Over each of the eight days leading up to the start of the 2021 high school football season, Electric City Sports will be highlighting one of the eight public school teams in Anderson County. This season is sure to be an exciting one, so make sure to follow along with our coverage. Next up is the Pendleton Bulldogs.
Head Coach: Grayson Howell
Last Season’s Record: 3-4, missed playoffs
Season Opener: 8/20 at Clinton
A sub-.500 season and missing the playoffs may not look successful on the surface, but head coach Grayson Howell said making it through last season without anybody getting sick was a success in itself. In addition, Pendleton played its best football at the end of the season, winning its last three games. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad year for the Bulldogs.
“Obviously we would have loved to have played better, but we ended on a high note,” Howell said.
One of the big reasons for the turnaround was the return of starting quarterback Kameron Jones, who missed the first half of the season with a broken hand. His return allowed his replacement, Conner Simpson, to go back to his normal position at tight end, which was big. Both return as seniors this year and are two of the team’s top offensive players.
As a whole, Howell said the team is thin in a lot of areas, which could be a challenge.
“We have less than 10 juniors in our program, and so we are either really old or we are really young in certain positions,” Howell said. “Not a whole lot in between.”
Howell expects the strengths of the team this year to be the quarterback play and the defensive front. He is hopeful that the offensive line, with a couple new starters, can develop into a strength during the season.
Key players on the Bulldogs this season include Jones, Simpson and running back Quintieon Greenlee on offense. On defense, linebacker Ethan Jackson, defensive linemen Josh Hoover and Jacob Black and cornerback Ja’Quan Dawson will be the players to watch. Greenlee also plays cornerback, so he will be a factor on both sides of the ball this season.
Howell said the goal is to finish with a winning record and make the playoffs, but he knows that’s not going to be easy with the region they play in. He calls it the “SEC West of high school football” with the likes of Daniel, Wren, Belton-Honea Path and Seneca, all of which are traditional Upstate powers. The Bulldogs need to be at their best every week to compete for a playoff spot against those teams.
“The goal is to be as well-coached as we possibly can be and to compete our tails off every Friday,” Howell said.
Pendleton kicks off the season on the road at Clinton on Aug. 20. Click here for the entire 2021 schedule.