Back To Back?
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Let me go on record and say I have always respected Frederica Academy Head Football coach Brandon Derrick for his coaching abilities, but I have a new found respect for the man because he is an educator of young people to prepare them for life.
The man teaches 5 classes a day and I’m not talking PE classes, I’m talking college prep World History and Government courses on top of his role as head football coach.
The man’s plate is full and he has a passion for developing young people which is evident when you talk to him.
As for the 2019 football season the defending state champs have some big shoes to fill with departures.
But the coach says “I feel pretty good about the experience we have returning this fall. We played a lot of kids last year and we’ll be solid on the lines of scrimmage, running back and linebacker. We have Denver Anthony, Deke Jernigan, who are really good players coming back and we just need to stay consistent because we know what it takes to win and that is an intangible that mentally we have over other programs”.
08/23 at Charlton County: The Knights let the Indians off the hook on St. Simons last fall. Charlton has a new head coach. I have said all off season that I didn’t think Frederica would go down to Folkston and win. I have changed my mind Frederica beats Charlton 21-20 to go 1-0 on the season.
08/30 at Valwood: Frederica continues the brutal road slate with a trip to Valdosta to play a loaded Valwood team that has stocked the roster with Valdosta and Lowndes players that entered the transfer portal.
I think you get my drift here. This will be a tall task for the Knights and they fall early in the season 34-22 to Valwood to go 1-1 on the season. These teams will probably meet up again in the GISA State Playoffs.
09/06 vs Tiftarea Academy: The Panthers, a final four team in 2018, roll into St. Simons probably ranked in the top 5 in State.
The opening three games are brutal for the Knights. Frederica wins their home opener 28-24 to end this brutal opening stretch 2-1.
09/13 at Bethlehem Christian Academy: The Knights hung 62 on Bethlehem last season and will hang 50 on them in 2019. Knights 52-12 to go to 3-1 on the season.
09/20 vs Augusta Prep Day: Frederica dominates Augusta Prep 49-7 to go to 4-1 on the season.
10/04 vs Pinewood Christian: Will Pinewood be much improved in 2019? Maybe, but not that much improved. Frederica rolls 35-20 to go to 5-1 on the season.
10/11 at Westfield: This trip to Perry worries me for the Knights. Westfield is said to be improved in 2019. Westfield was a playoff team last season. Knights pull out a win late 24-21 to go to 6-1 on the season and 2-0 in the region.
10/18 at Trinity Christian: Trap game in Dublin for the Knights. The Crusaders went 7-5 in 2018. Frederica can’t get caught looking ahead to JMA and Bulloch. Frederica struggles, but wins an ugly 14-7 to go to 7-1 and set up a region title showdown with Bulloch Academy in two weeks.
11/01 at John Milledge Academy: Knights travel for the third straight week to Milledgeville to play the team many are picking to win the State Title in 2019.
The Knights blew out John Milledge for the title in 2018. JMA handles the Knights 28-21. Frederica drops to 7-2 on the season.
11/08 vs Bulloch Academy: Rivalry game. An angry set of Knights coming off a tough loss rebound and handle Bulloch Academy easy 31-10.
Not much love between Frederica and Bulloch Academy. Frederica wins another region championship and finishes 8-2 on the season.
Opposing Team view on Frederica: “I thought the Anthony kid was the best player on the field when we played them last year. They flat out put one on us, and we have them circled this year.
Brandon has done a fantastic job there, but I wonder about their feeder system and how long they can keep that thing going over there.
They won a State Championship last year and you have to think they will take a step back this year. That road schedule is brutal.
They will be battle tested and will be a tough out in the playoffs because of the winning culture they have there. This is one of the better GISA programs in the state. They have tremendous financial support there.”
Barring key injuries this team can make another deep playoff run.