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Summerville quarterback Johnathan Bennett threw for 3 TDs and ran for 3 TDs in the Green Wave's 56-17 win over Stratford Friday night. File/Staff

With heavy graduation losses from a 13-1 team last fall, the Fort Dorchester football program will come back to the pack just a bit in 2018. The big question in Region 8-AAAAA is how much ground the other programs can make up on the Patriots.

Fort Dorchester will still be as talented and athletic as any team in the state, but the Patriots will be less experienced than the group that went 40-3 over the last three seasons.

“Everyone knows what we lost, and it was a lot, but we still have a pretty fair group of athletes that will compete,” Fort Dorchester head coach Steve LaPrad says. “A lot of the guys got good playing time last year because of the way our games went. Now they’re starters and they will be asked to perform at a high level. I think we’ve got a good group.”

Summerville is the team poised to take over the region with solid experience returning on both sides of the ball.

Ashley Ridge is potentially explosive offensively but will need a host of newcomers to step up defensively.

West Ashley quarterback Kenyatta Jenkins will give his Wildcats a chance to compete while Stall should continue to struggle with a lack of overall depth.

Summerville

Coach: Joe Call

Number of students: 3,012

Record last year: 9-4

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Andre Banks (left) is Summerville's top returning receiver. Leroy Burnell/Staff

What to know: As he begins his third season, Call has his most experienced team on the field … Senior quarterback Johnathan Bennett is a fourth-year starter and a Liberty University commitment … Senior Andre Banks is the top returning receiver and the offensive line has loads of experience, led by Western Kentucky commit Daylen Powell … Linebacker Cole Phillips led the team in tackles last season, and tackle Ben Mitchum is one of the top interior defensive linemen in the area.

Summerville QB commits to Liberty; Way early prep football rankings

Fort Dorchester

Coach: Steve LaPrad

Number of students: 2,280

Record last year: 13-1

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Can Fort Dorchester's De'Andrae Sabb take over for Dakereon Joyner as quarterback at Fort Dorchester? Paul Zoeller/Special to the Post and Courier

What to know: The Patriots have emerged as the Lowcountry’s top program, posting a 40-3 record over the last three seasons … Fort Dorchester has not lost to a Lowcountry team since September 2014 season … Gone is quarterback Dakereon Joyner, a two-time Lowcountry Player of the Year, as well as the top two receivers in Raquan Simmons and Justin Williams … LaPrad returns junior De'Andrae Sabb at quarterback … Sabb saw plenty of playing time as Fort Dorchester ran away early from most of their 2017 opponents …Junior running back Khalil Jenkins is an explosive player to watch offensively … Linebackers Davon Gilmore and Darryle Ware will be among the best in the area.

The waiting game: Quarterback Dakereon Joyner in unfamiliar spot at South Carolina

Ashley Ridge

Coach: Kenny Walker

Number of students: 2,283

Record last year: 7-4

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Ashley Ridge's Matt Duncan is back for his third season as starting quarterback. Paul Zoeller/Special to the Post and Courier

What to know: Junior quarterback Matt Duncan will be a third-year starter and is a top 2020 prospect … Senior Nick Cunningham returns at running back after topping 1,000 yards last season, while senior De’marr Proctor Floyd is the top returning receiver … Senior left tackle Jackson Pell anchors what should be a solid offensive front … The Swamp Foxes are less experienced overall on defense, but senior lineman Jaheim President and senior linebacker Rhett Butcher are veteran players … Placekicker Alex Lazik is one of the best in the Lowcountry.

West Ashley

Coach: Bobby Marion

Number of students: 2,060

Record last year: 5-5

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West Ashley QB Kenyatta Jenkins is one of seven starters back on offense. (Rob Gantt/ourgazette.com)

What to know: The Wildcats return seven offensive starters, including senior quarterback Kenyatta Jenkins … Jenkins is a major threat on the ground but has improved greatly as a passing threat … Top returner Dominique Kershaw is back at receiver and senior Yaphett Bienvenu returns as the top running back … The defense will be less experienced but senior linebacker Ja’Xavier Legare is a solid leader … Cane Bay transfer Darvon Darby will make an impact at linebacker as well.

Stall

Coach: Joe Bessinger

Number of students: 1,495

Record last year: 1-8

What to know: Stall was originally slated for Class AAAA, but appealed to move to AAAAA due to travel and budgetary concerns … The Warriors will be lacking depth overall but Bessinger likes his team’s competitive nature … Senior Dre Martin will be a first-year starter at quarterback and has several quality receivers to target, led by senior Tyshon Richardson … Seniors Voneil Morehead and Caelan Prioleau are returning defensive linemen, while senior Brent Hicks and sophomore Andrew Allen are returning starters at linebacker.

Region 8-AAAAA Schedules

Ashley Ridge

Aug 17 Goose Creek at Ashley Ridge

Aug. 24 Ashley Ridge at Berkeley

Aug. 31 Stratford at Ashley Ridge

Sept. 7 Ashley Ridge at Cane Bay

Sept. 14 James Island at Ashley Ridge

Sept. 21 Ashley Ridge at Wando

Sept. 28 Ashley Ridge at Summerville

Oct. 5 Ashley Ridge at West Ashley

Oct. 19 Fort Dorchester at Ashley Ridge

Oct. 26 R.B. Stall at Ashley Ridge

Fort Dorchester

Aug. 17 Fort Dorchester at Glynn Academy (GA.)

Aug. 24 Cane Bay at Fort Dorchester

Aug. 31 Viera (FL.) at Fort Dorchester

Sept. 7 Wando at Fort Dorchester

Sept. 14 Fort Dorchester at Berkeley

Sept. 21 Fort Dorchester at Goose Creek

Sept. 28 West Ashley at Fort Dorchester

Oct. 12 R.B. Stall at Fort Dorchester

Oct. 19 Fort Dorchester at Ashley Ridge

Oct. 26 Summerville at Fort Dorchester

R.B Stall

Aug. 17 Berkeley at R.B. Stall

Aug. 24 Stratford at R.B. Stall

Aug. 31 R.B. Stall at Wando

Sept. 7 R.B. Stall at James Island

Sept. 14 Goose Creek at R.B. Stall

Sept. 21 R.B. Stall at Cane Bay

Oct. 5 R.B. Stall at Summerville

Oct. 12 R.B. Stall at Fort Dorchester

Oct. 19 West Ashley at R.B. Stall

Oct. 26 R.B. Stall at Ashley Ridge

Summerville

Aug 18 Cedar Grove (GA.) at Summerville

Aug. 24 Wando at Summerville

Aug. 31 Summerville at Goose Creek

Sept. 7 Summerville at Stratford

Sept. 14 Cane Bay at Summerville

Sept. 21 Berkeley at Summerville

Sept. 28 Ashley Ridge at Summerville

Oct. 5 R.B. Stall at Summerville

Oct. 12 Summerville at West Ashley

Oct. 26 Summerville at Fort Dorchester

West Ashley

Aug 17 West Ashley at Cane Bay

Aug. 24 West Ashley at James Island

Aug. 31 Berkeley at West Ashley

Sept. 7 Goose Creek at West Ashley

Sept. 14 West Ashley at Wando

Sept. 21 Stratford at West Ashley

Sept. 28 West Ashley at Fort Dorchester

Oct. 5 Ashley Ridge at West Ashley

Oct. 12 Summerville at West Ashley

Oct. 19 West Ashley at R.B. Stall