High School Football

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The More Things Change

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

New Regions…. Again!

Just when the new regions that were set prior to the 2022 season started to feel comfortable, it’s time to adjust to brand new regions beginning in the fall of 2024, and in some cases, vastly different.

In early November 2023, the GHSA released the new classifications that would take effect in July 2024.

The most notable change was eliminating the 7A classification, which would compile the 457 GHSA Member Schools into one fewer classification.

In the following few weeks, the GHSA committee would finalize the new region alignment, and the flurry began of what that looks like for the 2024 football season, especially around South Georgia.

So, who does realignment affect the most? Let’s dive into a few teams that are the most affected (good or bad) by the new look GHSA.

 

Southeast Bulloch

Arguably one of the most drastic differences will come from Brooklet as the Yellow Jackets of SEB move not only into a vastly different region, but a whole new classification. The past 2 years, SEB competed in region 3 of the 4A Classification which turned out to be one of the most difficult regions in the state with the likes of Benedictine, Wayne County, Burke County, New Hampstead, and Islands. With the step down in classification to the 3A level for 2024-2026, the new region 3-3A is also the second largest region in all classifications with ten teams. Because of the crowded region, everyone in region 3-3A will play nine Region games, and only one non-region contest. A couple old region rivalries will be renewed because of the classification for the Jackets, adding Liberty County, Calvary Day School, and Groves back as region foes.

 

Tift County

No bones about it, Tift County is heading into a bear of a region. Five of the six members in the new Region 1 of the 6A class were the entirety of region 1 of the since departed 7A in 2022-23. Tift County stays a 6A school where they have been the last few years but are essentially thrown into a full 7A region with Colquitt County, Valdosta, Camden County, Richmond Hill, and Lowndes. Those five were part of an incredibly competitive region and are historically some of the best football programs in South Georgia. Tift did face Colquitt County last year as a non-region opponent, but it didn’t go the Blue Devils’ way with a 40-2 win for the Packers.

 

Statesboro

Statesboro High will enter year two under former Georgia Southern Eagle, now Blue Devil Head Coach Matt Dobson with the same region name as they played in for the past 2 years of region 1 of 5A, but it’s a much different look than it has in the past.  Because of the reclassification, Effingham and South Effingham drop from 6A down to 5A and bring a huge addition to the depth of the region. Coffee County and Ware County that had run that region the last few years do depart (Coffee placed in Region 2 of 5A, and Ware County drops to 4A), but the addition of the two Effingham schools along with Glynn Academy, Brunswick and Evans will prove to be a huge test for SHS.

 

These are just three scenarios where the new classifications and regions impact greatly how the 2024 season plays out, but I have a sneaky suspicion that (at least for the next two athletic years) there will be a region that turns out just how the GHSA envisioned and becomes a new highly competitive region. Below are the new look regions in South Georgia:

 

1-AAAAAA (6)

Camden County

Colquitt County

Lowndes

Richmond Hill

Tift County

Valdosta

 

1-AAAAA (9)

Bradwell Institute

Brunswick

Effingham County

Evans

Glynn Academy

Greenbrier

Lakeside, Evans

South Effingham

Statesboro

 

2-AAAAA (6)

Coffee

Houston County

Lee County

Northside, Warner Robins

Thomas County Central

Veterans

 

1-AAAA (6)

Benedictine

New Hampstead

Perry

Ware County

Warner Robins

Wayne County

 

1-AAA (6)

Bainbridge

Cairo

Dougherty

Monroe

Peach County

Westover

 

2-AAA (9)

Fayette County

LaGrange

Mary Persons

Sandy Creek

Spalding

Trinity Christian

Troup County

Upson-Lee

Whitewater

 

3-AAA (10)

Beach

Calvary Day School

Groves

Islands

Jenkins

Johnson, Savannah

Liberty County

Long County

Southeast Bulloch

Windsor Forest

 

3-AA (6)

