High School Football

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2022 Crusade

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Whether intentional or not, it would seem that every Frederica Academy football season has a theme.

2018 championship season was the fastest, the 2020 was the smartest, and it seems the 2022 was the steadiest.

If you had to describe the 2022 season in a single word, it would be weird.

The season started three hours late, when the opening game versus Brookwood was delayed by lightning. Thankfully, the game ended early as well, the Knights losing the abbreviated opener 41-12.

Week two was a much more favorable result, with the Knights leaving Chula, GA with a 34-27 victory.

Frederica went to an all-time record of 4-4 versus the Panthers and brought themselves to a .500 record on the early season.

The next four games proved to be as difficult as expected.

Head Coach Brandon Derrick knew that his team would not get better playing lesser teams, so he scheduled a buzzsaw of a lineup for this year’s squad.

The following four games against Valwood, John Milledge, Clinch County, and Tattnall Square would prove to be losses but valuable ones at that.

Invaluable they were, indeed. While the team was not registering wins, junior running back Jordan Triplett and classmate LB Hamp Thompson were putting up statistics that would place them in the top of the standings in the state of Georgia.

By the end of the year, Triplett would have 2,305 yards rushing on 315 carries with 26 touchdowns, while Thompson would wind up #10 in the state across all divisions with 123 total tackles and 70 solo tackles on the year.

After a 1-5 start to the year, the Knights ran out the schedule in championship style.

The last four games of the year saw the Green & Grey put up an identical 42-point score, and their offensive powerhouse RB Triplett put up a minimum of 300 yards and 3 touchdowns per game, apexing with a 400-yard 6 touchdown effort in the final game. That secured a region championship for Frederica.

The regular season championship would grant the Knights a first-round bye and a second-round matchup against Deerfield Windsor Academy out of Albany, Ga. Frederica had only faced the Deerfield Windsor Knights once before. That was a second-round playoff upset at home ‘Under the Oaks’ in 2016.

The game looked to be a tale of two halves; unfortunately, the first half was the better for Frederica.

The opening drive was a clinical one. The Knights drove 80 yards in 13 plays, cumulating with a Jordan Triplett touchdown 7 ½ minutes into the first quarter.

After a three and out, Jordan ‘The River’ Triplett picked up a punt on two bounces and took back a blissful 88-yard return for a touchdown, taking the Knights to a 14-0 first quarter lead.

Unfortunately, that would be the end of the offense on the night.

Deerfield Windsor would put up three touchdowns over the final three quarters while shutting out Frederica, ending their March to Mercer two weeks early by a score of 18-14.

While any season that doesn’t end on the field at Mercer University seems like a letdown for the Frederica faithful, the 2022 season seems almost like a warmup to what should be another championship run.

2023 should prove to be just as memorable as 2022, regardless of the outcome.

Gold Rush

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Ka’ Shawn Thomas should be the Region 2-AAAAAA defensive player of the year. No other player in this area has had a bigger impact on that side of the ball than Thomas has had.

The 300-pound senior finished his Pirate career with that heartbreaking 29-28 OT loss to Houston County. Thomas has been the ringleader of a senior class that won 35 football games and 3 region championships.

When you mention the name Ka’ Shawn Thomas to his head coach Garrett Grady you get the following “Ka’ Shawn has been an outstanding football player for us for four years. He is our leader on defense. When things get tough the other kids look to him for leadership and he makes things happen on the football field. He can dominate the line of scrimmage and make teams struggle in the run game. He is also a great pass rusher, and he caves in the pocket in the passing game. You don’t see many kids like him that come through high school programs. He will be missed around here and will be a productive college player at Wake Forest both on the field and in the classroom. He has set the standard around here for defensive linemen moving forward”.

Thomas could end up on some All-State teams after the current high school season concludes and will most definitely be an all-region player in 2022.

Thomas committed to Wake Forest back in March. He was the top player on the Wake Forest board and was the first player committed in their 2023 recruiting class.

