High School Football

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Red Terrors’ Devlin

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The last few years the Glynn Academy Terrors have had successful seasons, but often ending just short of their goals in the GHSA Playoffs.

Rocky Hidalgo and his staff are hoping to continue the regular season success and make a deep playoff push. They will put their best foot forward heading into the 2021 season with a new name under center.

A season ago the Terrors were able to win a share of the region championship and are only looking to build on that success with rising Junior, Tyler Devlin at the helm of the Glynn Academy offense.

Rocky Hidalgo and his coaching staff are looking forward to seeing how exactly Tyler’s game can help propel the Terrors into a state title contender.

Devlin began his high school career at the GISA-AAA School, Frederica Academy, starting as a freshman before deciding to transfer out and attend the much larger Glynn Academy.

Devlin said “he just felt like it was the right time” when asked why he decided to transfer and has done considerably well with all of the different hats he’s had to wear since arriving last fall.

Outside of his baseball season, which he is currently in the middle of, Devlin played JV for Glynn Academy a season ago while also being the backup for the Terrors Varsity team at Quarterback.

Devlin split time with the JV and Varsity team, which had to be difficult while learning a new system but he never shied away from doing what was asked.

Devlin played both safety and wide receiver for the Terrors, while also learning a brand new playbook, further demonstrating to his teammates and coaches that no task is too big for the talented young athlete.

In just a few months, Devlin has created an outstanding reputation within his coaching staff labeling him as a ‘competitor’, as well as gaining the trust of each one of his teammates. This has earned him the opportunity to lead the Terrors out onto the field on Friday nights.

Hidalgo said “he reminds me a lot of Randon Jernigan with how he carries himself and is able to make his teammates around him better”.

Once again demonstrating Devlin’s will to win, but in the right way. Hidalgo also mentioned that while Tyler is not the most outspoken player, he is highly respected due to the fact that when he speaks his teammates listen.

With such high praise from his head coach, Tyler is hoping to make waves throughout the State with his innate leadership skills and how he demands the best from his teammates every day in practice.

In previous years under coach Hidalgo the Terrors have been known for their offensive attack through the speed option, but look for Glynn Academy to have a few new tricks up their sleeves in the upcoming season.

With an elusive man behind center like Devlin, who likes to think of himself as a Johnny Manziel-Esque’ style quarterback, it allows the play calling to be much more creative.

Fortunately for Tyler. these plays will allow him to get outside the pocket often and showcase his skills with his speed and elusive nature.

Although Devlin is a young quarterback, he has a considerable amount of experience in big games. From starting as a freshman at Frederica Academy to seeing some action late last season in the playoffs, Devlin is looking to put his best foot forward heading into his junior season.

Devlin and his coaches have already begun working on his footwork as well as taking the time to sit down and dissect some film to help slow the game down for a talented young man like Tyler.

After the Terrors finished 8-4 a season ago and lost to Langston Hughes in the second round of the Playoffs, Tyler Devlin still has a bad taste in his mouth and has his sights set on something much bigger for next season.

The Voyage Begins

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sean Pender is excited about his 2021 football team this fall. “We are a talented football team, and we as coaches are excited to see how the talent develops. We have the potential to be a very good football team this fall”.

The head Pirate does have to replace 14 starters off of an 8-4 team from 2020 that won a share of the region championship, and a state playoff game. “We do have some holes to fill this year, but we played a lot of young kids last year that will move into starter slots this fall, but I love the work ethic of this football team. This team wants to be very good, and they are putting in the work to support that statement.”

Let’s take a look at position groups:

QB: Senior Jeffery Waye and Junior Jayden Drayton are locked into a battle at the QB position.

Pender says “if the season started tomorrow both would see playing time at the position”.

Waye was the back-up QB in 2020 and his coach says he has been very impressed with how he is progressing at the position.

Drayton, who transferred over from Glynn Academy, has put on almost 10 pounds of muscle in the winter conditioning program and is learning the new system at BHS.

