RIDGELAND S.C. (WSAV) – Welcome to 15 Teams in 15 Days! This is WSAV’s annual high school football preview series where we do a deep dive on a new team for each of the first 15 days of August. This year, we will ask and answer four standard questions of each team, which are all listed below:

Why are you interesting?

Four. State. Titles. In. A. Row.

The graduating Class of 2021 at Thomas Heyward won a ring every season they were with the Rebels.

You’d think that would be some kind of South Carolina record, but it isn’t. Hammond won six SCISA state titles in a row from 2006-2011.

Thomas Heyward is well-positioned to take another step toward that record this year, but they plan to do so by not looking too far into the future.

“Our motto is win today,” said assistant coach Al Boni. “If we focus on winning Monday through Thursday, then Friday will take care of itself.



Who are your dudes?

One of Thomas Heyward’s dudes is definitely Tony O’Banner, the now-freshman that made his name as a running back for the Rebels in 2021 as an eighth-grader.

O’Banner was asked to join the team because of low numbers and ended up being a crucial piece for the Rebels, even scoring a touchdown in the state championship game.

He’ll be moving to tight end this year, while Anthony Fripp returns to hold down the running back position and Tyshon Mansell figures to lead the wide receiving corps.

Per LowCoSports, Mansell and quarterback Dietrich Shuford connected for six touchdowns in Thomas Heyward’s scrimmage victory on Saturday.



What’s up with your coach?

Nic Shuford is going into his 15th year as head coach of the Rebels with an overall record of 107-47.

His son, Dietrich, is returning at quarterback for Thomas Heyward after tearing his ACL in 2021.

However, Dietrich is far from the only one that benefits from Nic’s coaching.

“Coach Shu, he’s the best,” O’Banner said. “I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s like another father figure to me.



When’s the big game?

We talked a little bit about Thomas Heyward Academy’s game with Hilton Head Christian during our HHCA preview, so let’s choose something else, shall we?

Thomas Heyward’s Oct. 14 matchup with Beaufort Academy on the road looks interesting, partially because it comes right on the heels of that Hilton Head Christian game.

Winning two games in a row against area teams is never easy, especially since Beaufort Academy will be looking to beat the Rebels for the first time.