High School Football

Returning for shot at redemption in Andrews

Andrews will be a better football team this year than it was in 2009.

The question for the Yellow Jackets is will they be improved enough to earn a playoff berth in a region that includes Timberland, Lake City, Manning and Kingstree? Andrews went winless last season in Region VII-AA, which also includes Bishop England.

"I'm happy where we are right now as a football team," said second-year Andrews coach Steve Blanchard. "We are 100 percent better than last year. The team's dedication, focus, determination and attitude are all better. ... Now we just have to put up some W's in the regular season."

Andrews lost just five seniors off last year's 2-8 squad and returns a wealth of experience with eight starters on both offense and defense returning, including talented senior quarterback Ken Funnye to run a flexbone option offense. "He's put in a lot of work," Blanchard said. "He went to a couple camps and has focused on football this offseason."

All four starting defensive linemen and three members of the secondary return, as do two running backs, three offensive linemen and tight end Rodquel Davis. A few first-year upperclassmen have joined the team, as well as senior Loris transfer Michael Mabry, who will start as a lineman.

The Yellow Jackets won all four of their preseason scrimmages and its jamboree appearance without allowing a single touchdown.

"We've done a great job in the offseason," Blanchard said. "Those kids have put a lot of work from the end of last season to now, so the kids have dedicated themselves to getting better.

"It's taken us a year to do it but I really think we've touched on some really good things."

Parents of team members and the Andrews booster club have also shown an interest in the betterment of the program. They helped clean and pressure wash the stadium and improve field conditions.

"The field looks good," Blanchard said. "Just from a pride factor you walk in there and look at something nice and you feel better about yourself. Those are things that had to change here."