Due to construction last year, Daniel had to play eight of their ten games on the road. The Lions will have eight games at their new home stadium this year, leaving Pickens with just one home game in Western AAA play.
Pickens opens play at home with Pendleton Aug. 26. Last year Pickens won 24-14. The Bulldogs recovered, despite starting the season 1-4 in non conference games. Pendleton finished in a three-way tie with Chesnee and Palmetto with a 4-1 in the Skyline AA Region. Pendleton lost the tie-breaker and ended up playing Mid-Carolina on the road in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulldogs fell 14-7.
Sept. 2 the Blue Flame host Liberty. Last year Pickens beat the Red Devils 52-13. Liberty lost its first 10 games last season before ending the year with a 45-26 win over Crescent. The Red Devils have a new head coach, former Easley assistant Kyle Stewart.
Pickens then travels to Easley to face the Green Wave. Last year Pickens won 27-13 last year, denying Easley head coach Chad Smith a win over his alma mater. Easley recovered from that loss and finished the season with a 9-4 record.
Pickens then hosts Travelers Rest Sept. 16. Last year Pickens won 55-12, improving to 4-0. But the Blue Flame finished the season with four losses in the final six games before falling in the first round of the playoffs to Union County.
The Devildogs were 0-10 last season.
Pickens plays at non-conference rival Berea Sept. 23. The Blue Flame suffered their first loss last year 20-13. It was the Blue Flame’s only non-conference loss.
Berea finished the regular season 7-3 before losing in the first round of the playoffs to Fairfield Central.
Sept. 30 Pickens opens the Western AAA season at Seneca. Last year Seneca won 28-14. The Bobcats, under new Coach Wayne Green, are trying to build the program back to the level it reached during the glory days with Tom Bass coaching. Green was successful, finishing the year 7-3 with just a loss to Western AAA champions Belton-Honea Path. The Bobcats defeated Chapin in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Greenville in the second round.
Pickens then plays its final home game of the season, hosting defending Western AAA champions Belton-Honea Path Oct. 7. The Blue Flame fell to BHP 69-7 last season. The Bears recovered well from the loss of Coach Green, winning the first 12 games of the season before falling to Fairfield Central in the Upstate semi-finals last season.
Pickens’ final three games are on the road, but two are against the teams who failed to make the playoffs last season. On Oct. 14, Pickens travels to West-Oak. The Blue Flame won 35-21 at home last year. West-Oak finished the season with a 3-7 record.
The next week Pickens travels to Walhalla. The Blue Flame defeated the Razorbacks 38-21. Walhalla was 0-5 in conference play, ending the season with wins over AA Liberty and Crescent.
Pickens ends the year at longtime rivals Daniel in their new stadium. Daniel defeated Pickens 14-7 last year. Daniel finished the year with a 6-4 record before losing to South Pointe in the first round of the AAA playoffs.
Aug. 26 PENDLETON
Sept. 2 LIBERTY
Sept. 9 at Easley
Sept. 16 TRAVELERS REST
Sept. 23 at Berea
Sept. 30 at Seneca
Oct. 7 BELTON-HONEA PATH
Oct. 14 at West-Oak
Oct. 21 at Walhalla
Oct. 28 at Daniel
Note: This is the first part of a five-part series about the local high school football schedules. Join us tomorrow for Liberty.