By Thomas Grant Jr.
A contentious season awaits the Gray Collegiate football team both on and off the field.
Ranked second in the preseason Class 2A S.C. Prep Football Media Poll, the War Eagles are considered top contenders to regain the state title it won two years ago. They are blessed with depth at nearly every position and have brought in newcomers like Spring Valley transfer Michael Boulware who are expected to make an immediate impact.
Then, there is the ongoing brouhaha between Gray Collegiate and its fellow Region 3-2A members. Since last spring, some region teams have opted to forfeit games against the War Eagles.
The issue, as expressed by those athletic directors, is their belief Gray Collegiate and some of its charter and private school counterparts enjoy a statewide attendance zone and can cap enrollment.
This has allowed Gray Collegiate to dominate many of the smaller schools in Class 2A. This past year, it placed third behind fellow charter school Oceanside Collegiate and Bishop England in the Carlisle Cup standings which tabulates the top athletic programs in each classification.
Gray Collegiate claimed three state titles this past year, sweeping basketball and winning in competitive cheer. The War Eagles were also state runner-up in both baseball and boys soccer for the second straight year.
Gray Collegiate appealed to the S.C. High School League this week to reinstate fines for forfeits. Principal Brian Newsome argued the forfeits cost his program $2,000 in lost ticket sales and referee costs.
He will now go to the appellate panel Wednesday to continue arguing his case. In the meantime, it appears Mid-Carolina, Fairfield Central and Newberry are most likely not playing Gray Collegiate this season which would prevent the second-place team from a home playoff game as explained by SCHSL rules.
If this happens, Gray Collegiate will only have three non-region home games during the regular season at its new home stadium. It would not be able to replace region games.
GRAY COLLEGIATE 2023 SCHEDULE
(All Games Start at 7:30 pm)
August 18 – CHRIST CHURCH
August 25 – CRESTWOOD
September 1 – at Hammond School
September 8 – CAMDEN
September 15 – at Eau Claire (TBD)
September 22 – at Mid-Carolina (TBD)
September 29 – COLUMBIA (TBD)
Oct. 6 – FAIRFIELD CENTRAL (TBD)
Oct. 13 – at Newberry (TBD)
Oct. 20 – at W.J. Keenan (TBD)