Appling County

Cook

Crisp County

Pierce County

Savannah Arts Academy*

Tattnall County

 

1-A Division I (7)

Bacon County

Berrien

Brantley County

Fitzgerald

Jeff Davis

Thomasville

Worth County

 

3-A Division I (7)

Savannah Christian

Savannah Country Day

St. Vincent’s Academy*

Swainsboro

Toombs County

Vidalia

Woodville-Tompkins*

 

2-A Division II (8)

Atkinson County*

Brooks County

Charlton County

Clinch County

Echols County*

Irwin County

Lanier County

Turner County

 

3-A Division II (12)

Bryan County

Claxton

Emanuel County Institute

Jenkins County

McIntosh County Academy

Metter

Portal

Savannah

Savannah Classical*

Savannah Early College*

Screven County

Steam Academy*

On The Other Side Of The River

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

How do you follow up history?

The Frederica Knights football team is facing a 2024 season that will be missing a huge part of their identity for the last four years; the Air Force Academy-bound Jordan Triplett.

Where does the team go without the player who was responsible for three out of every four rushing yards over the last four years?

That would be a good question for Coach Brandon Derrick. He’s faced with that task of dealing with a significant talent drain for the second time in his career under the oaks.

“We’re trying to see what we’re gonna have and what we can do this year” the 12th year head coach told me recently. “It’ll all depend on how fast our young guys step up. We’ve only got four seniors this year and only about 4 or five juniors. How quick are our kids going to grow up & get ready, that’s the big question.”

There wasn’t a lot of time for the underclassmen to get any growing up done last year. With Triplett rushing for an all-time state record-tying 3,172 yards and 41 total touchdowns, there weren’t a lot of snaps for anyone else to make a significant contribution.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any other bright spots that made the Frederica faithful wonder what’s in store.

Jaylin Baldwin is one example. When asked his future plans for the rising sophomore, Coach Derrick was understandably noncommittal.

“We’re in limbo with him, but we’re gonna use Jaylin at a lot of different areas – WR, RB, QB. We’ll use a lot of different packages with him. Try to get him the ball out in space.”

When pressed about whether or not Baldwin would see significant time at the quarterback position, Derrick had another name in mind when it comes to who might be the signal caller this season – fellow second-year player Stanton Beverly.

“Stanton might be a little ahead of everybody. There’s a few others in the mix as well.”

Another member of the Class of 2027 that is expected to make a big jump this year is WR/DB Jayden Gibson. Coach Derrick sees both Gibson and Baldwin to see significant playing time on both sides of the ball.

“Both will be playing both ways. A lot of guys will need to be ready to come in and play 140 snaps per game.”

As usual, Coach Derrick is already stressing the importance of conditioning, and once again a roster diminished in numbers is a key factor.

“We’re gonna hit (the conditioning) pretty hard in June and July because numbers are going to be a factor. I’m guessing we’re only going to have 25 maybe 30 kids this year. We’re going to have to be in shape and we’re going to need to get as many quality reps in as possible early in the season.”

In addition to feeling the loss of The River,” Coach Derrick recognizes the loss of the team’s defensive heart-and-soul, the graduating Hamp Thompson.

“Back in 2018, we last 4 or 5 guys from that group that won the state championship. Then we had a lot of injuries in that 2019 season, and that 2020 group responded. Back then, it was Jordan and Hamp that led the charge. Now it’s up to (rising Senior) Hayes Carter and (rising Junior) Gavin Grantham that will need to handle that inside LB spot. They’re gonna have to stay healthy.”

Regardless of the losses, Coach feels pretty solid about his defense.

“(Hayes and Gavin) have a ton of experience, our D-line is returning, 3 out of 4 of our DBs are returning. The big question is going to be OLB. I’m pretty excited. We’re gonna have a chance to sneak up on people.”

If they do, it won’t be the first time – and that’s one of the things we love the most about the Knights.

A New Era

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

A new era of football has arrived for the Camden County Wildcats.

