Brunswick High Pirates

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.

Armed Pirates

By: Teddy Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com 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

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com 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

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com 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.

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Loaded Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com 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.

Pirates Passage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Kanaya Charlton is going into his senior season at Brunswick High School.

Number 69 for the Blue and Gold stands at 6’5 and weighs in at around 335 pounds. At that size Charlton is a pretty good athlete. He has quick feet and plays multiple positions along the Pirate offensive line which he will anchor in 2021.

He currently holds 22 committable offers from some big-name schools. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech just to give you a sample size.

On the academic side Mr. Charlton has a 3.8 GPA and is fully qualified. He will graduate BHS early and will enroll in college in January 2022.

Things I noticed in the interview for this article was that Kanaya is a yes sir/no sir type of kid with a firm hand shake and he looks you in the eye when he talks to you.

Charlton’s head coach Sean Pender had to following to say about his highly recruited offensive line prospect: “Kanaya is a young man that wants to get better daily. He takes hard coaching very well, and he can play anywhere along the offensive line when we need him to do so. College coaches look for that versatility in kids they recruit plus he is a great student so we don’t worry about him producing in the classroom. He has gone from a shy kid when he arrived in 9th grade into a confident young man who now addresses the team in meetings in a leadership role. He is the type of kid that is going to show you every single day that he is up for any task we throw at him.”

I spoke with BHS Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach, Garrett Grady who is Charlton’s position coach and he offered the following comments: “Kanaya is a complete student-athlete. He cares about his academics as well as his performance on the field. He is a genuine person who truly cares about everyone around him. His development from his freshman year to now is amazing. He has made tremendous gains in the weight room becoming one of the strongest members of this team. Kanaya has stepped into a leadership role this year and has raised the level intensity & pride of this team. I am very proud of the young man he is becoming and looking forward to what the future holds for Kanaya Charlton. Expect Great things from him!”

I asked Kanaya a few questions regarding this season and his college plans:

What does this coaching staff at BHS mean to you? “My coaches have been there as role models for me. That is an amazing feeling. I feel like they are a huge reason why I’m in the position I am in today”.

What do you like about this 2021 BHS football team? “Since I have been here our team and coaching staff have gotten better every single season. Our goals this year are: City Championship, Region Championship, State Championship. Being put out in the second round the past two seasons has really left a bad taste in our mouth. We are going to change that in 2021. I want our group of seniors this fall to be known as the class that changed our program culture from just being a winning program into a championship program. That is a huge step for our program”

College choice, any thoughts on where you might go? “Today FSU is my #1 choice. I am going there on an official visit this month. I have been on many unofficial visits there so far. The coaches there make me feel the most at home. I will probably make my official commitment to the school I choose either the last week of June or the first week of July. I want to get this behind me so I can 100% focus on my senior season at BHS”. Charlton has indeed committed to go to Florida State.

What will you major in at college? “Life Sciences with a possible focus on Marine Biology”.

Any last comments? “Pirate Pride and remember it is “All about the Family” at Brunswick High School.

 

 

The Willis Way

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Recently The Glynn County Board of Education approved the renaming of the BHS field house in honor of longtime BHS coach John Willis.

The “John Willis Field House” will be named after a man who roamed the sidelines at historic Lanier Field and Glynn County Stadium from 1980-2001.

For 22 seasons John Willis was the face of Pirate football and will always be the face of Pirate Football to me because John Willis is MY football coach.

I played on his first two football teams in 1980 and 1981. Pirate football is a passion to me to this day because of one man and one man only and his name is John Willis.

The situation at Brunswick High School in 1979/1980 was similar to what we see in our country currently which was a lot of racial division. Our program was coming off a horrible 0-10 season. Our head coach resigned and I was going into my junior year at BHS. Our school needed someone who could unite and bring us all together.

John Willis was named head football coach at BHS in the summer of 1980. I met John Willis for the first time on a hot steamy practice field behind the old BHS campus around 7AM in early August of that year.

Our first game in the 1980 season was a road game at Camden County. Keep in mind we had not won a football game in two years, and the first thing out of the mouth of our new coach was when we beat Camden. Not we are or we hope it was when we beat Camden.

