Coach: Tad Baucom, sixth season at Sun Valley (40-24); (133-109 overall)
2018 Record: 10-3; 5-2 in Southern Carolinas
Returning Starters: Offense, 6; Defense, 5
Inside the Huddle
The Spartans have a new identity and may start with freshman phenom Carson Black under center, although he has to beat out incumbent Jacob Bowman to win the role.
While the passing game is electric with elite 2021 receiver prospect Gavin Blackwell running precise routes, the team may rely more on the running game with Tacory Robinson and Deuce Wilson (and maybe a dose of freshman sensation Toney McFadden) running behind a big and physical line led by 2021 OT Michael Gonzalez. His big linemates should have little trouble opening holes for whoever runs it.
The defense will rotate a lot of bulk up front, including Ryan Gundersen, who returns to the team after missing most of the past two seasons with knee injuries.
Eli Carter and Ethan Lunsford lead a good linebacking core. The secondary with track star Jalen Bethune, Kolbi Andreson, Matt Norton and Jeremiah Holmes is among the elite of the county.
The Spartans are entering a new era after the graduation of four-year starter Sam Howell at quarterback, but they will move forward with an athletic and talented set of skill guys at running back, receiver and in the secondary. With so many new starters, it may take some time for Sun Valley to get a firm footing, but once they do, the Spartans should assume their usual place among Southern Carolinas contenders.
QB: Jacob Bowman/Carson Black; RB: Tacory Robinson/Deuce Wilson; H-back: Toney McFadden; WR: Gavin Blackwell; WR: Adrian Ealy/Brance Westbrooks; WR: Christian McIntosh/Rodney Ivey; TE: Mason Tinsley; OL: Jimmy Kerley; OL: Michael Gonzalez; OL: Charles Smith; OL: Aaron Brannock; and OL: Ethan Hill/Michael McCoy.
DE: Ryan Gundersen; DE: Charles Smith; DT: Jimmy Kerley; DT: Mason Thompson; LB: Ethan Lunsford/Donnie Nelson; LB: Eli Carter/Nick Harvey; LB: Robert Pendelton/Doninik Szlkchetka; CB: Kolbi Anderson; CB: Jalen Bethune; S: Matt Norton; and S: Jeremiah Holmes.
K: Jacob Bowman/Mason Tinsley; P: Jacob Bowman/Mason Tinsley; P Ret: Gavin Blackwell/Jaen Bethune; and K Ret: Jeremiah Holmes/Jalen Bethune.