On February 28th the Camden County school system announced the hire of Travis Roland to become the next head football coach.

Legendary coach, Jeff Herron retired after three seasons with Camden. Herron took the Wildcats to the GHSA 7A Final Four this past season.

Travis Roland will come in with success of his own. Roland spent three seasons as the Mainland Buccaneers Head Coach and went 30-10 in that span. Mainland High School is in Daytona, FL.

Roland’s Buccaneers made a state title game appearance in 2022 but came up a little short. However, the Buccaneers returned to the title game in 2023 and this time walked away State Champions under Travis Roland’s leadership, beating powerhouse St. Augustine 21-19.

It was reported that over 30 applicants applied for the opening. The Camden County School System announced a meeting on Friday February 16th where they intended to announce a new football coach on that date.

However, Tracolya Green, Camden County Superintendent, announced at that meeting that no hire would be made as not enough time was given to properly vet references for the final 2 candidates for the position.

Coach Roland played high school football at Mainland High School and then went on to play at Bethune-Cookman. He played Arena Football after his college playing days ended.

Roland began coaching in 2009 at Mainland High School as an assistant. He spent three seasons with the Buccaneers before transitioning to Seabreeze High School, also in Daytona, as an assistant.

In 2012 Roland returned to Mainland High School’s coaching staff and remained until 2016. In 2017 Roland was named Head Coach at Flagler Palm Coast. He remained head coach there until 2020, when he once again returned to Mainland High School, this time as the Head Coach.

Coach Roland is the reigning Florida Coach of the Year.

He will take the reins of the Camden program, which is saturated with rich and proud history. Camden County Wildcat Football has been synonymous with tough, hard-nosed football and the Wing-T offense.

The Wildcats ran that Wing-T offense from 2000-2016 under former coaches Jeff Herron and Welton Coffey. The Wildcats won 3 state titles under Jeff Herron in 2003, 2008 and 2009.

Camden ran a spread from 2017-2020 under former coach Bob Sphire. The Wildcat offense went back to the Wing-T when Jeff Herron re-assumed the position as head coach.

It is expected Coach Roland will bring in a brand new system.

A new era has dawned in Kingsland.

Herons New Hire

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brantley County has their new man in David Shores.

Coach Shores comes to Brantley County after a 3-year stint at Brunswick High School.

Shores served as the Assistant Head Coach, Special Teams Coordinator and Safeties coach for the Pirates.

During the school day, Coach Shores also wore the hat of Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for the Pirates.

Before Brunswick, Shores served as the Defensive Coordinator at Camden County High School from 2017-2020. Prior to Camden, Shores orchestrated defenses at Lowndes (2015-16) and Peach County (2014).

Coach Shores has coached in the GHSA playoffs nine out of ten seasons, since moving to Georgia, from his home state of Alabama.

In his thirteen-year tenure as a high school coach in Alabama, Coach Shores was a part of 2 State Championships, 1 6A Runner-Up, 3 Quarter-Final appearances, 1 Second-Round and 3 First-Round appearances.

Shores began his coaching career as graduate assistant at Auburn University in 1998. From Auburn, Shores served as an assistant coach at both Opelika High School and Hoover High, before going back to the SEC to work as an analyst at Louisiana State University, under Nick Saban.

Shores became defensive coordinator at Pelham High School in 2005, before taking the same title at Spain Park High the following season. He then served as Head Coach at Spain Park from 2008-2010 and Head Coach/Athletics Director at Pell City High School from 2011-2013.

Coach Shores’ record as head coach currently sits at 27-18, with a 3-2 playoff record and 19-11 in region play.

Coach Shores is married to the former Alison Still, of Waycross. Alison currently serves as the President of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce. David and Alison are extremely excited to join the Heron family!

Coach Shores had this to say to me after his hiring became official:

“I am excited about the opportunity ahead of me at Brantley. I feel like this opportunity was meant to be.

I have had a desire to be a head coach again for quite some time and usually apply for numerous openings, but this one just felt right and was the only opening I applied for this year.