His coach says “This kid will be recruited as an athlete and he will wear a lot of hats for us this fall. He will play some QB, WR, DB, and he will return kicks for us”.

OL: Kanaya Charlton will move to LT this fall and Pender says “Kanaya Charlton is as good as we’ve had here and that says a lot”.

Charlton at 6’7 and 330 pounds can play anywhere he wants at the next level. Offers are pouring in.

Jaquan Gibson returns as a starter at guard. Jamal Meriweather, AJ Anderson, Eli Smith, Lester Clark, Matthew Moore, William McDonald, Chris Wineski, and Jonathan Welson will battle for playing time, but depth at the position group is great.

WR: The position is very deep in talent, Kevin Thomas and Pat Leggett are playmakers. J ’Maun Weldon, Zeb Jackson, Terry Mitchell, Na’verious Williams, TJ Smith, Trey Elvine, and Jayden Drayton will all see targets in 2021. “We are deep and talented and will cause issues in space with this group” says Pender.

DL: Kayshawn Thomas will be back for his junior season with an SEC offer from South Carolina.

Thomas will lead a group that consists of River Creel, Jordan Jimerson, Jameer Lang, Jamal Meriweather, Anthony Bautista, and Matthew Moore. Pender says “#99 Thomas can be as good as he wants to be and will be a force in the middle”

LB: Pirates must replace 4 starters from last fall, but were 7 deep at the position last year.

Staffon Stanley, Adam Mweemba, and Lionel Twiity all started games last year at the position.

A name to watch could be Gerald Quick, who has the frame to be outstanding player at the position.

DB: Pender says “We are stacked 8-9 deep at DB”.

Jayden Drayton was All-Region in 2020. Derrick Smith and Keon Leggett were big contributors last fall. Ivan Johnson returns at safety. Na’verious Williams was a starter at Glynn last fall before transferring.

Other names to watch JaShawn Wilson, Tyler Sams, and Zeb Jackson, and Gerald Quick.

Anthony Elvine returns as punter, and McClain Fineran will handle PAT/FG’s.

Finally, the “Wolfpack” also known as the RB group.

Ree Simmons and Kobe Hill have both had seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing.

Hill in 2019, and Simmons in 2020. Barring injury this duo will finish their Pirate careers with over 5000 combined rushing yards.

Pender says “These guys are leaders and hate to lose and that mentality has taken root on this football team”.

Leon Charlton returns, Taivon Gadson, and Neshiek Cohen add depth. Embarrassment of riches at this position.

Spring Practice starts on May 4th and ends with the Blue and Gold Spring game on May 20th.

2021 could be special on Altama Avenue. #AllAboutTheFamily at BHS.

The Return Of Jeff Herron

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Camden County Wildcat football program has found a new Head Football Coach and it is the man who built the program.

Bob Sphire resigned as Head Coach earlier in the month.

Sphire was coming off of a 5-6 season with the Wildcats.

In the 2020 campaign Camden suffered blowout losses to Coffee, Warner Robins and Colquitt in three consecutive games.

In the Warner Robins game, Camden was put on a running clock in the 4th quarter for the first time in the program’s history.

Sphire took Camden to 3 playoff appearances during his 4-year tenure. Those 3 playoff appearances ended up all being losses in the first round to Walton, Marietta and Parkview, respectively.

The former Camden Head Coach was 23-20 during his time at Camden, and 3-9 in the region.

Sphire went 0-8 against region foes and powerhouses Lowndes and Colquitt in his time as head coach.

And so, the page turns and enters the Camden new coach who is a familiar face, Jeff Herron.

Herron was the head coach at Camden from 2000-2012. During his tenure with the Wildcats he won 12 straight region titles and 3 state championships.

Jeff Herron comes back to the Georgia Coast after being on the Tennessee Tech staff this past year.

The legendary coach returns to Camden with a career record of 312-54.

Herron’s last head coaching job was at T.L. Hanna High School in South Carolina and in 2 years there he amassed a 25-2 record. A year before that he won his 5th state championship with Grayson in Atlanta going 14-1.

