The first S.C. Prep Football Media Poll of the season is out, and eight area teams are either ranked or are receiving votes in their respective classifications.
The area's top-ranked school to start the season is Barnwell, which checks in at No. 2 in Class AA behind unanimous No. 1 Abbeville. Those teams met last year for the state championship, with Abbeville taking the title, and they're considered to again be the two best teams in the state at that level. Fox Creek is listed among the schools also receiving votes in Class AA.
Defending Region 3-A champion Wagener-Salley is ranked third in Class A and is the only area school to receive a first-place vote. The War Eagles are behind No. 1 Lamar, which received three first-place votes, and defending state champion Green Sea Floyds, the second-ranked team which received eight first-place votes. The War Eagles aren't the only Region 3-A team in the rankings – Ridge Spring-Monetta is seventh, Blackville-Hilda is tied for ninth and Williston-Elko is also receiving votes.
Expectations are high for defending Region 5-AAA champion Strom Thurmond, and the Rebels begin the season ranked fifth in the Class AAA poll. Defending champion Chester is first with eight first-place votes, Dillon is second with three and Chapman is third with one.
Defending Region 5-AAAA champion North Augusta is ranked No. 8 in the Class AAAA poll. Defending state champion Myrtle Beach is the unanimous No. 1.
The 2019 high school football season begins Aug. 23. Eight area teams will be in action this Friday at South Aiken High School for the Aiken County Scrimmage, which begins at 7 p.m.