Wake will be getting a young man with a great motor, quick first step, and at 300 pounds a man who can command double teams from an opposing offensive line. Wake Forest is a program that is on the rise and is very competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ka’ Shawn comes from a great family, and he would probably tell you his favorite person and role model is his mother, Tashana.

Tashana is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and she has an amazing personality and when momma talks Ka’ Shawn listens. She has raised a solid young man that is going to be a success in life long after his football career is over. His mother and family have instilled a great foundation in Ka’ Shawn.

Ka’ Shawn leaves a great legacy at Brunswick High School. He will be mentioned as one of the all-time greatest players to ever come through the school. I personally believe that he is one of the top ten players that BHS has ever produced.

It has been a privilege to broadcast Ka’ Shawn for his entire BHS career on Pirate Radio. He has been a great ambassador for the program and a ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ kind of young man that always greets you with a firm handshake and the upmost of respect.

I know Ka’ Shawn is going to have a fine college career at Wake Forest, and possibly in 4-5 years you could hear his name called by an NFL in a future NFL draft. I know this the young man will be missed on Altama Avenue.

I will leave you with one final comment that I firmly believe. Ka’ Shawn Thomas is the best defensive lineman to ever play at Brunswick High School. I have seen many kids come through the program since I went to my first Pirate football game in 1974 and I can’t think of one better at his position than Ka’ Shawn.

 

 

The Best Remain

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The second round of the 7A GHSA playoffs had a major upset. No. 1 Buford lost their first game of the season to No. 6 Walton, 42 – 35. They ended the Wolves 22-game win streak, quest for a fourth consecutive state championship and a possible national championship. This is the first time this century that Buford has not advanced to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

“We’re not used to feeling like this around here and that’s a good thing,” Buford head coach Bryant Appling said. “It also handicaps you to an extent because you’ve got to understand what it feels like (to lose) and work a little bit harder. There’s an inch in there we can get and we just didn’t get to it this year.”

The upset means any of the remaining eight teams in the quarterfinals has a legitimate shot to win it all. We are going to take a look at those matchups.

#2 Colquitt County vs North Gwinnett: The Packers (12-0) have to be the favorite to win the state championship now. They beat Harrison in the second round 49 – 28. Colquitt County has an explosive offense. The least amounts of points they scored in a game was 24 against Valdosta.

The Bulldogs (10-2) come into the game unranked but they have had a good season. Their best player is four-star defensive tackle Kayden McDonald. He’s ranked as the 22nd recruit in the state for the class of 2023 and he committed to Ohio State. They also have four-star linebacker Grant Godfrey.

I expect this to be a very close game but Colquitt will win.

#5 Mill Creek vs #7 Westlake: The Hawks (11-1) have the best player in the state, five-star safety/receiver Caleb Downs. They also have Clemson commit and three-star linebacker Jamal Anderson. I think this is the most talented team left in the playoffs.

The Lions (9-3) also have a Clemson commit, corner back Avieon Terrell. This should be a close game but I give the edge to Mill Creek.

#3 Carrolton vs #6 Walton: The Trojans (12-0) are unbeaten and still somehow underrated. They only have two wins this season that were decided by less than 10 points. They beat Marietta in the second round, 47 – 14.

Walton quarterback Jeremy Hecklinski and running back Makari Bodiford played key roles in the upset of Buford. Neither team has a senior ranked as a top 100 recruit in the state but they have talent. I’m picking the Raiders to win since they were able to beat the top ranked team.

#8 Milton vs #10 Grayson: The Eagles (9-3) beat Norcross 30 – 23 to advance to the quarterfinals. Senior safety Bryce Thornton is a three-star recruit and he’s committed to Florida. They have another three-star safety, Robert Billings and he’s committed to Clemson. The strength of the defense is the secondary.

