There's an old cliché about the early part of football season and it's always thrown around the first week of practice.
Everybody looks like an all-American in helmets and shoulder pads.
On Friday, the first real live action against another opponent will begin to separate 'the boys from the men,' most coaches like to say.
Teams were able to don full pads on Wednesday after four acclimation days.
Goose Creek, Stratford and Hanahan will take part in their first preseason scrimmages on Friday, while Cane Bay's first scrimmage is on Saturday.
“(The players) are going hard,” first-year Stratford coach Joe Marion said. “They're giving us all they've got.”
The Knights travel to Colleton County on Friday at 9 a.m. for a matchup with the Cougars, who were much improved last fall under first-year coach Chris Collins.
Stratford is replacing Mr. Football Jacob Park and other standouts from last season's team that advanced to the state championship game.
Jamison Mobbs is the heir apparent at quarterback. He's waited his turn behind a Div. I player. Park is now at UGA.
They have similar attributes, height and arm strength, but Marion didn't think Mobbs was feeling any pressure by replacing Park.
“He's always been calm,” Marion said. “He's even-keeled. He's going to be Jamison. He's not trying to be Jacob. The pressure might get to most people but I think Jamison will be to handle it. He's a mature kid.”
The Knights have similar situations on each side of the ball. Several players have patiently waited their turns behind next-level talent.
The Knights also have preseason scrimmages set for Aug. 12 against Conway and Aug. 19 against Conway.
Both of those will be at Stratford beginning at 6 p.m.
Stratford concludes the preseason in Sertoma on Aug. 21 before traveling to Berkeley on Aug. 29 for the first regular season game.
Goose Creek will host a scrimmage against fellow Class AAAA power North Augusta on Friday at 10:30 a.m.
The Gators will also be breaking in a new quarterback this season in Pedro Manigault. Manigault transferred from West Ashley after leading the Wildcats last season.
He is replacing Dantez Bennamon, who ran the option to perfection. He accounted for nearly 2,300 yards of offense and 16 touchdowns last fall. Also a basketball standout, Bennamon will play hoops in college.
The other Goose Creek preseason scrimmages are Aug. 12 against Greenwood at River Bluff at 6 p.m. and Hanahan on Aug. 15.
The Gators will host the Hawks in a practice-type setting but a time has not been determined.
Goose Creek will play in Sertoma on Aug. 21 before opening the season Aug. 30 in Centreville, Ohio against Pickerington Central. The game is part of the inaugural Backyard Blitz.
Hanahan is set to host West Ashley at 10 a.m. on Friday. The Hawks are on accelerated preparation schedule since they begin the regular season on Aug. 22.
The Hawks are coming off a pair of 11-win seasons but have to replace a quarterback and the core group on defense.
Hanahan hosts Brookland-Cayce at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
Hawks coach Charlie Patterson said he likes going over to Goose Creek for some reps against the Gators on Aug. 15.
“We feel like we've gotten a lot out of that the last few years,” he said.
Cane Bay travels to Timberland for a 10 a.m. scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 9.
The Cobras then travel to Blythewood on Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. A number of other teams will be there too. Their final preseason scrimmage before Sertoma is Friday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. against Bishop England. The Cobras are looking to bounce back from a winless season. CBHS coach Russell Zehr is optimistic.
“I think we've got the components to be successful,” he said. “It depends on how hard everybody is willing to work. If they decide to do the things they're supposed to do they can win some ballgames. But everybody on our schedule is tough. We've got a chance to be 11-0 or 0-11, or somewhere in between.”
Cane Bay is slated to begin the regular season on Aug. 22 at home against Colleton County.
The Cobras moved leading receiver Devin Dingle into the quarterback spot and are looking into running more option.
On the other side of the ball, the Cobras bring back all three linebackers to help anchor the defense.