Indian Land football doesn’t like the way last season ended, excited about move up to 5A

A questionable penalty late in Indian Land’s first-round playoff loss to Greer last season left a chip on the shoulders of the Warriors.

Head coach Adam Hastings said the way the season ended has been amplified as the team prepares for its first season playing 5A football.

“They kind of feel like they’ve been the afterthought of this area,” Hastings said. “People don’t think about us when they think about 5A schools. They don’t think about us being able to compete with the Rock Hill schools or the Clovers and the other schools. I don’t see us that way. Our guys went into the Greer game expecting to win, and it didn’t happen. I think it stunned people more that we lost than how we lost.”

Indian Land went 6-5 (2-3) last season, leaning heavily on senior leaders like offensive linemen Trey Rodriguez and University of South Carolina commit Jake Recker.

Now, the team has younger players in key roles on the offensive line, and it’s on veteran players like all-region left tackle Kent Hampton to get everyone on the same page.

“With the o-line, only two of us are returning starters from last year, so I’m just making sure that the new starters this year get everything down, they know all the plays and they know what they’re doing,” he said. “Because I play left tackle, my left guard was a freshman on the freshman team last year and he’s a starter on varsity this year. I’m just making sure I’m coaching him up every single chance I get. Even when we’re not practicing, I make sure we go to the field together and go over plays and the blocking schemes.”

At starting quarterback for the Warriors is rising sophomore Sequel Patterson, who takes over for Jaxon Scheidt.

Patterson flourished as a freshman in a specialist role for Indian Land last season, spending time at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive back, and kick and punt returner. He threw for 200 yards and five touchdowns and had 775 yards with eight touchdowns from scrimmage.

“One thing about Sequel that makes him really special is he is such a gifted athlete that’s so versatile in what he can do,” Hastings said. “For us to have a guy like that, who you can put at a bunch of different positions, I think it’s just what makes him so special as a player and then as a team member.”

Indian Land also lost linebacker Timir Hickman-Collins, a Florida State commit, and the defense is hoping to continue to improve from being the third best in its region a season ago.

“Nothing moves a defense more than talking to each other,” senior defensive back Devon Caldwell said. “You need to know when to pass off and when to stay on or who needs to blitz and what coverage we’re running. We can’t have mistakes and stuff like that, so I feel like communication is the biggest thing, and (Hickman-Collins) brought a lot of that, and I just hope I can fill his shoes in that.”

Indian Land opens the season at home against York on Aug. 23.