The Rams (10-2) beat Camden County 28 – 10 in the second round. The best player on the team is four-star safety and LSU commit Michael Daugherty. At linebacker they have Tennessee commit Jalen Smith.

I think this will be a very good defensive game and the offenses will have to protect the football. I think Grayson will win.

 

The Cats Are Back

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2022 season has come to an end for the Camden County Wildcats.

Camden traveled to Loganville, outside of Atlanta, to play the Grayson Rams in the second round of the GHSA playoffs. The Rams ended the Wildcats season with a 28-10 win.

Camden ended the season with an 8-4 record and the Wildcats accomplished a lot this season.

The Wildcats earned a two seed in Region 1-7A, upset the #3 ranked team in the state in the Valdosta Wildcats, beat the Lowndes Vikings for the first time since 2015, won three region games and won a first-round playoff game for the first time since 2015.

Camden is on the right track to becoming a state title contender again and the future is bright.

The Wildcats will only graduate 22 seniors and will 44 replace them next season. The rising freshmen and sophomore classes are loaded with talent and those will classes will contribute heavily next season as juniors and sophomores.

Expect a deep playoff run in 2023.

Let’s take a look back on the amazing 2022 campaign.

August 19: Columbia @ Camden: The season got off to a rocky start as the AA Columbia Eagles came to Chris Gilman Stadium and stunned the Wildcats, upsetting them 13-10.

August 26: Camden @ Brunswick: The Brunswick High Pirates were expected to compete for a state title in 6A. The Pirates dropped Camden 16-10 on a goal line stand at the end of the game.

This is the game that turned the season around. You could tell the kids in the locker room came together after losing this tough game.

September 2: Glynn Academy @ Camden: The Glynn Academy Red Terrors walked into an ambush that night. They were expecting a struggling Wildcat team ripe for the taking.

Instead, they got a vicious, angry, physical team that sent them home with a 37-7 drubbing.

September 9: B.E.S.T. @ Camden: This would be more of the same. B.E.S.T. Academy, out of Atlanta, came down and were overwhelmed by the Wildcats, 45-0.

September 16: Somerset Academy @ Camden: The Wildcats woodshedded the Somerset Academy Panthers 48-21, but the game wasn’t even that close.

September 23: Atlantic Coast @ Camden: This wrapped up the trio of games against Florida schools and the result was the same as the priors. The Wildcats dominated Atlantic Coast, 47-6.

October 7: Camden @ Richmond Hill: Wildcats v Wildcats. Camden did not play well in this game but found a way to win and earn their first region victory of 2022, 21-14.

October 14: Camden @ Colquitt: The Wildcats headed over to the Hog Pen and found out what Colquitt was for real. The Packers outpaced the Wildcats, 49-21.

Colquitt was ranked #2 in the state at the time and this game was a flag-a-thon by the zebras. Most of the calls going against Camden. It’s tough to win at Colquitt for a reason.

October 21: Valdosta @ Camden: Another Wildcats v Wildcats matchup. Camden kicked a Field goal to take a 17-14 advantage.

Valdosta marched down the field to attempt their own field goal to tie the game, which Camden blocked and then ran out the clock on the folks from Winnersville.

When it was all said and done Camden had knocked off the #3 ranked team in the state, 17-14.

November 4: Lowndes @ Camden: The Lowndes Vikings were hoping take the #2 seed away from Camden by beating them at home. Instead, the Vikings were run out of Chris Gilman, 48-21 and the game was not that close.

November 12: East Coweta @ Camden: The East Coweta Indians made the long drive from Atlanta to Kingsland. The first half ended with East Coweta up 21-14.

In the second half the Wildcats outscored East Coweta 30-12 and ended their season with a 44-33 win.

November 18: Camden @ Grayson: Jeff Herron returned to place where he won his last state title in 2016. The Rams were a solid team and the Wildcats couldn’t quite find that one big play to get them going.

The Rams eliminated Camden 28-10.