It is close to home and Alison, and I really love this area. I grew up playing high school football in a small town. The small-town atmosphere really appeals to me. I feel like smaller communities are more supportive and really buy-in to what we are trying to accomplish with the young people in our program and community.

There are a lot of wonderful things happening at Brantley County High School and I hope to be a great ambassador for the county and play winning football on top of it.

Coach Cannon did a fantastic job here, and he played a lot of kids so we have some experience coming back in 2024, and we will need it because we are in a new region that includes Thomasville, Fitzgerald, and Worth County. Iron sharpens iron is our approach and people better buckle up when they play us.

I begin on March 1st, and we have a lot of work to do between then and August, but we have good kids in the program, great community support, great support from the school system and BCHS administration. I am ready to get to work! Go Herons!”

This is a great hire for Brantley County. David Shores has a great defensive mind and will run the Brantley defense.

He will bring in an offensive coordinator and will not change much scheme wise in year one. Brantley plays single A football and should compete for a playoff spot this fall.

A lot of exciting things are happening in Brantley County, and for the Shores family.

Farewell

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Legendary Camden County Wildcats Coach Jeff Herron recently announced his retirement.

Throughout the early 2000’s the Camden County Wildcats Football Program was a juggernaut under Jeff Herron. During his first tenure with the Wildcats, he won 12 straight region titles and 3 state championships.

Herron left the Camden County Wildcat football program after the 2012 season to pursue other coaching opportunities.

In 2021, it was announced that Camden was going to welcome Jeff Herron back home and offered him a second stint as Wildcats’ Head Coach, which Herron accepted.

In Herron’s second year he took the Wildcats to the second round of the GHSA playoffs, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2015.

This past season, Herron led the Wildcats to the Final Four of the GHSA playoffs, eventually losing to powerhouse Walton. The Wildcats were the only team from their region to advance that far in the playoffs.

The legendary coach retires with a career record of 335-69.

Before the second go around with Camden, 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.

When the Camden administration hired Jeff Herron they asked him to get the football program moving in the right direction again. As always, Jeff Herron over-delivered. He amassed a 23-15 record in his second stint as Wildcats coach.

In his illustrious coaching career Herron only suffered one losing season ever, that was 2021, his first season back as head coach. The Wildcats still made the playoffs that season, finishing 4-7.

Herron leaves the program in far better shape than he found it.

The River

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sometimes football has an artistic flow to it. A rhythm, a rhyme. “Slam poetry,” if you will. Almost like a song.

Thus, is definitely the case with the high school career of one Jordan Bryce Triplett. His time as a Frederica Knight began and ended on the same field; Goddard Field on the campus of Valwood Academy. The opening and closing stanzas one might say.

And oh, what an anthem came between.

For those of us there in Hahira, Georgia on September 11, 2020, we had no idea what would follow that 167 yard/2 TD performance. Most of us were wondering who this freshman was that outran Senior RB Kyle “Meatball” Perez by almost 20 yards.

When Perez went down a few weeks later with injury, the wonder turned to concern as to whether the (as Coach Brandon Derrick called him) “racehorse with blinders” could handle the load.

The 1852 yards and 22 touchdowns he amassed by the end of his freshman campaign belayed those concerns. This was obviously a talented young man that knew where he wanted to go – the NFL.

“I’ve always had dreams of playing college football and eventually going to the NFL,” said Jordan to me recently via TwitterX. “The Lord was gracious and has kept me healthy to get me to where I am now.”

The Lord (with an assist from Frederica’s Head Athletic Trainer Adam Norman) did indeed keep him healthy for his four-year run. Ironic that his career was jumpstarted by the injury to his teammate and friend.

“(Kyle) was one of the best mentors you could ask for,” Jordan recalls. “He was hard on me when he needed to be. It was critique that I desperately needed so early in my career. He showed me a lot in my one year with him.”

