GAFFNEY, S.C. -- While kickoff for the first season of football at Limestone College is still more than a year away, major news continues to be generated by the program with the announcement of a four-year schedule agreement with the South Atlantic Conference from 2015-18. With that accord, the Saints are now guaranteed at least eight in-region games beginning with their second season of play.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our football program, Limestone College and Cherokee County community" said Mike Cerino, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics. "To have the opportunity to play an entire league schedule against the SAC in only our second year is something that we are very excited about and we think our fans will be, too. To see that level of competition on a weekly basis is just going to make us better that much quicker."

Currently the South Atlantic Conference fields eight teams in football, including Lenoir-Rhyne, Carson-Newman, Mars Hill, Wingate, Newberry, Catawba, Brevard and Tusculum.

"We are pleased to have reached a scheduling agreement with Limestone College for these four years," SAC commissioner Patrick Britz said. "SAC teams struggle to find in-region, non-conference opponents and this guarantees them at least one every year."

The scheduling agreement assures the Saints of playing all eight member schools each year on an alternating home-and-away basis while still leaving the opportunity for several additional games. As such, the 2015 and 2016 schedules have been approved by the SAC's athletic directors.

In 2015, Limestone's first game of the scheduling agreement will be on Sept. 19 at Mars Hill and will be followed a week later at home against Lenoir-Rhyne and then on the road at Wingate on Oct. 3. The Saints will then play host to Catawba (Oct. 10) and travel to Brevard (Oct. 17) before playing host to a pair of home games against Tusculum (Oct. 24) and Carson-Newman (Oct. 31). They will close out the SAC portion of that season at Newberry on Nov. 7.

In 2016, the Saints are slated to play host to Mars Hill (Sept. 17), travel to Lenoir-Rhyne (Sept. 24), play host to Wingate (Oct. 1) and head to Catawba (Oct. 8) during the first four games of the SAC schedule. From there they will play host to Brevard (Oct. 15), hit the road for a pair of contests at Tusculum (Oct. 22) and Carson-Newman (Oct. 29) and close out the SAC slate at home against Newberry on Nov. 5. Nov. 14 will serve as an open week in 2015 and Nov. 12 in '16.

"The similarities in academic integrity and athletic excellence between Limestone College and the SAC schools is a perfect fit," Limestone head coach Bobby James said. "The level of play in the SAC is extremely challenging week-to-week and we are happy to have a scheduling alliance with them."

Limestone football was officially announced as the program's 25th sport on Oct. 31, 2012, and will kick off the first season of play on Sept. 6, 2014, when it plays host to SAC member Wingate.