The football season is set to kick off Friday at Abbeville High School’s Hite Stadium with the WCTEL Classic, an annual precursor to the football season, which starts Sept. 25.
“We’re happy to get the season kicked off with the WCTEL Classic,” Abbeville football coach Jamie Nickles said. “It’s become a tradition in our area to have this event. We’re just going to get football kicked off and we’re excited.”
The event starts 6 p.m. Abbeville will face Strom Thurmond in the first matchup. Dixie will take on McCormick afterward.
Admission will be $8, but tickets will not be available for purchase at the stadium. Tickets must be purchased using the link posted on the Abbeville High website.
Hite Stadium will require masks to be worn and social distancing guidelines to be followed. Disposable masks will be sold for $1 outside the gate to enter. Seating will be available in the stands for some, but the school encourages patrons to bring folding chairs (with no bag, according to the school’s policy).
“Our focus is always on safety for the players, fans, officials and everyone involved,” Nickles said. “Our administration has worked hard to put together a good plan and I am just excited that we are able to do this.”
Greenwood, Emerald, Ninety Six and Calhoun Falls were originally scheduled to play in the event. Greenwood, Emerald and Ninety Six were removed from the jamboree because of SCHSL violations and appeals are pending. Calhoun Falls withdrew because a player tested positive for COVID-19.
Abbeville’s team will look a little different with the graduation of several skill players and many linemen. Nickles said the matchup with Strom Thurmond will allow the Panthers an opportunity to learn.
“No. 1, they’re great competition,” Nickles said. “It is a great learning lab for our young kids. My opinion is we will struggle again, offensively and defensively, because they (Strom Thurmond) are so good and well-coached. I think it is good to see that level of competition this early in the year.”