That freshman season wound up with a trip to the GIAA State Championship against long-time foe John Milledge Academy, who Jordan surprisingly doesn’t list as the most formidable opponent of his tenure.

“I think two teams that stand out are Calvary Day and Savannah Christian,” says Jordan. “Yes, JMA has been tough over the years, but those two teams truly were dominating their leagues when we played them.”

Regardless of the competition, Jordan continued to produce throughout his time ‘Under The Oaks’. He put up 1699 yards his sophomore year and 2305 as a junior, adding 26 touchdowns in both seasons. Those numbers set him up for what turned out to be a historic senior campaign.

This past season, Jordan broke or tied several prestigious records in the State of Georgia. The most notable being the career rushing record of 9,028 – the only player in state history to break 9,000 yards for his career.

To do this, it took 3,172 yards for the season – which tied the all-time single-season record for yardage. Both records had stood for 23 years.

In addition to those, he clocked in at #3 all-time career rushing TDs at 115 and became the only player in state history to have three 400-yard games.

“Never did it come to mind that we would be able to break the all-time rushing record. That’s something that seemed untouchable, but we did it and when I say we I mean the coaches and offensive unit.”

Triplett has always heaped praise and shared glory on his teammates and coaches. Even though he says he was closest to Tucker McClain, Sam Norris, and Sutton Ellis, one of his favorite memories involves a Frederica alumnus he never played with; the NFL-bound Jaylin Simpson.

“On the way (to the state championship), he called me and gave me some great advice. It consisted of how to be a leader on a team, which he knew I needed because of how young I was.’

Like Jaylin, Jordan has fielded speculation about how playing at a small school would be a detriment to his career. Neither Simpson nor the Tripletts have any regrets.

“There is always the ‘unknown factor,’” according to his mother Becky Triplett. “Would he have more offers? Would he have had more opportunities? But, Frederica Academy is family. He has the best coaches, a top-notch education, an incredible support system, and the advantage of the small-town atmosphere.”

And we had the advantage of watching him make history.

The Knights’ Journey

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Coach Brandon Derrick is pretty confident for a guy with a combined .500 record over the last three seasons.

But confident he is, and so are his players – players who trust the process. It’s a process that goes by the philosophy that you can’t make yourself a better team playing against lesser competition.

Steel sharpening steel, iron sharpening iron, buzzsaw scheduling – whatever you want to call it, the results are tangible.

Said results would need to be evident quickly this season. With QB Sutton Ellis graduated, Coach Derrick made the bold decision to move to a full-time wildcat formation with rising senior RB “The River” Jordan Triplett under center.

The big question would be how the change in offensive scheme would affect Triplett’s pursuit of history. Triplett would start the year with 5,856 rushing yards and 92 TDs. Those numbers meant that with an average (by his standards) season, he could easily find himself in the top 20 all-time for both categories in the state of Georgia.

The season opener let us know that “average” was not to be expected this year. Going up against a Brookwood team that beat the Knights by 4+ touchdowns in a quarter and a half of play in 2022, Frederica showed that this is absolutely a different team by notching a 56-41 win.

Week 2 wound up being more of the same, with The River running for another 349 yards and 5 TDs, as well as a TD pass to senior WR Kwon Vaughn en route to a 39-35 squeaker against Tiftarea Academy.

The original Week 3 game against Valwood Academy was canceled due to Hurricane Idalia, so a pickup game against Class 4A (SC) Bluffton was added. It was an ugly 44-13 loss.

Bluffton would prove to be the first of 4 straight losses against powerhouse teams. The high point of the run was arguably limiting John Milledge Academy to 17 points (their lowest output since the 2018 state championship game), whereas the low point was the 41-13 loss to Tatnall Square.

A victory the following week against longtime rival Robert Toombs wrapped up non-region play by a score of 42-21.

Region play started at home versus hated rivals Bulloch Academy. Not only was the game a loss, but eventual All State LB Hamp Thompson was lost for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Junior LB Hayes Carter filled in quite admirably, and the Knights were able to run the rest of the region table. Frederica ended the year tied for second in the region and secured a first round playoff bye.

