Change is on the menu for the Spring Valley Vikings in 2022. There’s a change at the quarterback position. There’s change in the offensive scheme, and there is change in Region 3-5A.
The changes will occur for Spring Valley following a bounce back year in 2021. A year after winning three games in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign, the Vikings won seven games and fell to Spartanburg by eight points in quarterback DQ Smith’s final voyage.
Smith has set sail for bigger waters at the University of South Carolina, but the Vikings still have battles to win in 5A.
Head coach Robin Bacon now turns to either Keshaun Osby, a former wide receiver, or Aiden Jones, who started at quarterback for the Spring Valley JV last year, to steer the ship. Bacon said the competition will last until late in the summer. Osby has the edge in experience. He’s versatile and played the position as a freshman. They will also run a different offense than what the Vikings have in recent years. Bacon announced in the offseason he is changing to a run-option style to use the team’s strengths, offensive line and running back.
The linemen anchoring the offensive line include Derrick Thompson, Alan Hartwell, and Hayden Cunningham.
Kenneth Jefferson, who led Spring Valley with 492 rushing yards last year, and Evan Javis will be the two-headed monster at running back.
Bacon was concerned with the wide receivers going into spring practice. That feeling has changed. Bacon believes he may have the fastest, most athletic group since he became the head coach at Spring Valley. That group includes Tyler Wilson, Kendall Williams, Nigel Ancrum, and Kai Inge.
Alex China and Charles Adams return on the defensive line. Jordan Chestnut and Zion Fuller provide experience in the secondary. Ja’Kendrick Davis leads the linebacking corps. Taylor Santos, Jalen Leach, and Devin Crumpton will also have an impact on the defense.
As the summer progresses, Bacon wants to identify who will be the next in a storied lineage of kickers and punters.
The final change comes in the Vikings’ region. Northwestern and Ridge View have moved down to 4A. Nation Ford, Fort Mill, and Clover are the newcomers. While that might lead to some long bus rides on Friday night, it might also signal an even more competitive region title race.
Spring Valley has also not pulled any punches in the non-region with games against Westwood, White Knoll, Chapin, Ridge View, and Richland Northeast.
For all that Bacon has accomplished in his seven years at Spring Valley, one goal that still remains is winning a region title. Four times the Vikings have finished in second; granted some of those years Spring Valley was competing against Dutch Fork. The 2022 season may be as good an opportunity for the Vikings to win a region title as any in the Baconera. Some things still have to come together. The offense has to get acclimated to a new system. A new quarterback has to be identified and must mesh well with his teammates, and a field goal kicker must be found.
There is plenty of talent on the team to get the job done, and Spring Valley is in as wide open a region as it has been in quite some time.