Brunswick High Pirates

Successful Pirate Voyage

By: Kipp Branch 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.





X Marks The Spot

By: Kipp Branch news services

Garrett Grady begins year two as the captain of the Brunswick High Pirate football program. Year one was a solid success with a 10-1 record with a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to Houston County in the playoffs.

I sat down with Coach Grady to discuss this upcoming season. “I am excited for this fall. I like the fight in this football team. We have some talented players returning on both sides of the ball. I thought we had a great spring practice, and we have picked up on that this summer. We had a tough contact camp with Thomas County Central, Ware County, and Cedartown recently and our kids competed hard. The programs we competed against are elite and we found out plenty about our guys. We know they want to compete, and the effort was outstanding. Effort is something we can control. If we bring max effort, then we can overcome some inexperience we have in a couple of position groups.”

“Our program had a tragedy this summer where we lost a super young man and great human being MyKal Ellis. We are going to dedicate our 2023 season to the memory of this young man. He was such a pleasure to coach and be around. This adversity has brought our kids and all the Pirate nation closer together.”

Let us look at the position groups:

RB: Jamarious Towns and William Heck return for their junior seasons. They combined for right at 1,300 yards rushing and 11 TD’s last fall.

Grady added “We have two solid running backs in those two, and we expect and demand great things from them. The remarkable thing about them is they come to work daily and want to be great.”

QB: Jarrod Elkins returns for his senior season after passing for 1,500 yards and 19 TDs in 2022.

“JR has a cannon for an arm, and he can make any kind of throw we need him to make. He is more experienced this fall, and we feel he can get us where we need to go as a football team.”

WR: TJ Mitchell known in the Golden Isles as “Touchdown Terry” is a game changer.

“There is nothing he cannot do with the football in his hands” added his head coach.

“He can make people miss him in a phone booth. We have some talent in this group.”

OL: Jack Hunt will lead a talented but young inexperienced group. “We must grow up fast this fall in the OL.”

DL: “Donyea Broughton and River Creel have played a lot of football for us over the past three years, and they will lead solid group I feel very good about.”

LB: Devin Smith, the returning region defensive player of the year will anchor a solid Pirate defense.

Grady says “If you produced an all-time Brunswick High football team, he would be on it. He is our team leader on defense and in the locker room. He is a dude and QB’s do not pat the ball when he is coming off the edge.”

J’shawn Towns led the Pirates in tackles with 88 last fall, returns for his junior season.

“He is a thumper. When he hits folks, they go down in a hurry” added Grady.

DB: “Tavion Gadson and Tyler Sams give us a solid core in the secondary.”

Special Teams: “Nobody works harder at their craft than Mcclain Fineran and he has developed into a solid kicker for us.”

Grady added that “Our schedule is tough. We open at Camden and that will tell us all we need to know about our football team right out of the gate. We travel to Effingham to close the regular season and the last two years that game has been for the region championship. These seniors have a chance to go out as 4-time region champions. We shared the title when they were ninth graders and have won it outright the past two seasons. There is a lot to play for. And of course, nobody around here is happy with our playoff results lately. That has really eaten at us this offseason.”

Coach Of The Year

By: Kipp Branch news services

Brunswick High Pirates Head Coach Garrett Grady was named Region 2-AAAAAA Coach of the Year.

Grady guided the Pirates to a 10-1 record in his first year as a head coach.

Since Grady was named the Head Coach back in February, he has had the Midas touch on everything concerning Brunswick High football.

Grady came to BHS in 2017 as part of Sean Pender’s staff, serving as Offensive Coordinator.

The Superintendent of the Glynn County School System Dr. Scott Spence had this to say about Coach Grady:

“It is rare for a large high school to hire a head coach that is already on staff. The hiring of Coach Grady at BHS was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made, and it seems to be turning out just fine. With Coach Grady it is more about developing the whole student athlete rather than just winning football games. Coach Grady cares about the ‘now’ with his kids and will most definitely be there for them in the future. On behalf of the entire school system, I congratulate Coach Grady on this well-deserved honor”

Garrett Grady graduated in 2006 from Pierce County High School in Blackshear, GA.

Once he graduated, he attended Valdosta State University, where he continued his football career.

At VSU he earned his Master’s in Public Administration and his Bachelor’s in Arts (History).

Grady began coaching in 2010 as a student assistant with Valdosta State’s Offensive Line and moved into the Offensive Line Graduate Assistant position the following year.