See you next Spring.

Resurrected Terrors

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Glynn Academy Red Terrors went through a 6-5 season in Coach Rocky Hidalgo’s 9th season as the head man at the school.

It was another winning season for Coach Rock and the Terrors, who have made the state playoffs every year during his tenure. However, it was not what the Red Terrors wanted in the form of a region title and deep run in the playoffs.

In my conversation with Coach Rock, it was apparent how very proud of this team he was. Especially how they fought like hell in the first-round loss on the road 18-13 to the second seeded Northside Eagles.

The Brunswick Pirates were bounced out by a fourth seed and the Effingham Rebels were hammered by the three seed from 1-6A. The Red Terrors acquitted themselves well on the road against the Eagles.

They had real chances and only a missed field goal kept them from potentially taking control of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Coach Hidalgo said the game showcased how far this edition of the Terrors had come and how it bodes well for the 2023 season.

While the Terrors will say goodbye to a small core group of seniors led by Tyler Devlin, Hank Noonan and others, they will return a large group of seasoned sophomores and juniors led by the electric Greg Peacock. They all played major roles in the teams’ 2022 success.

Let’s take a quick look back at the 2022 season.

8/19  Glynn at Statesboro. The Red Terrors squeak out an exciting 43-42 win on the road against the Blue Devils to start the season.

8/25  McIntosh Co Academy at Glynn. The Red Terrors make it two in a row, pulling away with a win over the tough Buccaneers; 22-13 at Glynn County Stadium.

9/2  Glynn at Camden County. The Red Terrors take their first loss of the season with an away loss at Chris Gilman Stadium to the 7A Wildcats.

9/8  Creekside (FL) at Glynn. In a pouring monsoon the Red Terrors lose a heartbreaker 21-20 to fall to 2-2.

9/23 Brunswick High at Glynn. The powerful Pirates drop the Terrors to 2-3 on the season with a dominating 55-21 win.

9/28 Effingham County at Glynn. The Terrors fail to bounce back and drop a fourth straight game. The Rebels take it by a 31-14 score. The second loss in the region puts the Terrors in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time under Coach Hidalgo.

10/7  Glynn at South Effingham. The Terrors taste victory again with a 13-9 victory over South Effingham

10/14  Grovetown at Glynn. The Terrors turn it around and level their record at 4-4 with a 46-13 pounding of the Warriors between the bricks.

10/21  Evans at Glynn. In a pivotal region game, the Red Terrors come from behind to take a thrilling 25-22 win over the visiting Knights. Its Senior Night and the Terror Nation shows its appreciation with a great crowd.

11/4  Glynn at Lakeside Evans.  The Terrors win their fourth in a row as the Panthers are declawed 42-20. The Terrors finish out the regular season at 6-4 and head into the playoffs again.

11/11  Glynn at Northside. The Terrors go on the road and put up a great fight against the second seeded Eagles. They have real chances to win the game going tooth and nail with Northside.

In the end a missed field goal and an interception hurt the Terrors and they lose late 18-13. It’s another tough loss that the Terrors couldn’t quite pull out. The Terrors end the year at 6-5.

As I mentioned above, when I talked to Coach Rock you could see how proud he was of this outfit and how they came back and played hard after being 2-4.

They could have folded up and headed home but didn’t. He was very proud of what they had accomplished. They were winners!

Rocky Hidalgo is one of Glynn’s winningest coaches ever. He has region championships and a state championship appearance under his belt.

He has averaged over 8 wins per season in his nine years with the Red Terrors. So, when he says he is looking forward to this sophomore and junior dominated team coming up big next year. I’m all in. Let’s do it Rock!

Pirates’ Journey

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Year one of the Garrett Grady tenure at Brunswick ended in heartbreaking fashion with a gut wrenching 29-28 loss to Houston County in the first round of GHSA 6A state playoffs.

