Brunswick High Pirates

The Voyage Begins

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

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

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

Let’s take a look at position groups:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pirates Voyage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

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

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

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

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

BHS bounced back and beat MCA in week two.

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

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

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

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

 

OL- Caleb Cook

OL- Kanaya Charlton

DB: Amarion Whitfield

WR: Tyrease Jones

RB: Ree Simmons

LB: Zane Rosenbaum

 

Second Team Selections:

KJ Lee

Xaiver Bean

David Newbauer

Kayshawn Thomas

Kaleb Hampton

Camron Crump

Devontae Gadson

Anthony Elvine

 

Honorable Mention:

Kevin Thomas

Chukobe Hill

Quan Gibson

Keon Leggett

AJ Wilson

Kyle Rehberg

 

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

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

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

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

Pirate Pride

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

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

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

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

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

 

To look people in the eye when talking to them.

To speak about things that matter.

To commit to something and actually stick with it.

To work hard for goals that they set for themselves.

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

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

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

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

To learn the value of delayed gratification.

To appreciate structure and understand its value.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pirates Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After a huge win in the region opener against Glynn Academy the Brunswick High Pirates have an inside track to win the region. Here are my mid-season grades for Brunswick.

Special Teams: B+: Anthony Elvine has become a weapon punting the football.

He is close to setting a school record for punts downed inside the 15-yard line. He is a weapon he creates a long field for Pirate opponents.

Elvine is having an all-region season at punter.

Kyle Rehberg is putting many of his kickoffs in the end zone in 2020, and the big third quarter FG that gave BHS a 17-7 lead in the City Championship game ended up being the difference in a wild 24-21 win.

The Pirates are still waiting on the big kick return for BHS in 2020, but the special teams area, which has long been a weakness for BHS has become a team strength in 2020.

Defense: B+: The defense is giving up under 20 points per game this season.

Kashawn Thomas is starting to make a name for himself on the defensive line and has become that force in the middle of the defense for BHS.

We know what Cameron Crump and AJ Wilson can do at linebacker. Zane Rosenbaum was the defensive player of the game in the City Championship.

In the secondary Devontae Gadson is having a solid season. This unit, led by DC Thomas Tedder, is much improved in 2020.

The unit gave up two long TD drives in the 4th quarter against Glynn so there is room for improvement.

Offense: B: The offensive line coached up by OC Garrett Grady has become one of the best in South Georgia.

Caleb Cook and Kanaya Charlton are major college prospects at tackle.

Keegan Carroll, Jaquan Gibson, and David Newbauer round out a starting unit that can execute the power run game and protect the passer.

The Wolfpack or the running back group Ree Simmons and Chuckobe Hill are the best tandem in the region.

Simmons is having a great season, and Hill is back from an injury suffered in season opener.

The emergence of Leon Charlton has given BHS three great options at running back.

Tyrease Jones just made the greatest play in BHS history to win the City Championship game from that will forever be known as “The Miracle Between the Bricks” a 75-yard TD pass caught off of a deflection plus all-out sprint to the end zone that broke a losing streak in the series.

KJ Lee is having the season we all expected of him. Great arm talent.

Coaching: B+: Sean Pender has done a fantastic job with this team. The players love their coaches and there is a sense of unity on this team that stands out.

This team is still improving weekly. Pender has put his stamp on the program with the win over the Terrors.

There is still a lot of work to do with this team in 2020, but they are definitely heading in the right direction.

The goals for BHS every season are:

City Championship

Region Championship

State Championship

Goal #1 is complete now it is on to Goal #2, which will be decided over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned the 2020 football story is still being written at BHS because” It’s All About the Family” for the City Champions.