Herron was the Head Coach at Oconee High School from 1997 to 1999 and won his first state title there. He went 33-6 at Oconee. When Herron took over the Oconee program the school had won a total of 8 games in 4 years.

During Herron’s first stay in Kingsland, he had a record 154-18. At one point the Wildcats won 58 straight regular season games under Herron, which is a Georgia record.

Herron had the Wildcats ranked inside the top 25 nationally six different seasons and the Camden program was named the program of the decade in the state of Georgia in the 2000’s.

The Wildcat program is looking to become a consistent state power once again and have returned to their roots to do so.

Leaving The Pack

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Camden County Wildcat football program will be seeking a new Head Football Coach in the coming weeks.

Bob Sphire resigned as Head Coach Thursday morning.

Sphire was coming off of a 5-6 season with the Wildcats. The 2020 season was one full of ups and downs. Camden knocked off defending state champ Marietta midway through the season and also beat both Raines and Oakleaf. Raines and Oakleaf were playoff teams in Florida.

However, blowout losses to Coffee, Warner Robins and Colquitt in three consecutive games were certainly a low for the season.

In the Warner Robins game, Camden was put on a running clock in the 4th quarter for the first time in the program’s history.

Sphire took Camden to 3 playoff appearances during his 4-year tenure. Those 3 playoff appearances ended up all being losses in the first round to Walton, Marietta and Parkview, respectively.

The Camden Head Coach was 23-20 during his time at Camden, but was 3-9 in the region. Sphire’s only wins in the region were against Tift County. He was 3-1 against the Blue Devils

The Wildcats now former coach went 0-8 against region foes and powerhouses Lowndes and Colquitt in his time as head coach.

Camden seemed to play better at the end of the season, going toe to toe with Lowndes and maybe a personal foul call away from winning that game.

The Wildcats also played tough in the Parkview playoff game, erasing a huge 4th quarter deficit to eventually fall in overtime.

Camden’s wins this season came against Glynn Academy, Raines, Oak Leaf, Marietta and Tift. The Wildcats fell to Richmond Hill, Coffee, Warner Robins, Colquitt, Lowndes and Parkview.

Sphire inherited a team that was coming off of a 1-9 season when he took the job in 2017.

The Legend Of The Dirty Thirty

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It would be the epitome of understatement to say that the 2020 season for the Frederica Academy Knights was a surprising one.

Any season that ends in a trip to the state title game is a superlative one, no doubt.

Although the season was still somewhat up in the air due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the global pandemic was the least of Coach Brandon Derrick’s worries.

Defensive Coordinator Alex Mathis left the squad to join fellow FA coaching alum Geoff Cannon on the Brantley County Herons.

The already thin roster saw several contributors either opt out of the season or transfer to other schools, most notably the starting quarterback.

When the dust settled, the Knights would look to start the season with a meager 30 varsity players – “The Dirty Thirty” as they would come to be known.

And then, as the Knights approached their season opener versus longtime rival Valwood, COVID made its presence known. A positive test two weeks prior to the season opener required a 10-day shuttering of the program. After four days of game prep, the team headed to Hahira, GA to take on the Valiants.

After their first four quarters of the season, the Knights had given the first peek of what could be ahead in 2020 in the form of a 36-13 win.

Senior RB Kyle “Meatball” Perez put up 149 yards on the ground with 3 touchdowns, while freshman soon-to-be phenom RB “The River” Jordan Triplett notched 2 more touchdowns, while piling up 167 yards.

What turned out to be the tipping point of the season came in week three, when the team traveled to Chula, GA for the first time in six years to take on Tiftarea Academy.

The Panthers mounted a 4th quarter comeback and won the game 21-18, knocking the Knights to 1-2 on the young season, but more devastating was the loss of Kyle Perez. A broken leg would cost the running back most of his senior campaign.

The injury to Perez would mean an opportunity for Jordan Triplett to shine – and shine he did. The freshman back took on the weight of the starting role impressively, and the Knights wound up going 6-1 over the rest of the regular season, with the lone loss coming to Bulloch Academy, 20-16.