The Knights dispatched Terrell Academy in their quarterfinal matchup, before falling 56-30 to eventual State Champions Valwood.

In addition to the All-State honors to Triplett and Thompson, All-Region laurels were bestowed upon LB Hayes Carter, RB Rico Holmes, Kickoff Specialist/Punter Blake Holloway, and OL/DLs Tucker McLain & Will Johnson.

In addition, K Mary Ford Fitzjurls wound up #2 in GIAA Class 3A in Kick Scoring, and RB/DB Colt Howes was #4 in 3A for Kickoff Returns and #5 in Punt Returns.

As far as the freshman class goes, I get the feeling we should expect big things from QB Jaylen Baldwin and RB Jayden Gibson.

Cream Of The Crop

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Georgia high school football state championships are set. They will be played December 11 – 13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Let’s take a look at some of the matchups.

Class 7A

No. 8 Milton (12-2) beat No. 6 Grayson (11-3) 45–35.

Miami-committed QB Luke Nickel was 31-of-50 passing for 434 yards and four touchdowns. He had a pair of 100-yard receivers: C.J. Wiley (10-136-1) and Tristan Payne (8-148-2). Milton led in total yards 588-424.

Milton won the state championship in 2018 and they are in their third state championship in six seasons.

No. 5 Walton (14-0) beat Camden County (10-4) 41–25. Wake Forest-committed QB Jeremy Hecklinski was 16-of-23 passing for 317 yards and six touchdowns.

Walton led 21-0 at halftime, then only 21-17 in the third quarter after Camden County returned an interception for a touchdown, but Hecklinski rebounded with TD passes on Walton’s next three possessions. Hunter Teal had six receptions for 163 yards.

Makari Bodiford rushed for 108 yards. Wendell Gregory had three tackles for losses. This is Walton’s second state finals appearance, the first since their 2011 runner-up finish.

This will be the first championship game in the highest classification without a Gwinnett or South Georgia team since 1985 (Clarke Central vs. Warner Robins).

Class 6A

No. 2 Thomas County Central (14-0) beat No. 7 Marist (12-2) 13–7. TCC took a 13-0 lead in the first half with 1-yard runs by Ezekial Bogan and Trey Brenton, the first after a 16-play, 80-yard drive, the second after the first of three lost Marist fumbles.

Brenton rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

This is the first state championship game for the Yellow Jackets since 2002. They have defeated five top-10 teams on the road this season and broke Marist’s 14-game home playoff winning streak.

No. 10 Woodward Academy (12-2) beat No. 4 Douglas County (13-1) 24–21. Woodward trailed 14-0 in the first half.

Landon Walker was 15-of-22 passing for 152 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards.

This is their first state final appearance since 1980 when they won the 3A title.

Class 5A

No. 2 Creekside (13-1) ended Jefferson’s (13-1) undefeated season, 28-17. The Seminoles overcame a 14-0 first half deficit.

Vinson Berry was 14-of-25 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

Shane Kelley had eight receptions for 90 yards. Roderick McCrary rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Creekside forced three turnovers and held Jefferson to 204 total yards.

This is Creekside’s second state finals appearance, the first since their 2013 5A championship.

No. 3 Coffee (14-0) beat No. 1 Cartersville (13-1) 33-18. The Trojans built a 24-0 lead so the game was never close. This is their second finals appearance, the first since 2017 when they lost.

Class 4A

No. 6 Perry (12-2) defeated Starr’s Mill (10-4) 28-24. Colter Ginn was 20-of-31 passing for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

Kory Pettigrew (4-131-1) and Dakarai Anderson (8-166-1) each had more than 100 receiving yards.

Ahmad Gordon rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. This is Perry’s first state finals appearance and they started playing football in 1954.

