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2018 Airport Football Season Preview: Coach Kirk Burnett optimistic about this year’s Eagles

Team will benefit from returning starters including QB Caughman, Butch Lawrence

Cayce, SC (James Bowers) - 2017 was a lean year for the Airport Eagles. The team struggled to a 3-9 record as it tried to rebound from the loss of several 2016 starters. As disappointing as the year was, it saw skill players like QB Brandon Caughman and WR Nanders “Butch” Lawrence come of age, gaining valuable experience that they will benefit from this year.

Coach Kirk Burnett expects the Eagles to be significantly improved in 2018, thanks to the certainty at the QB position and the return of most offensive starters, including Caughman, Lawrence, WRs Zach Roberts and Dwayne Lewis, and four of five offensive linemen including Colby Key. Newcomers like RB Bruce Staley (Yes, Duce’s cousin), and wide receiver and free safety Isaiah Walker are expected to make a quick impact for AHS football. Lewis and Lawrence will also contribute on the defensive side of the ball, joining great players like linemen Hasaan Ferugson and Jim Germany on the Eagle defense. Burnett is confident that the 2018 Eagles will be much more competitive in 2018 than the previous season. “I think we’ll be much better,” the 13 year coach said in referring to the upcoming season that’s drawing closer by the day.

The Eagles’ schedule is high lighted by two games against arch-rival Brookland Cayce, who played for the AAA upper state title in 2017, a matchup with a Lower Richland team that tied for the Region 5-AAAA title last season, and Region 4-AAAA champion North Augusta. Airport will also compete in region 5-AAAA against Aiken, B-C, Midland Valley, North Augusta and South Aiken. The Eagles open up with an away game against Dreher at Memorial Stadium in downtown Columbia on August 17. Burnett notes the importance of the rivalry with the Bearcats; he himself played for the Eagles in the 1980s and the B-C program has experienced high levels of success under the leadership of Head Coach Reed Charpia in recent years. Airport will host the first Eagle-Bearcat matchup on August 24, the second will take place at Brookland Cayce’s Stadium on October 26 and serve as the season finale for both squads.

If the Eagles can stay injury free and play at a high level, they have the talent to put together a winning record and obtain a favorable playoff seed, even in a tough region like 5-4A.

For more information on Airport Football, visit the team's MaxPreps page.

2018 Airport Eagles Varsity Football Schedule

August 17-at Dreher (Memorial Stadium, Columbia)

August 24-vs Brookland Cayce (Eagle Stadium)

August 31-at Swansea (Doug Bennett Stadium, Swansea)

September 7-at Gilbert (Tomahawk Stadium, Gilbert)

September 14-vs Lower Richland (Eagle Stadium)

September 28-at Midland Valley* (Midland Valley High School,Graniteville)

October 5-vs North Augusta* (Eagle Stadium)

October 12-vs Aiken* (Eagle Stadium)

October 19-vs South Aiken* (Eagle Stadium)

October 26-at Brookland-Cayce* (Brookland-Cayce High School, West Columbia)

October 12-vs Aiken* (Eagle Stadium)

October 19-vs South Aiken* (Eagle Stadium)

October 26-at Brookland-Cayce* (Brookland-Cayce High School, West Columbia)

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