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.