The Pirates finished the 2022 season with a 10-1 record. The Pirates were crowned Region 2-AAAAAA champions with a 30-27 win over Effingham County.

Let’s look at the 2022 season:

August 19, 2022: The Pirates hosted Andrew Jackson from Jacksonville at Glynn County Stadium. The Tigers finished 7-4 in 2021 earning a playoff berth.

Jayden returned a punt for a touchdown and the Brunswick Black Flag defense held the Tigers to 200 yards of total offense on the night in a 23-13 opening night win. The win was Grady’s first win as a head coach. Andrew Jackson finished the 2022 season with an 8-3 record and playoff berth in Florida.

August 26, 2022: The Pirates hosted Camden County at Glynn County Stadium. Most pundits picked BHS to lose this game, but a strong defensive effort and second half power run game propelled BHS to a 16-10 win.

Lionel Twitty made the play of his BHS career by deflecting a Wildcat pass inside the Pirate 10-yard line to preserve the win. Camden was the #2 seed in Region 1-7A.

September 9, 2022: BHS played in the inaugural Georgia/Florida High School Football Classic at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirate defense completely shut down Bolles in a 20-3 win. This was another game the experts predicted BHS to lose.

September 16, 2022: BHS beat Islands High School 49-0 in a very lopsided contest. Outcome was never in doubt.

September 23, 2022: BHS hammered Glynn Academy 55-21 to win its third consecutive City Championship.

The Pirate offense was clicking throughout the contest and Glynn’s only scores came on trick plays and a fluke pass deflection.

The 55 points scored by BHS were the most ever for the Pirates in the long and storied history of the City Championship Series. BHS leads the all-time series 40-37-2.

September 28, 2022: BHS traveled to Grovetown in Augusta for a Wednesday contest that was moved up due to Hurricane Ian.

Touchdown Terry Mitchell scored 4 TDs on his birthday and the Pirates won a 56-39 shootout to stay undefeated on the season.

October 7, 2022: BHS hosted Lakeside Evans at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirates took control of the game early and cruised to a 44-10 win.

The Pirate defense dominated the contest.

October 21, 2022: BHS traveled to Guyton and hammered South Effingham 42-3.

BHS scored 6 touchdowns in their first 19 offensive plays. Mitchell caught a 54-yard TD pass from JR Elkins on the first offensive play of the game.

The Mustangs kicked a 42-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining on a running clock to avoid the shutout.

October 27, 2022: BHS traveled to Evans and lost LB Devin Smith for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle just two minutes into the contest.

The Pirates turned it over 6 times on the night in an ugly 28-7 win to stay unbeaten.

November 4. 2022: The Pirates held on late to beat Effingham 30-27 for the region championship in possibly the worst officiated game I have ever witnessed in person.

The story of the contest was yellow flags that wiped out two Pirate scores in the contest.

November 11, 2022: First round playoff game with Houston County.

The Bears rolled up 600 yards of total offense and led 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

The Pirates put on a furious rally and tied the game with 48 seconds left, and HOCO missed a 32 yards FG to win it with one second left on the clock to win it in regulation.

BHS scored to lead 28-21 in OT and Houston scored to cut it to 28-27 and went for two points and converted to end the BHS season with a 29-28 win.

This senior class won 35 games and three city and region championships. That ranks this group as one of the best in BHS history.

Garrett Grady should be region coach of the year.

Ka‘Shawn Thomas should be your defensive player of the year in the region.

Terry Mitchell should be your offensive player of the year in the region.

Things are looking pretty good right now on Altama Avenue.

Let’s Get It On

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The high school football regular season is over and the playoffs are now here. Let’s take a look at some of the top 7A teams and their road to the state championship.

#1 Buford: The Wolves (10-0) just moved up to 7A this season, but they have not had any trouble adjusting. They have won three consecutive state championships in 6A and 5A.

They have won state championships in every classification prior to moving up to 7A.

