John A. Carlos II (copy)

Can Baptist Hill and head coach Marion Brown win without record-setting QB Corey Fields? John A. Carlos II / Special to The Post and Courier

Despite the loss of arguably the best player in school history, the Baptist Hill Bobcats return enough experience to be considered the frontrunner in Region 4-A in 2018.

Quarterback Corey Fields has moved on to South Carolina State, leaving Baptist Hill as the holder of nearly every total offense and passing record in school history. The Bobcats of Marion Brown will build on last year’s success, with competition from St. John’s.

Military Magnet and Charleston Charter for Math and Science will battle for third-place in the four- team league. Both stand to be improved overall.

Baptist Hill

Coach: Marion Brown

Number of students: 248

Record last year: 11-2

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Baptist Hill enjoyed a run to the Class A state title game last year. Michael Pronzato/Staff

What to know: While Brown must find a suitable replacement for Fields, the Bobcats do return 15 starters overall … Heading up the offense are three returning receivers – Rashad Maxwell, Raequan Holmes and Jordan Bailey … Maxwell had 19 receiving touchdowns last season … Jayvonta Burnell returns after totaling more than 1,400 total yards as a running back/receiver … Anchoring the defense are returning linebackers William Rowe and Jamar Barron.

Fort Dorchester's Dakereon Joyner, Baptist Hill's Corey Fields are All-Lowcountry football players of the year

St. John’s

Coach: Josh Harpe

Number of students: 339

Record last year: 7-5

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St. John's coach Josh Harpe is back on the sidelines for the Islanders this year. Paul Zoeller/Special to the Post and Courier

What to know: Like Baptist Hill, the Islanders lost some key offensive production to graduation … Harpe will look to some new faces to guide the way … Tyler Durham looks to be the top candidate to start at quarterback this fall … Denzel Smiley and Tyrus Richardson will shoulder the load in the running game … Senior Tyrone Hicks, a 6-2, 230-pounder, returns as the defensive leader at linebacker … Daryl Staggers and Stephen Elmore will anchor the front.

Military Magnet

Coach: Harold Ross

Number of students: 224

Record last year: 2-9

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Military Magnet's David Holmes is back this season. (Grace Beahm Alford/Staff)

What to know: Ross feels he has a competitive starting unit this season but depth remains a concern … The coach will have a solid core of seniors in the starting lineup, several with three years of experience … Wide receivers Destyne Pugh and David Holmes will be key offensive returners … Junior Kelvin Heyward will call the shots at quarterback and fullback Kamren Green shoulders the running game … Senior Oneal Pinckney is a top returner defensively at tackle, while Edy Melgar and Antonio Champagne are returning at linebacker.

Charleston Charter

Coach: Johnathan Fay

Number of students: 277

Record last year: 1-7

What to know: Fay is the new head coach at Charleston Charter and will rely on returning quarterback Chance Sullivan to guide the offense … Junior Brandon Broughton is a versatile offensive threat as a running back and receiver … Jameail Brown, a tight end, and tackle Jayln Smalls will anchor the blocking … Brown is a leader defensively a well, racking up six sacks a year ago … Senior tackle D’shaun Mitchell and junior linebacker Jordan Allen will also lead on defense.

Region 5-A

Cross

Coach: Shaun Wright

Number of students: 209

Record last year: 7-4

What to know: Wright begins his 10th season as the head coach at Cross and will have one of his youngest teams on the field this fall … Wright will field a team mostly of underclassmen, albeit talented and athletic … Junior Deandre Brown will begin the season as the quarterback and also plays in the defensive secondary … Look for junior Dorian Pinckney to become a key running back, looking to replace all-stater Nathan Walker, now at Wofford College … Junior Trevon Walters will be a leader along both trenches.

Region 4-A Schedules

Baptist Hill

Aug. 17 Oceanside at Baptist Hill

Aug. 24 Baptist Hill at Garrett

Aug. 31 Baptist Hill at Burke

Sept. 7 Academic Magnet at Baptist Hill

Sept. 14 Cross at Baptist Hill

Sept. 21 Baptist Hill at North Charleston

Sept. 28 Baptist Hill at Green Sea Floyds

Oct. 12 Charleston Charter at Baptist Hill

Oct. 19 Military Magnet at Baptist Hill

Oct. 26 Baptist Hill at St. John's

Charleston Charter

Aug. 17 Charleston Charter at Porter-Gaud

Aug. 24 Charleston Charter at Academic Magnet

Aug. 31 Charleston Charter at Philip Simmons

Sept. 7 Branchville at Charleston Charter

Sept. 14 Burke at Charleston Charter

Sept. 28 Creek Bridge at Charleston Math and Science

Oct. 12 Charleston Charter at Baptist Hill

Oct. 19 St. John's at Charleston Charter

Oct. 26 Military Magnet at Charleston Charter

Military Magnet

Aug 17 Military Magnet at Lake Marion

Aug. 24 Military Magnet at North Charleston

Aug. 31 Military Magnet at Academic Magnet

Sept. 7 Garrett at Military Magnet

Sept. 14 Military Magnet at Scott's Branch

Sept. 21 Branchville at Military Magnet

Sept. 28 Bethune-Bowman at Military Magnet

Oct. 12 Military Magnet at St. John's

Oct. 19 Military Magnet at Baptist Hill

Oct. 26 Military Magnet at Charleston Charter

St. John's

Aug. 17 St. John's at Philip Simmons

Aug. 24 Andrew Jackson at St. John's

Aug. 31 St. John's at Garrett

Sept. 7 St. John's at North Charleston

Sept. 14 St. John's at Oceanside

Sept. 21 Waccamaw at St. John's

Sept. 28 Calvary Day (GA.) at St. John's

Oct. 12 Military Magnet at St. John's

Oct. 19 St. John's at Charleston Charter

Oct. 26 Baptist Hill at St. John's

Cross Schedule

Aug. 17 Cross at Burke

Aug. 24 Whale Branch at Cross

Aug. 31 Timberland at Cross

Sept. 7 Kingstree at Cross

Sept. 14 Cross at Baptist Hill

Sept. 21 Cross at Lake Marion

Sept. 28 Cross at C.E. Murray

Oct. 5 Branchville at Cross

Oct. 12 Bethune-Bowman at Cross

Oct. 19 Cross at Scott's Branch