By Thomas Grant Jr.
Losing the season-opener in front of a home audience reveling in the improvements to Cecil Woolbright Field is one set of motivations for Chapin High School.
Then there’s this week’s annual “Battle of the Bell” matchup with longtime rival Mid-Carolina.
One of the Palmetto State’s oldest rivalries, the two communities have waged battle on the gridiron non-stop since 1961. In 2012, a bell symbolizing the one which was rung on the freight team traveling past Prosperity and Chapin was added as incentive for the winning team.
Since losing that year, Chapin has continued to dominate the rivalry with the Rebels. The Eagles have won 10 straight games by an average of 19.7 points, including last year’s 45-0 shutout in Prosperity.
This week, the Eagles will look to regroup from last Friday’s 49-3 loss to fellow Lexington/Richland District Five school Irmo High School.
Early in the week, the school received approval to open at home from state inspectors as construction is not expected to be completed until January. Once the game started, Chapin only managed a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Irmo rolled the rest of the way. Gilbert transfer Jaden-Allen Hendrix rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback A.J. Brand was 14-21 passing for 220 yards and two scores and also rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown.
The victory earned the Yellow Jackets a tie with Ridge View for 10th in this week’s South Carolina High School football Class 4A rankings They play host Friday to Lancaster.
Meanwhile, visiting Mid-Carolina opened with a 42-10 home loss to Saluda. The Rebels are seeking their first winning season since 2014.
Kickoff for all games is at 7:30 p.m.
S.C. Prep Football Media Rankings
1. Greenville (11)
2. South Florence (3)
3. Northwestern (4)
4. South Pointe (2)
5. Hartsville (1)
6. James Island
8. Catawba Ridge
10. (tie) Irmo
10. (tie) Ridge View
Others receiving votes: West Florence, Indian Land, North Augusta