They are the number one seed in region 8-7A and they are playing Peachtree Ridge.

The Lions (6-4) are the No. 4 seed from region 7-7A. In their four loses the closest margin of victory was 21 points. I expect Buford to beat them by a large margin.

The second round will be against the winner of South Forsyth/#8 Walton.

#2 Colquitt County: The Packers (10-0) are region 1-7A champs. They are led by senior running back A’Marius Pace, junior quarterback Neko Fann and junior wide receiver Ny’Quavion Carr. They host No. 4 see Pebblebrook (4-6) from region 2-7A.

Colquitt County only has one win by less than 20 points this season. They will beat up on Pebblebrook. The second round they will face the winner of Harrison/Brookwood.

#3 Carrolton: The Trojans (10-0) are not a team we typically see ranked at the end of the season. They have had an impressive season and won region 2-7A. They host Lowndes (5-5) in the first round. This is a down year for the Vikings so I expect Carrolton to beat them. The next round will be against Marietta or Newton.

#4 North Cobb: The Warriors (8-2) had high hopes coming into the season. They played #1 Buford in the second game of the season and lost 21 – 14. Unfortunately, four-star senior quarterback Malachi Singleton played the entire second half with a broken foot. That was his last game of the season and he has had surgery.

Even with their best player sidelined North Cobb has had a good season and they won region 5-7A.

They host Denmark (6-4) from region 6. The Danes have some talented players on their team. This could be a close game. If the Warriors win, they will face the winner of Mill Creek/Meadowcreek.

#5 Mill Creek: The Hawks (9-1) have the top player in the state, five-star safety Caleb Downs. They also have three-star linebacker and Clemson commit, Jamal Anderson Jr. As you can guess, he’s the son of the former Atlanta Falcons running back.

Their only loss was to Buford, 39 – 27.

Mill Creek hosts another Gwinnett County team, Meadowcreek. I think the Hawks are actually the second-best team in 7A and I expect them to make a deep playoff run.

#6 Grayson: The Rams (8-2) were undefeated and won the state championship in 2020. They are trying to get back to that in 2022.

The best player on the team is four-star safety Michael Daugherty. They are the top seed in region 4-7A and host No. 4 seed Hillgrove. If they win that game, they will play the winner of East Coweta and Camden County.

#7 Lambert: The Longhorns (9-1) seem to be flying under the radar despite having a great season. They play 3 seed Wheeler in the first round. If they win, they will face the winner of North Gwinnett/Dacula.

I think Buford will win the championship but I’m ready to see how these teams perform.

 

Camden Resurgence

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It has been a tough road for the Camden County Wildcats over the past few years.

The Wildcats have suffered through back-to-back losing seasons in 2020 and 2021. The program has not beaten the “big dogs” in region 1-7A, the Colquitt County Packers and the Lowndes County Vikings, since 2015. The Wildcats knocked off the Vikings that year 38-19 en route to a 10-2 season.

2015 is also the last time Camden won a playoff game. The Wildcats hosted the Hillgrove Hawks and handled them 38-17.

Since 2016 Camden has amassed a record of 29-34.

Here’s my point…last season Camden hired Jeff Herron as their head coach to turn the program around and put the Wildcats back on an elite trajectory.

There has been a change in Kingsland in year two and it has been impressive to this point.

The Wildcats got off to rough start. Camden dropped their opener to the Columbia Eagles. A team most predicted they would have on a running clock by the 4th quarter. Instead, the Eagles shocked the Wildcats and won a 13-10 contest.

The following week the Wildcats went up to Brunswick and lost a hard fought 16-10 contest to the Brunswick High Pirates. That was the turning point.

It has almost been that the proverbial switch got flipped after that loss.

The next week the Wildcats hosted the Glynn Academy Red Terrors and played with a chip or edge or what ever you’d like to call it. But it felt different. The Wildcats trounced the Red Terrors 37-7.

