Readying The Ship
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Brunswick High Pirates had a rough season in 2018 finishing 3-7 and missing the playoffs for sixth time since 2011.
Sean Pender hates losing more than anyone I know and you can see a fire in his eyes during the spring drills.
The Pirates started as many as 12 sophomores in 2018 and the inexperience showed, but those baby Pirates have grown in size and experience this offseason and are primed to turn the tables in 2019.
When asked about Spring Practice Pender said “We have had more intensity and competiveness than we had in all of 2018 in our two weeks of practice. The kids have worked extremely hard and it is showing”.
Brunswick has 16 kids coming back in 2019 with starting varsity experience. BHS will be going to a new 4-3 defensive alignment in 2019.
When you ask Pender about his defense the first named mentioned is Devin Lafayette. The rising senior defensive back is 6’2 and 190 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 forty-yard dash.
“This kid is a quiet leader that leads by example and his worked his way into being a division one football prospect”.
Look for Lafayette to lead a talented back end of a much-improved Pirate defense. Lafayette is fully qualified with a 3.3 GPA.
Freddy Towns is a lock down All-Region corner returning for his senior season. Pender says Towns can lock down one side of the field every Friday night.
AJ Wilson looks good at safety and at 200 pounds can bring the lumber in run support and he runs really well.
Octavis Butler, Ryne Buckley, and Camron Crump played a lot of snaps in 2018 at LB and have bulked up in the offseason.
Demetrius Hardee will also be counted on in the secondary. Keep an eye on newcomer Devonte Gadson at safety.
Trevon Smith has impressed Pender at one CB position, and Michael McGee will get looks at both CB and WR. Pender really likes McGee’s speed and length in the secondary.
Justin Akra will lead the Pirate defensive line and a name to remember is incoming freshman Kayshawn Thomas on the defensive line.
On offense the Pirates are stacked at wide receiver. Look for a huge break out season from Amarion Whitfield, and Marlon Carmena to return to the form he flashed in early 2018 before a high ankle sprain derailed his season.
Che Foy is great in space, and look for a huge season from “The Touchdown Machine” Xavier Bean, who can catch anything in his area code according to his head coach. Kyle Patterson is developing at the position as well.
Mitchell Richburg is a hybrid FB/TE and could be a factor in both the run and pass game.
Xavier Ramsey, Caleb Cook, and Kanaya Charlton will anchor the Pirate offensive line.
Charlton could be a 4 to 5-star recruit during the 2022 recruiting cycle. He is currently 6’5 and 330 pounds with very good athletic ability. Roderick Jones will also see significant playing time. Pender thinks this group can be really good barring injury.
Chuckobe Hill and Khamori Simmons will handle the running back position as both played significant downs as freshman in 2018. Pender like the toughness of his running backs.
Look for Jashawn Wilson to insert himself into the running back mix this fall.
At QB you have returning starters Anthony Mountain and KJ Lee, but both are battling injuries this spring.
Mountain had offseason ACL surgery and should be cleared to return by September. Pender loves his leadership qualities. Lee is battling a foot injury this spring, but has an elite arm.
With the injuries Jeffery Way has been getting a lot of first unit reps and the rising sophomore has worked hard according to his head coach.
Tyrease Jones has moved over from WR and has shown tremendous foot speed in space.
Kyle Rehberg will handle the PK/P duties and has a great work ethic.
Pender says “if we play like we have been working then we have a chance to be a pretty good football team in 2019, and we’ll definitely be much, much improved from 2018”.
Pender enters his third season as Pirate head coach this fall.