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'This is going to be team 2021': Palmer, OPS glad to be back on football field
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'This is going to be team 2021': Palmer, OPS glad to be back on football field

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The Orangeburg Prep Indians stepped onto the football field Thursday, officially beginning the 2021 football preseason.

The Indians held their first official practice Thursday, which was the first day of practice for fellow South Carolina Independent Schools Association member schools.

“It’s always a fresh start to get started back,” head coach Andy Palmer said.

Palmer is entering his sixth year as the leader of the Indian football program.

“This is going to be team 2021. We always tell our guys that you’re going to be a special group, there won’t be anybody else besides y’all here at Orangeburg Prep. Take it and run with it. You seniors, you’re on the clock now, and things will go quickly,” Palmer said.

T&D Region high school teams ready to begin practice

“We’re just excited to get football back started here. We’ve got a good group of seniors that are coming back, so we’re just excited to get them started,” Palmer said.

Many teams were affected by the pandemic during the previous season, but the Indians were able to post a winning record and make a playoff run.

“We had a pretty normal year in SCISA. Other than all the precautions and everything, we played a full season. We were 8-3 for the second year in a row and made it to the semifinals of SCISA ball,” Palmer said.

“So, we were fortunate we didn’t have to deal with starts and stops, and late starts and all that. And so, we’re just kind of excited about getting it back to as normal as possible. We had good crowds last year and everything. Just as normal as we can get it, and start fresh this year,” Palmer said.

The veteran head coach detailed what he expects to see from his team as they ready themselves for their season, which begins on Aug. 20.

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“Just a continuation of everything that we’ve done. This is year six for us at Orangeburg Prep, so we ought to be able to go out there and run just about any offensive scheme that has been a part of what we’ve done for the five previous years,” Palmer said.

Palmer said the team had a good 7-on-7 season in June and has been in the weight room this month.

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“Defensively, the same thing. We’re big on special teams, and we’ll kick off and we’ll have our special teams units starting the first couple days out there, and get those things going.

“We ought to be just ready to get out there and put it all together, and honing and getting ready. We’ve got about 22 days before we open up on the 20th of August, so we need to get things going as quickly as possible and get them into a normal-week type of thing,” Palmer said.

OPS football schedule

Aug. 20 – Orangeburg Prep at Ben Lippen

Aug. 27 – John Paul II at Orangeburg Prep*

Sept. 3 – Calhoun Academy at Orangeburg Prep

Sept. 10 – Orangeburg-Prep at Dorchester Academy

Sept. 17 – Orangeburg-Prep at Hilton Head Christian*, TBA

Sept. 24 – Andrew Jackson Academy at Orangeburg Prep

Oct. 1 – Greenwood Christian at Orangeburg Prep

Oct. 8 – Hilton Head Prep at Orangeburg Prep*

Oct. 15 – Orangeburg Prep at Beaufort Academy*

Oct. 22 – Orangeburg Prep at Northwood Academy*

Oct. 29 – Florence Christian at Orangeburg Prep

*Denotes Region game

All games begin at 7:30 unless otherwise noted.

Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-596-6530

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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