How Fountain Inn is preparing for its inaugural SCHSL football season

·3 min read

FOUNTAIN INN — A little less than three weeks is all the time that separates Fountain Inn from the first snap of the program's inaugural football season.

A new coach, a young team and a first season that places the Fury in a region with perennial powerhouse Wren, state title contender Powdersville and a litany of other programs whose history is much greater than the sum of Fountain Inn's existence.

But who's counting?

"What has been really nice, because everybody likes to think of all the disadvantages of starting this way, is that I've been able to have a bunch of these guys as seventh-graders or eighth-graders and now ninth-graders," said Fountain Inn coach Brett Nichols.

Fountain Inn High School players head to the field for football practice, in Fountain Inn, Friday, July 29, 2022.
Fountain Inn High School players head to the field for football practice, in Fountain Inn, Friday, July 29, 2022.

"I've been able to spend 100 percent of my time with the youngest guys in our program. Now, we'll certainly have our hurdles and our learning curve. We've got a lot of learning to do, like I said, both physical growth and mental growth – that's gotta happen.

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"But what's been really exciting is these kids, they already know me. We're not getting to know each other ... we've already got a couple years here."

Nichols is the established captain on a ship that is setting sail on its maiden voyage: A Hillcrest alum and former walk-on at South Carolina , he plans to be the steadying force for a team that is new to all of this and a school that is too.

"I tell everybody, we're going to look a little different than most teams we're playing. But it's coming," said Nichols, who was the offensive coordinator at Gardner-Webb before returning home. "Those kids are putting in the work and we're moving in the right direction."

The Fury are young – a team full of freshmen and sophomores who will play a full varsity schedule.

Fountain Inn's Sean Smith participates in drills with his teammates, at Fountain Inn High School, Friday, July 29, 2022.
Fountain Inn's Sean Smith participates in drills with his teammates, at Fountain Inn High School, Friday, July 29, 2022.

The program will open its season Aug. 19 at home against West-Oak, a team that didn't win a game last season. The Warriors will be welcomed in to Fountain Inn's new stadium, one that is viewed easily from the glass windows in the school's state-of-the-ark weight room that overlooks the field.

The ninth graders went 1-6 last season, middle schools were 4-3. Quarterback Sean Smith will be older, although many the Fury will face likely will be two and even three years their senior.

Fountain Inn will run the power spread offense, with a 3-4 base defense.

All of that is the X's and O's of the situation. But what the Fury will do surely is grow – both physically as young men and cerebrally as football players.

Fountain Inn head football coach Brett Nichols runs  drills with his team, at Fountain Inn High School, Friday, July 29, 2022.
Fountain Inn head football coach Brett Nichols runs drills with his team, at Fountain Inn High School, Friday, July 29, 2022.

"Were in a region with some great football teams," Nicholas said. "You've got Wren, who's won a state championship the past couple years, Powdersville who went deep in the playoffs, double digit wins (last year), Palmetto, (Southside), you've got athletes everywhere in these programs.

"We understand that ... but at the same time, we understand that and respect that. (But) we can't worry about them. It's got to be how we can make ourselves better? How can we improve? (We need to) focus on that."

Fountain Inn schedule

Aug. 19 vs. West-Oak

Aug. 26 vs. Woodruff

Sept. 2 at Crescent

Sept. 9 at Carolina

Sept. 16 at Pendleton

Sept. 30 vs. Wren

Oct. 7 at Powdersville

Oct. 14 vs. Belton-Honea Path

Oct. 21 at Palmetto

Oct. 28 vs. Southside

Joe Dandron is the high school sports reporter for The Greenville News. Contact him at jdandron@greenvillenews.com and follow him on Twitter: @JoeMDandron.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: SCHSL football: How Fountain Inn is preparing for its first season