No. 7 Stockbridge (12-2) defeated No. 1 Benedictine (13-1) 45-31. North Carolina State-committed RB Jayden “Duke” Scott rushed for 310 yards on 27 carries and scored 3 touchdowns.

This is also the first state title appearance for the Tigers, which started football in 1964.

 

 

 

Terror Town 2023

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, as we head toward the holidays, it’s time to take a look back at the 2023 Red Terrors football season.

The Terrors rolled to a successful 8-3 campaign, claiming the second seed in the region, and barely missing out on another playoff win. And while the Red and White southsiders would have loved a few more W’s, it was all and all a great season capped off with an overtime sinking of a Pirate ship. Any season with a city championship win over the Brunswick Pirates is considered a successful campaign for the Red Terrors. Trust me, I know!

So, let’s do a quick recap of another fine season for the Terrors and take a quick look at what’s coming back for the 2024 outfit.

8/18  Glynn Academy vs Statesboro Blue Devils. Terrors roll in the opener 21-0.

8/25  Glynn Academy @ MCA Buccaneers. The Red Terrors cruise up Highway 17 and take out the always tough Buccaneers in a close one 14-6. McIntosh Academy always plays bigger than they are and this one was no exception.

9/1 Glynn Academy vs Camden County Widcats. The Terrors find out on this Friday night that they aint the biggest boys on the block as the Wildcats rough up the homestanding Terrors 44-13. The Wildcats and Jeff Herron go on to the Final Four of the 7A playoffs.

9/7 Glynn Academy vs Baker County (FL) Wildcats. Glynn grounds out a tough 27-20 win over the Wildcats to bounce back into the win column and all eyes turn to the Pirates, who have already taken out a Camden team that ripped Glynn the week before.

9/22 Glynn Academy vs  Brunswick High Pirates. Ahhhhhhhhhhh lets enjoy this one again. The Red Terrors sink the Pirates in a 22-15 overtime thriller.

The City Championship once again resides in the Glynn Academy trophy case. In this one the Terrors and Pirates find common ground from the top down to the 3rd stringers. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. Agreed……. Once again GLYNN 22 Brunswick 15.

9/29  Glynn Academy @ Effingham County Rebels. What goes up…………  The Red Terrors play like they have a hangover that a whole bottle of aspirin won’t help. 49-3 Rebels, who go on to win the region championship.

10/6  Glynn Academy vs South Effingham High School Mustangs. The Terrors regroup and pulverize the Mustangs 35-0.

10/12 Glynn Academy @ Grovetown Warriors. Glynn has a nice trip up north and walks and runs all over Grovetown 43-3.

10/20 Glynn Academy @ Evans Knights. Another road trip and another win as the Terrors take out a tough Evans team 22-14.

11/3 Glynn Academy vs Lakeside Panthers. The Terrors get tuned up for the 6A playoffs with a 50-7 pasting of the Panthers at Glynn County Stadium.

11/10 Glynn academy vs Jonesboro Cardinals. Let’s see, what do you get when you fumble 3 times and have 2 punts blocked? It doesn’t matter who you are. 98% of the time you lose.

Well, the Terrors did their absolute best to be in the 2% but fall short in a heartbreaker 32-31.

Too many mistakes to overcome against a team that took advantage of them.

The Terrors lose at home in the final game of the year and end up with an 8-3 record. Not what Coach Rock and the Terrors wanted but another successful campaign for the Red and White.

The Terrors graduated some real leaders in 2023. Kids that worked their tails off and stuck with the program.

Among them were Peyton Parker, who earned Region Defensive Player of the Year, and David Prince Glynn’s great wide receiver.

The all-region team was well represented with Jayden Ellis at QB, Parker, Prince, RB Willie Butler, Max Poysky OL, Quay Evans DL, Da’Vontae Lang ILB, Trent Tankersley OLB, Ryan Young DB, Marshan Turner DB and Tuck Tucker P all First Team selections.