He was promoted to Running Back’s Coach in 2012 and successfully coached the group of running backs during Valdosta State’s 2012 National Championship season.

He spent three years on the VSU coaching staff before he returned to Pierce County High in 2013.

Grady spent four years at PCHS where he was the Running Backs Coach (2013, 2014) & Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach (2015, 2016).

Coach Grady is entering his 6th year at Brunswick High and his 1st year as the Head Football Coach. He has served as the Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach since 2017.

Grady commented on being named the Region COY:

“I am honored to be named Region 2-AAAAAA Coach of the Year. This is a great testament of what our program is all about-All About the Family. I would like to say thank you to the administration, coaching staff & coaches’ families, players, & community, because without each one of you our success is not possible. I would like to say a special Thank You to my wife, Erica Grady, for supporting me throughout my career and the sacrifices you make, I know it is not easy being a coach’s wife. I look forward to building upon our positive culture and family atmosphere here at Brunswick High School.”

The Pirate Ship is in good hands for the foreseeable future.

Gold Rush

By: Kipp Branch 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.



Pirates’ Journey

By: Kipp Branch 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.

Wind In The Sails

By: Kipp Branch 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.

Armed Pirates

By: Teddy Bishop news services

In 2021, the Brunswick High Pirates rolled to an 11-1 record that included a city championship, a region championship, and a second-round playoff appearance.

In 2022, the Pirates have a new head coach, a different region, and aspirations of a much deeper run in the playoffs.

Garrett Grady has taken over as the Head Pirate after five years as offensive coordinator at BHS. Almost all of the coaching staff from last season has returned, which should be a big plus for the Pirates. “The coaches have done a great job developing relationships with our guys,” Coach Grady said in a recent interview with Bishop Media. “Our hashtag is still ‘All About the Family.’ “

When asked about his offensive scheme, Grady said it will reflect the personnel. “We want to play to our strengths,” he added. “We have a great offensive line,” with Quan Gibson, Jamal Meriweather, Eli Smith, and Jonathan Welson returning. “We also have some experienced receivers in Terry Mitchell and Jayden Drayton,” among others.

“We have a new quarterback in J.R. Elkins. I think he will be able to put the ball in space on the outside. We’ll run a lot of zone and gap schemes.”

Replacing Chuckobe Hill and Ree Simmons at running back will not be easy, but Grady is pleased with the performances of several running backs, including William Heck.

As for defense, “We have seven or eight defensive starters returning from last year,” said Grady, including Ka’Shawn Thomas, last year’s region defensive player of the year, and a Wake Forest commit. “Our defense will revolve around Ka’Shawn.  He can disrupt a lot of offenses. “

“Everything we do defensively is based out of a 3-4,” Grady added, “but we’ll run multiple fronts out of it. We also have good experience returning at linebacker and in the secondary.”

Special teams should also be a strength for Brunswick High. McClain Fineran, who led the region in scoring last season, will return as kicker for the Pirates. “We’re going to be very athletic on special teams,” Grady asserted.

Brunswick High is still in Region 2-6A, but with some changes. GHSA realignment dropped Bradwell, Richmond Hill, and Statesboro from 2-6A; and added three Augusta schools—Evans, Grovetown, and Lakeside Evans.

The Pirates kick off the season August 19 at Glynn County Stadium on the newly installed artificial turf against Andrew Jackson High School, followed by Camden County (August 26), also at home.

Following a bye week, Brunswick High will host Bolles (September 9) as part of the Border War Classic, and then Islands (September 16) to conclude non-region play.

Region play begins on September 23 for the Pirates against Glynn Academy in the City Championship Game, with the winner earning the inside track for a region title.

Brunswick High will then travel to Augusta to take on Grovetown (September 30), followed by Lakeside Evans (October 7) back at Glynn County Stadium.

The Pirates will have another bye week on October 14 before traveling to Guyton and taking on South Effingham (October 21.)

BHS will make its second trip to Augusta (October 28) to do battle with Evans. Grady’s Pirates will conclude regular-season play at home against Effingham (November 4).

“It’s a tough schedule,” Grady related, “but that’s how we want it.  We’re going to be battle tested.”

Five rounds of state playoff games begin on November 11, with the state championship game scheduled for the second week in December.