That loss would be avenged a month later in the first round of the playoffs, a game the Knights won 34-27.

In that game alone, Jordan Triplett carried the ball 24 times for a gaudy 278 yards and 4 touchdowns. Payback for another regular season loss came in the second round of the playoffs.

In a low-scoring affair, Frederica punched their ticket to the state championship with a 14-7 victory over Tiftarea.

Alas, the season ended where the Knights wanted it to end, it just didn’t end how they wanted it to end. The Goliath of John Milledge Academy got some payback of their own against the David of Frederica, flipping the script from 2018 and winning the trophy, 49-0.

When all was said & done, Jordan Triplett wrapped up the season with a noteworthy 1865 rushing yards on 237 carries, racking up 22 TDs on the ground and 2091 all-purpose yards.

Triplett’s opening salvo of his high school career saw him ranked as the #1 freshman running back in the nation, and the #2 back across all classes in the state of Georgia.

Post-season superlatives for #4 include selections to the GISA All State & All Region teams, Southern Sports Edition All-Area team, and an invitation to try out for the U.S. National Team.

While the freshman was making waves on the stat sheet, his 16 teammates from the Class of 2021were making their presence known as well. DEs Will Thompson and Will Counts (otherwise known as “the Wills”) combined for 94 tackles and were both named to the GISA All-State, All-Region, and All-Star teams.

Joining them on all three squads was LB Josh Meadows, who contributed significantly on both offense (his seam route was near unstoppable all season) and on special teams (blocking two punts in one game while playing without full use of one of his arms).

Senior MLB Joshua Elliott also got the nod for All-State and All-Region recognition, and three more Knights seniors were named to the All-Region squad as well; Eli Fritchman, Jaiden Rose-Scally, and Garrett Squire.

True, there are holes to be filled on the roster, but as any team coached by Brandon Derrick shows, talent follows talent, and more importantly, heart follows heart.

The 2020 Knights had plenty of both.

Committed

Coastal Georgia Area Football Early Signing Period Commits  

 

Glynn Academy

TJ Lewis-QB/Louisville

Jaiden Miller-DB/College of Charleston

 

Camden

Micah Morris-OL/Georgia

Shawn Hardy-WR/Nebraska

Hudson Tucker-DT/Tennessee Tech

 

Brunswick

Caleb Cook-OL/Georgia Southern

Kyle Rehberg-K/Rose-Hulman Insititute Of Technology

 

MCA

Khay Loyd-DB/Army

 

All Area High School Football Team

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

 

 

Offense

QB-TJ Lewis/Glynn Academy

RB-Trenton Johnson/MCA

RB-Jordan Triplett/Frederica

RB-Ree Simmons/Brunswick

WR-Deonte Cole/Camden

WR-Tyrease Jones/Brunswick

WR-Shawn Hardy/Camden

TE-Ryan Burkhart/MCA

OL-Micah Morris/Camden

OL-Caleb Cook/Brunswick

OL-Kanaya Charlton/Brunswick

OL-Nick Muchison/Glynn Academy

OL-Garrett Squire/Frederica

 

Defense

DL-Hudson Tucker/Camden

DL-Will Counts/Frederica

DL-DeTerias Glover/Camden

DL-D’Marius Clinch/Glynn Academy

LB-Jadin Jones/Camden

LB-Miles Wood/MCA

LB-Miles Smith/Glynn Academy

LB-Zane Rosenbaum/Brunswick

DB-Keith Giddens/Camden

DB-Jaden Drayton/Glynn Academy

DB-Amarion Whitfield/Brunswick

DB-DaMarion Hayes/Glynn Academy

 

Coach Of The Year-Brandon Derrick/Frederica

Pirates Voyage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Brunswick High Pirate Football team finished its season with a tough loss to Lee County in the second round of the State playoffs last week.