Then we proceeded to run 21, yes 21, I’ll never forget, 100-yard gassers. Coach Willis said I want to find out who is going to quit on me because if you quit on this practice field then you will quit on me on Friday night.

Coach would chant “what kind of meat?” we would answer Wildcat meat. That became our preseason rally cry. We became a football team in three short weeks.

We loaded the bus and went down to Camden on a Friday afternoon for that season opener. John Willis had a way of making you want to run to run through a wall for him. We believed we were going to beat Camden that night and we did 6-2.

We were all jumping for joy on the field and the first person who hugged me when the horn went off was John Willis and his quote was “I told you so Kipp”.

Outside of my own Father I can’t think of another man I respect more than John Willis in this world today. We went on to become a playoff team my senior season in 1981 and when I see my former team members there is always a special bond from that season when we became a winning football team.

John Willis made us into winners and the lessons he taught us on the practice field still hold true today. If you believe, work harder, and never give up then not many folks will beat you in life.

The ‘John Willis Way’ gave two decades of Pirate football letterman a solid foundation for life. I’m told the road from Habersham Street to the John Willis Field House will be called John Willis Way.

Former players have called Habersham Street John Willis Way for years because John Willis helped teach us how to become a man.

The ‘John Willis Way’ is the only way I know how to approach the game of football. Thank you coach for all you have done for Brunswick High School. Next stop for you should be The Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame. You taught me Pirate Pride coach!

Loaded Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is only May but football is in the air.

I went out and observed the Brunswick High Blue and Gold game this past week and here are my 15 instant observations:

1)Brunswick will run the football on anyone they line up against this fall.

The running game looked special in the game. Kobe Hill, Ree Simmons, and Leon Charlton are a special group of running backs.

2)Jayden Drayton has a burst that I haven’t seen in a while on Altama Avenue.

Drayton played QB, WR, DB, and returned punts yesterday. This kid has the “It” factor and a different kind of football speed you don’t see a lot these days on the high school level.

3)Kobe Hill is back to 100%. Hill sprained his knee in the season opener last season, and just didn’t have his normal speed last year as he recovered.

Hill had a couple of TDs in the game, with one being a long TD run off of a screen pass where he ran away from a fast secondary. Chuckobe Hill is back folks.

4)Brunswick’s offensive line looked very good. LT Kanaya Charlton is a big-time player and Charlton and RT Jamal Meriweather look like human skyscrapers. This offensive line is huge folks.

5)Brunswick has size and depth on the defensive line. Kashawn Thomas should have a big season this fall.

Defensive line looked good at times. Defensive front put good pressure on the QB most of the day.

6)Leon Charlton has slimmed down and has gained some quickness. For some reason I feel like this kid is going to have a very good season this fall. Hill and Simmons get the headlines at RB, but there is just something about this kid. He makes plays.

7)Deep passing game struggled. It was very windy and some balls were overthrown. Short passing game and screen package looked good.

8)Jeffery Waye looked like an experienced QB yesterday. I see a lot of potential at the QB position.

Sutton Ellis led a couple of scoring drives, and Jayden Drayton looked good running the ball out of the QB position.

9)There is a lot of speed and depth in the BHS secondary. I like what I see on the backend of this defense.

10)There is talent at LB, but I want to see more consistent play from the group. BHS lost a ton of experience in this group to graduation. Size, speed, and numbers are there just need more consistency.

11)Kicking game could be a strength. Anthony Elvine boomed a couple of punts with the wind at his back. McClain Fineran looked solid on extra points.

12)BHS has some tall kids at WR. I like Kevin Thomas. He has bulked up and can run. Look for him to have a solid season.

13)Game was well attended. There seems to be a buzz about this team. You can sort of feel it in the air.

14)Don’t be surprised if BHS plays 2 QB’s this fall, and don’t be surprised if Sean Pender rotates them in and out on every play like Steve Spurrier did some while he was at Florida.

15)Long snapping is a big concern.

Sean Pender told me after the game that he thought BHS could have played a lot better especially in the passing game, but said we’ll fix that over the summer.

Personally, I thought they looked good. My blood runs Blue and Gold but folks that know me understand that.

Get ready Pirate fans this fall could be fun.

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.