“I want to commend my coaching staff and players,” Grady said in conclusion.  “Everyone’s been working hard, and we’re excited about the upcoming season.”

It says here that Garrett Grady’s Brunswick High Pirates win another city championship, another region championship, and make a deep, deep, deep, deep run in the state playoffs.




New Captain Coming

By: Kipp Branch news services

My friend Sean Pender will be the next football coach at North Hall High School in Hall County, Georgia.

I’m excited for Sean, Dana and the kids as they move to this next chapter in their lives.

I know Sean will be successful because the man is a winner and he has a passion for developing young boys into men. That, folks, is what life is about. Winning and losing football games matter to the casual fan, but building a top-notch football program is way more than that. Winning is a result of the foundations that have been built.

When Sean Pender took the BHS job in 2017 the program was pretty much at rock bottom. No discipline, academics were not up to par, and the list goes on and on.

Sean Pender went to work to reverse the sorry culture that had taken root at Brunswick High School and in 5 short years he built the program into a contender. The 2021 Pirates went 10-0 in the regular season and finished 11-1 in the best season in the program since 1999.

Sean Pender has left his mark on the program. Here is the proof:

Record: 35-21. A .625 winning percentage which stands currently as the best in school history.

Playoff Wins: 3. Prior to the Pender tenure the last playoff win for BHS was in 2010.

Region Championships: 2. Pender shared a region title in 2020 with two other schools and won it outright in 2021. BHS has 8 region football titles in its football history dating back to 1968. Pender produced 25% of those championships in 5 years.

Perfect Regular Season: 1. The 2021 Pirates went undefeated in the regular season. The school has 3 undefeated regular seasons in school history. Sean Pender accomplished that in his 5th season.

Coaching Staff: Sean Pender has developed the best coaching staff in this area in my opinion. A loyal dedicated staff. The program mission statement of “All About The Family” is as real as it gets. The kids and coaches love each other and go to battle like that on every Friday night.

Culture: Sean Pender turned a losing selfish culture into a championship culture in 5 short years that is on a solid foundation moving forward.

My wife, Sandra and I have a great friendship with Sean and Dana Pender that will continue despite the fact that they will be in North Georgia.

The best thing you can say about a football coach is did they leave the program in better shape than they found it? Well Sean Pender left BHS in 100% better shape than he found it. Sean Pender leaves a winning culture at BHS.

I’m going to miss my dear friend. I love him and his family. I will also will be eternally grateful for the impact the Pender’s had on the school I love with a passion the Brunswick High Pirates.

Well done my friend. Now go build a championship culture at North Hall High School.

You are one hell of a football coach! The 27th Annual Branch Camping Trip dates are January 11-15, 2023. The committee met and Sean Pender is now an official 5-Star Camper! That’s the equivalent of a State Title in football.

The Contenders

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We are entering the last week of the regular season for Georgia high school football.

At this point we have separated the contenders from the pretenders. Let’s take a look at 6A to see who will bring home the state championship.

#1 Buford: The Wolves (8 – 1) lost to Chaminade-Madonna (FL), 7 – 0. They beat the #2 team in 7A, North Cobb, which is their only loss. Buford has only given up two points in region play. The last game of the season is at Dacula.

Last season was Buford’s first season in 6A after winning the 5A state championship in 2019. They beat Lee County in the championship game 34 -31. Senior wide receiver Isiah Bond is the No. 8 recruit in Georgia for the class of 2022 and he’s a four-star player. He’s committed to Florida.

Senior safety Jake Pope is also a four-star prospect and he’s committed to Alabama. Corner back Ryland Gandy has committed to Pitt. Running back Victor Venn has committed to Colorado. Quarterback Ashton Daniels is a Stanford commit.

The Wolves will win their third consecutive state title this season.

#2 Lee County: The Trojans (9 – 1) are on a collision course to meet Buford in the state championship game again. Their lone loss was a blowout against 5A Warner Robins, 56 – 30.

They beat North Miami Beach 68 – 49 to begin the month of October. It’s alarming that the defense has shown they will give up a lot of points.

Senior linebacker Jaron Willis is a four-star recruit and committed to Georgia Tech.

Offensive tackle Qae’shon Sapp is a three-star player and he committed to Florida State.

Safety Quavian Carter is also a three-star recruit and he committed to Michigan State.

Safety Malcolm Jones is a Virginia Tech commit.

On paper this team is as talented as any team in the state.