Brunswick finished with an 8-4 record. Head Coach Sean Pender and the Pirates won a share of the Region 2-AAAAAA crown this fall, which is something the Pirate football program has not done since 2009.

The eight-win season is something the program has not accomplished since 2010. The 2020 Pirates also won their first City Championship since 2013, and in spite of these accomplishments Sean Pender was not named the Region Coach of the year and the award went to a team and coach he defeated. 2020 strikes again. Maybe a recount should be requested.

This edition of the Pirates got off to a rocky start with a loss at Pierce County, where star running back Chukobe Hill suffered a knee injury that that kept him out of action for a month.

BHS bounced back and beat MCA in week two.

In week 3 the Pirates fumbled away a chance to beat highly thought of Benedictine deep in Cadet territory with a minute left in the contest.

After the 1-2 start the Pirates went on the road on a Thursday night and beat a good Northeast Macon team 41-12 and that began a four-game winning streak that included the “Miracle between the Bricks” 75-yard TD pass from KJ Lee to Tyrease Jones with 16 seconds left in the contest to win the City Championship.

On Halloween weekend the Pirates came up short against Richmond Hill but then won three straight before falling at Lee County last week.

The Pirates were well represented on the first team All-Region selections with the following Pirates be named to the first team:

 

OL- Caleb Cook

OL- Kanaya Charlton

DB: Amarion Whitfield

WR: Tyrease Jones

RB: Ree Simmons

LB: Zane Rosenbaum

 

Second Team Selections:

KJ Lee

Xaiver Bean

David Newbauer

Kayshawn Thomas

Kaleb Hampton

Camron Crump

Devontae Gadson

Anthony Elvine

 

Honorable Mention:

Kevin Thomas

Chukobe Hill

Quan Gibson

Keon Leggett

AJ Wilson

Kyle Rehberg

 

This Senior Class has put the program back on solid ground moving forward for the future.  Coach Pender when asked about this group of seniors got a little emotional when commenting on this group:

“These kids bought into everything we were trying to teach them. They worked hard, and there was a spirit of unity with this group that has been infectious for the younger players in the program. They have laid the foundation for a winning culture here. They were the first group I have had here for all four years, and this group will always hold a special place in my heart because the foundation they created will produce results long after they will no longer walk these halls at BHS. They leave us as champions both Region and City and it has been a while since we have said that here, and now that is the expectation moving forward with this football program”.

I have enjoyed covering this team and group of seniors, and like Coach Pender stated this group has laid the foundation for the future of BHS football.

The 2020 Brunswick High Football team will always be remembered as the “Drought Breakers” on Altama Avenue and as champions and this senior class will be champions in life, and that means more than winning football games.

Pirate Pride

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I was on the search committee four years ago that recommended the hiring of Sean Pender as the 8th Head Football Coach in the history of Brunswick High School dating back to 1968 when the football program began.

One thing that jumped out in the process was that Sean Pender came to the interview with an already developed Brunswick High Pirates Leadership Training Manual that blew away the selection committee, and the passion in which he discussed leadership ultimately landed him the BHS job.

For this story in Sean Pender’s own words is his vision for the BHS program he has built over the past four years:

“The vision of our program is clear and simple. We want to create a championship mindset. We not only want to win State Championships but we want to be champions in life. We will set an expectation of excellence. Our goals will be set high and we will formulate a plan to achieve our desired goals. All members of our team will play vital roles in our mission. We want the members of the football program to graduate with the following skills:

 

To look people in the eye when talking to them.

To speak about things that matter.

To commit to something and actually stick with it.

To work hard for goals that they set for themselves.

To become a good teammate who works with multiple changing personalities on an ongoing basis and makes all work together.

To receive coaching and then give mentorship once it is learned.

To learn how to win, how to handle a loss, and how to move forward with a positive take away (Learning opportunity, stay strong).

To understand how to deal with pressure with clarity of mind.

To learn the value of delayed gratification.

To appreciate structure and understand its value.

 

These are real skills that student athletes can take with them when they are in real situations in life.

These qualities will help them become better community members, husbands, and fathers.