Second teamers included Deuce Hidalgo TE, Harrison Knight OL, Camden Wilson DL, Gavin Wells OLB and T.Y. Chisom DB. Honorable Mentions were Michael Torello FB, Zeb Jackson WR, Sean Wallace WR, Caziah Alston, Benton Dyal and Josh Baker all on the OL, Tae Green DL, Chandler Owens LB, Bruce Edwards DB and LS Jeb Carson.

Quite a list and a testament to the consistent work ethic put in by the Terrors and the coaching staff.

As the Terrors look forward to 2024, they do so with a great nucleus to build on. The Offense has 3 linemen and 4 of the best skill players in southeast Georgia coming back. If the young line develops the Terrors will be very dangerous next year.

Defensively it’s the same story, 3 seasoned linemen, a linebacker, and a very good DB form a solid group to build around.

Tuck Tucker returns to kick and punt also. The coaching staff has a lot of work to do but a great core to work with.

Look for Rocky Hidalgo and the Terrors to build on the success of the young 2023 outfit and fight for more in 24!

Successful Pirate Voyage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2023 Brunswick High Pirates had another good sailing through the waters of region 2-AAAAAA this fall.

The Pirates finished with a fine 7-4 record and won a first round State playoff game over Mundy’s Mill 28-22 after trailing 22-7 at halftime.

This senior class leaves the program in fantastic shape, leaving with a 36-10 overall record, three region championships, and three city championships.

Head Coach Garrett Grady had this to say about the 2023 Pirates:

“We had another great football season at Brunswick High School. This team and group of seniors accomplished many things in their career here at Brunswick High. Looking back at this season it was definitely built on the hard work & dedication from the off-season workouts, spring football, summer workouts, summer OTAs, & in season practices. I am proud of this team and the way they competed from every start of each game to the final whistle.

I am very proud of our coaching staff and the job that they did this season as well. Our coaching staff not only developed our players on the field, but they developed them into young men with character and prepared them for the game of Life. This team showed a lot of resiliency & grit.

This team went through a lot of adversity and instead of letting it get the best of them, they fought through it and developed as a TEAM. Many players gained valuable experience that we can build on and I am looking forward to next year. GO PIRATES!”

The Pirates placed many players on the All-Region Team:

Region 2-AAAA First Team

Jack Hunt/OL: Hunt had a fantastic senior campaign playing center for the Pirates. Hunt was a team leader on the offensive line and will play college football next fall.

Heze Kent/TE: Kent will more than likely be the highest rated football prospect to ever come out of Glynn County once his career is finished at BHS. The wonderful thing for Pirate fans is that Kent has two more years in the blue and gold.

Jamarious Towns/RB: Towns returns for his senior season next fall, and you can expect massive things from him and the Pirate offense next season.

TJ Mitchell/WR: The most prolific pass catcher in BHS history. Mitchell’s play-making abilities will long be talked about on Altama Avenue, and he will be missed greatly.

River Creel/DL: Creel played a lot of football for BHS. Played well as a freshman and will be hard to replace next season.

J’Shawn Towns/LB: Towns is a thumper. His best football is ahead of him.

Devin Smith/LB: The Kentucky bound Smith is simply one of the greatest players ever to roam on the defensive side of the ball for Brunswick High School. Period end of story. You do not replace a Devin Smith.

McClain Fineran/K: Fineran made some huge kicks for BHS in his career. He will be missed.

Landon Etheridge/LS: Etheridge had a fantastic season at long snapper and stepped in and made a huge 38-yard FG in the City Championship game this fall.

 

Region 2-AAAA Second Team:

Grant Moore/QB: Moore will be a junior next fall. Expect huge things from him.

William Heck/RB: Heck had a fine junior season.

Waseem Murray/WR: Remember this name folks.

Chase Richardson/OL

Donyea Broughton/DL

Michael Daniels/LB

Tavion Gadson/DB

Garrett Grady’s Pirates will be elite on offense in 2024. Defense will need to replace some studs. Look for the Pirates to compete for another Region Championship in 2024.

 

 

 

 

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