FORT MILL --
The 2012 high school football season officially kicked off Friday as teams were allowed to open practice in helmets.
Both Fort Mill and Nation Ford high school took advantage of the cooler morning hours and hit their fields early.
Nation Ford, coming off its first playoff berth in school history, finished last year 6-6. Now heading into 4A, the Falcons are looking to keep spreading their wings this season and make it back to the playoffs.
Head coach Michael Allen said the summer was good to his squad with camps and the sort and the Falcons opened practice already running plays.
I feel pretty good about where we are right now, Allen said. The kids are in great shape and are committed to what we are doing.
Allen said it will be challenging going back to 4A, but its not like they are unsure of the opponents.
Region-wise it will be tough on the surface, but its not like we havent played them before, he said. We will have to raise our level of competition.
At Fort Mill High, the Jackets are trying to get back to the playoffs as well; Its been two season since they participated in post-season play.
Fort Mill finished 4-6 last year and has around 70 players who will be on the varsity squad, their highest number since the split forming Nation Ford.
We are trying to get over that hump, said head coach Ed Susi. We are working hard.
Susi said it isnt enough to be a 4A school again. There has to be a level of success as well.
To be in 4A is great, but you got to start beating them (other schools), he said.
Nation Ford opens the season Aug. 17 vs. Forestview at home. Fort Mill will open a week later on Aug. 24 vs. Lugoff-Elgin at home. Both games will be at 7:30 p.m.
Both Fort Mill and Nation Ford will see early action as the two teams are preparing for the Battle of the Border Jamboree at Fort Mill High Aug. 11. The Jamboree starts at 5 p.m.
The event will feature eight squads, four of which are from North Carolina, playing four South Carolina teams including Fort Mill, Nation Ford and Indian Land.