Since that point the Wildcats have played B.E.S.T. Academy, Somerset Academy and Atlantic Coast. While none of these schools are state powers, the Wildcats did what they were supposed to do in these games, win convincingly and more importantly, get better.

Since the BHS game, Camden’s varsity has outscored their opponents 177 to 7.

The defense is flying around the field making plays, the kids seemed to have gotten comfortable with the Wing-T on offense and things are beginning to feel normal again around Camden County.

Camden has won four in a row entering region play. Richmond Hill is up first. Camden will head up I-95 to take on the other Wildcats in a couple weeks. This may end up being the most important game of the season.

After that the Wildcats travel to Moultrie to take on Colquitt County, then back at home against Valdosta and Lowndes to wrap up the regular season.

Is this team going to win a state title, probably not. Are they going to win the region, they are not expected to.

However, what this team will be is…..the team that turned the program around and got Camden moving back in the right direction and becoming a state force again.

Oh, and as far as beating Lowndes and/or Colquitt and winning a playoff game, those droughts end with this team as well.

The River

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It has been said that you won’t get recruited to play college ball if you play at a small private school with less than 400 students.

Jordan Triplett’s texts at 12:01am on September 1st would say otherwise.

“We had been sending out stats and video clips for years, knowing that no one could reply,” says the Junior phenom running back from Frederica Academy. “At the end of last year, I was really wondering if anyone was watching. (Frederica Head Coach) Brandon Derrick just said to be patient. When midnight on Sept 1st hit, it exploded. It was such a relief.”

“Coach Derrick just said ‘told ya so.’”

Nicknamed “The River,” the Class of 2024 offensive star of the Knights has been putting up staggering numbers since his freshman year. Thrust into the starting role in the fourth game of the year, he never looked back.

In his first start against Brantley County, Triplett put up a staggering 163 yards on 26 carries. By the time the year was over, Jordan was the #1 RB in the nation for his graduating class.

“All this time, I knew I was putting up the numbers but I wondered what I was missing?”

It seems all he was missing was time. September 1st was the first day that college coaches could reach out to high school juniors in regards to recruiting. As soon as the clock hit midnight, Triplett had a good idea his work was going to pay off.

“The first message that came at midnight was from Mercer,” says his father, Mark Triplett. “Then came Princeton, then Dartmouth. Florida Atlantic invited him to Junior Day & their invite only camp. The next morning there were a dozen schools in just the first day.”

As of three weeks later, a total of 15 schools have reached out, including Georgia Southern, Vanderbilt in the SEC, Iowa State in the Big 12, UConn from the AAC, and a laundry list of Ivy League & service academy squads; Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, Penn, Air Force, and Army.

Of the schools that have reached out so far, Jordan, his dad, and his mom all have their favorites (although they won’t be revealed here).

“Yes, I have a preference, but honestly I don’t think past the scholarships,” according to his mom Becky, a teacher at Frederica Academy. “Jordan wants to play, and mom doesn’t want to have to pay for it if she doesn’t have to,” she said with a smile.

The Ivy League schools aren’t a stretch for Jordan. He currently has a 4.2 GPA with a full load of AP classes.

“I’ve got to give that credit to mom and dad. We knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest or the biggest, but they knew that if I was a little good at football but had the academics, I’d have a chance to go play at the next level at some of the finest schools in the country.”

His father has been not only his biggest supporter and chauffeur, but his social media hype man as well.

“I’ve been doing this for a while,” says Mark. “Frederica has a small staff, no designated recruiter like some schools. I was really excited that over the last year that we sent out all these questionnaires and film, not knowing what they think about it since they couldn’t reach out. Then on the first day to finally hear from 12-15 teams that did like it, it was confirmation.”

Jordan obviously appreciates the effort.

“It’s funny, when I heard from Iowa State, I was like ‘how did THEY hear about me?’ and Dad said ‘I filled out a recruiting questionnaire.’ I said ‘when?’ He said ‘Ninth grade.’”