#3 Langston Hughes: The Panthers (8 – 1) lost the season opener 7 – 6 to 7A Newton. They reeled off eight consecutive wins after that. They beat crosstown rival, #6 Westlake 31 – 24.

Junior offensive tackle Bo Hughley is a four-star player and committed to Georgia. At 6’7 and 290 pounds he’s one of the most physically imposing players in Georgia.

Safety Terrance Love and wide receiver Robert Lockhart III are also a four-star players.

The final regular season game is Friday against Morrow. Hughes is legit and I expect them to make a deep run in the playoffs.

#4 Brunswick: The Pirates (9 – 0) are a bit of a surprise. Their undefeated and on the verge of winning region 2-AAAAAA. Their last game is at Effingham (6 -2), which will determine the region champion.

Senior OL Kanaya Charlton is a 4-star and is committed to Florida State.

#5 Rome: The Wolves (7 -2) are a perennial contender.

One of their loses was to the #1 7A team Collins Hill, which is expected. Their other loss was 34 – 32 to South Paulding, who is also in region 5-AAAAAA.

They have blown the rest of their opponents out.

The final game of the regular season is at Paulding County and they have a chance to win the region.

#8 Riverwood: The Raiders (8 – 1) are led by head coach Robert Edwards. As a running back at Georgia he’s most famous for leading them to their only victory against Florida while Steve Spurrier was the coach.

Riverwood has a prolific offense. They scored at least 24 points in every game this season.

They end the season at Chattahoochee.


Loaded Ship

By: Kipp Branch news services

Sean Pender is confident about his 2021 football team this fall. “We are involved in a culture change here. We are evolving from a winning program into a championship program. Our kids realize that and our coaches see that every day”.

QB: Senior Jeffery Waye looks like the starter going into the season. Waye played well in the back-up role last season. Sutton Ellis has played his way into the mix this summer, and Jayden Drayton, who is a special athlete will have some designed packages to use his talents. If BHS gets solid play from this group, then look out.

OL: Kanaya Charlton will move to guard this fall and Pender says “Kanaya Charlton is as good as they’ve had there and that says a lot”. Charlton committed to play at Florida State.

Jaquan Gibson and Jamal Meriweather make this a deep group. “For the first time since I have been here, we have good depth at the position” says Pender.

WR: The position is very deep in talent, Kevin Thomas, Pat Leggett and Jayden Drayton could make it the best WR unit in the region.

DL: Kayshawn Thomas will be back for his junior season with offers pouring in. Thomas will lead a group that consists of River Creel, Jordan Jimerson, and Jameer Lang.

LB: The Pirates have Staffon Stanley, Adam Mweemba, and Lionel Twitty that all started games last year at the position.

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 will get snaps also.  Deep group.

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 and they return for their senior season. Leon Charlton has emerged as a third option at the position.

Schedule/My Predictions in key matchups:

Aug 20 vs Pierce County: Pierce was a doormat before Sean Pender arrived on the scene a decade ago.

He played a major role in the evolution of that football program winning region titles and state playoff games. The Bears took the next step and won a state title last season and drilled BHS 31-10 in the season opener last season.

That has eaten at the fabric of Sean Pender for a year. Pierce comes to Glynn County Stadium and will lose to BHS.

Sept 24 vs Glynn: BHS broke a long losing streak in the series last season. Folks around Glynn County say the Red Terrors will throw the football more in 2021.

Instead of 2-3 passes a game they may throw 10 per game, who knows. BHS wins for the second year in a row.

Oct 8 @ Statesboro: Be ready Pirates. This one has TRAP GAME written all over it. Don’t get caught looking ahead to Richmond Hill.

Oct 15 vs Richmond Hill: BHS has lost 3 straight to the Wildcats. Until they prove it again to me, I’m calling this a loss.

This school has 600-700 more students than anyone else in the region. Time to play up or build another high school in Bryan County.

Other Wins: MCA, New Hampstead, Islands, South Effingham, Bradwell, and Effingham.

Best Case 10-0 Region Champions.

Worst Case 8-2 with losses to Glynn and Richmond Hill and a #3 seed in state playoffs

My Guess: 9-1 with a loss to Richmond Hill and a #2 seed and home playoff game in First Round.

Sean Pender says “It is time for us to take the next step, and I believe we have the pieces in place to do just that”.

Expectations are high on Altama Avenue.