Before the South Carolina High School League released it reclassification for the 2020-21 and '21-22 school years, Manning High School athletic director Reggie Kennedy knew changes were coming.
"I was told we were going back into the Pee Dee …
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"I was told we were going back into the Pee Dee area, but I thought we'd go into that old Lake City region," Kennedy said. "I thought it would be with Dillon and Marion."
Well, Manning is in the "new" Lake City region - VI-3A. Along with Manning and Lake City are Sumter School District schools Lakewood and Crestwood, Camden and Marlboro County.
While the new region is a bit odd in its geographical layout, Kennedy is happy with it.
"We're kind of all in a no man's land," he said. "We've got two teams in Sumter County in Lakewood and Crestwood, we've got Camden out of Kershaw County, Marlboro County out of Marlboro County and Lake City out of Florence County.
"I think it will be better for us financially. Lakewood and Crestwood, those are local rivalries for us right there. Camden isn't that far so I think we're in better shape than we were in the Charleston conference."
Manning's old region was Region VII-3A, which was a region filled with predominantly Charleston schools. The others were Bishop England, Hanahan from the Charleston area and Academic Magnet, and Georgetown County schools Waccamaw and Georgetown. Manning was the only school not in a coastal county.
Kennedy expects the new region to be more difficult for all of the Manning sports.
"The competition will be a lot better," he said. "Not knocking the last league we were in, but it's going to be really competitive in all sports. I think it's going to be one of the toughest regions in the lower state in 3A."
Kennedy, of course, is the Manning football head coach. He led the Monarchs to the Region VII title last year in his first season at Manning. He expects the region to be tough from top to bottom.
"Marlboro has a lot of tradition, Camden played for the upper state title in 3A (last season)," Kennedy said. "Crestwood and Lakewood are improving as is Lake City. It's going to be a good region football- wise. Any team is going to be tough on any Friday night."
Marlboro County, Lakewood and Crestwood were all 4A schools last season. Manning, Camden and Lake City remained at the 3A level.
Manning will open its region schedule with home games against Marlboro County and Camden. The Monarchs will then play at Lakewood before playing host to Crestwood. It will close the season on the road against Lake City.
Manning's non-region schedule will include road games against 1A schools Scott's Branch and C.E. Murray and home games against 4A South Florence, 1A Hemingway and 3A Marion.
OUT WITH THE OLD
Region VII-3A: Academic Magnet, Bishop England, Georgetown, Hanahan, Waccamaw
IN WITH THE NEW
Region VI-3A: Camden, Crestwood, Lake City, Lakewood, Marlboro County
2020 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 21 at Scott’s Branch
Aug. 28 South Florence
Sept. 4 Hemingway
Sept. 11 Marion
Sept. 18 at C.E. Murray
Oct. 2 Marlboro County
Oct. 9 Camden
Oct. 16 at Crestwood
Oct. 23 Lakewood
Oct. 30 at Lake City
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