Jordan does have an as-of-yet unnamed dream school. They’ve made no official contact with him, but they have spoken to Coach Derrick about coming to a game.

The final goal is, of course, setting himself up for a chance at the NFL.

“I remember sitting in my bed in Montana with my six Cam Newton FatHeads, telling mom I was going to play in the NFL while jumping into a Carolina Panthers bean bag. I’ve always had that dream. Mom and Dad have driven me to all these camps, spent all that registration money. I’m going to have to eventually mow the lawn a lot.”

If the next six years go as planned, he’ll be able to buy them a new house to go with that lawn.

Wind In The Sails

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The high school football regular season is already a third of the way finished. One local team sailing high are the Brunswick High School Pirates.

First year head coach Garrett Grady has the Pirates sitting at 3-0 on the young season with back-to-back impressive wins against Camden County and The Bolles School out of Jacksonville, Florida, which have a combined 14 state titles.

What is impressive about this group of Pirates is that these kids have bought into everything Coach Grady has instilled this offseason.

Off season conditioning, where the entire team improved on their strength numbers. BHS has ten players currently in the 1000-pound club. Last season the program had three players in the club. The 1000-pound club is a combination of max bench press, squat, and power clean in the weight room.

Most players increased their strength individually by 20 to 25% during this past offseason. The benefits of that show up in the second half of games like the Camden and Bolles contests where BHS wore these quality opponents down when it matters the most.

Off the field during the spring and summer the football program was very visible in the community. Community service projects, volunteer opportunities the Pirates have been seen around town this offseason.

Garrett Grady has instilled a culture of helping and mentoring kids around the community. I personally saw Harvard commit Jayden Drayton teaching kids’ proper fundamentals at a 7–8-year-old football camp this summer.

I was told by a family member that senior LB Lionel Twitty provided them with the best customer service experience they have had in years at Home Depot on a blazing scorching summer day when Twitty refused to let them assist him in loading materials on a trailer for a big home project under construction.

The program motto is “All About the Family.” This is not just a catchphrase folks these kids live it because their coaching staff coaches them on this every single day.

Character education is huge aspect of this football program, and the culture of the Brunswick High football program revolves around this.

Just this past weekend, BHS coaches worked at The Georgia/Florida football classic at Glynn County Stadium in supporting roles making sure the event was as success. BHS staff was there from start to finish on Thursday and Saturday for the seven-game event.

Brunswick had a game on Friday night but worked to support the school system for the other six games that were played. That speaks volumes about the quality of the BHS coaching staff. Twelve to fourteen hour days on Thursday through Saturday, then a long workday on Sunday getting ready for the upcoming opponent.

On the field, BHS may field the best defense the school has seen since 1999. Unsung heroes like Jordan Jimerson, Ivan Johnson, Zion Turner, and Keon Leggett do not get all the headlines but make their presence felt every Friday night.

Did you see that hit Leggett made on a Bolles receiver last Friday night? Ronnie Lott would have been proud.

On offense, unsung heroes like OL Eli Smith, OL Jonathan Welson, OL Quan Gibson, and OL Josh Walker wear down opposing defensive fronts every week. They just do their job.

QB J.R. Elkins is getting better every single week. You have young running backs in William Heck and Jamarius Towns that will be household names in Brunswick soon.

The Pirates also have a young LB on defense J’Shawn Towns that will knock you into next week.

Then you have a kid who waited his turn in Taivon Gadson, who made the game changing play last week against Bolles when he returned an interception to the goal line that changed the complexion of the Bolles game. The Pirates went on to win 20-3. BHS was trailing 3-0 in the third quarter when Gadson rose to the occasion when his team needed it the most.

Every good football team is full of unsung heroes. I just highlighted a few this week.

It is really “All About the Family” for the BHS football program.

Garrett Grady was a great hire by BHS.

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