Our program will not exclude students from having the opportunity to be a part of the team. All student-athletes will have the opportunity to learn.

It is our belief that good coaches give encouragement. This program will not be built strictly on motivation and hype, but rather it will be built on empowerment.

Motivation, by itself, might get us through a practice or a situation, but empowering will give us the belief that we can be something more.

Empowering our program will get everyone involved to continue the work when it becomes the grind.

We will be the type of coaches that tells all team members that they are the reason we are winners. We will provide encouragement and the opportunity for encouragement.

We will learn to fight for what we love, to belong to something bigger than self, and to work with diversity.

It is our goal to not only build championship caliber student-athletes, but to also build our team to become champions in life. So, our students can grow up to be productive adults excelling in a competitive global environment.”

The character word for this week and pretty much the season has been unity. You see a unity walk every week when the Pirates arrive at the venue they are playing in.

The kids love their coaches, and the coaches love these kids. In the context of 2020 you read, hear and see all sorts of negativity in the world.

If you want to see great things happening with young people go observe the BHS football program where young men are being developed to lead for the future.

As for the results the Brunswick High Pirates take on Lee County in the second round of the State Playoffs.

The blueprint has turned into a City and Co-Region Championship this season. The 8-3 Pirates are a very good football team; something that began with character development.

The Pender Way is the right way for Brunswick High Football. The best is still to come.

Wildcat Roar

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It was a very straining year for the Camden County Wildcats. It was a year full of ups and downs and year that saw Camden decimated with injuries.

Overall, the Wildcats finished the season with a 5-6 record.

Camden opened up at home against the Richmond Hill Wildcats. Camden struggled mightily on offensive and Richmond Hill pulled away, beating the Wildcats 28-11.

The second game of the season went a little better for Camden as they stopped the high-powered rushing attack of the Glynn Academy Red Terrors for a 31-14 win. This started a 4-game winning streak for Camden.

In that streak they beat the Raines Vikings 35-26 on the road, the defending state champion Marietta Blue Devils at Chris Gilman 24-21, and notched a road win against the Oakleaf Knights 25-12.

The tide quickly turned as the injuries continued to mount for Camden and the Wildcats would lose the next three games.

The Coffee County Trojans came to Kingsland and beat the Wildcats in convincing fashion, 37-13.

Then Camden took to the road to play the Warner Robins Demons in a game where the Wildcats were vastly out-manned and put on a running clock in the 4th quarter. Camden lost this game 43-7 and scored on the last play of the game to avoid being shutout. This was, most certainly, the low point of the season.

It did not get any easier for the Wildcats the following game as they traveled to Moultrie to take on the Colquitt County Packers, who were ranked #3 in the state at the time. Despite a valiant effort in the first half, the depleted Camden County Wildcats went down 34-13.

The losing streak ended the following week as Camden manhandled the Tift County Blue Devils 35-14 to notch their first region win and guarantee them a #3 seed at worst.

The following week Camden took to the road to Valdosta to play the Lowndes County Vikings with a #2 seed on the line.

Most did around the state did not expect this game to be close, but with the Wildcats beginning to get healthy they went toe to toe with the Vikings. Lowndes held off Camden in the end for a 28-21 victory.

This ended the regular season for the Wildcats with a 5-5 record. Camden earned their way into the playoffs and took to Atlanta to take on the Parkview Panthers, who were the #2 seed from region 4-7A.

Camden struggled again on offense for the first 3 quarters of the game and fell behind 17-0 in that span. The defense kept the Wildcats in that football making critical stop after critical stop to keep them in the football game.

Camden dominated the 4th quarter and came all the way back to force overtime 17-17.

Parkview would prevail in overtime 24-17 to end Camden’s season.

What we saw for most of the year was a team that was under-manned due to injuries and then a very good football team once the team finally started getting healthy. Evidenced by blowing out Tift, playing Lowndes tough to the end and giving Parkview all they wanted.

We will see what the 2021 season brings to Kingsland.

 

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