens, which dropped a 54-20 decision at Easley last year, finished with a record of 3-8.
“Our goal is always the same coming into the year,” Blue Flame coach Chad Seaborn said. “We want to get better on the field, in the classroom, with our families and in our communities.”
Pickens also will have nonregion games at Pendleton and Liberty before beginning play in its new league, the Peach Blossom AAA Region.
The Blue Flame will do so with a number of inexperienced players.
“We saw a lot of new faces in the spring and during summer workouts,” Seaborn said. “Overall, we have a young team, but we have been encouraged by their work ethic and attitude.”