Frederica Academy Knights 2022 Preview
By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
For the first time in his 10-year tenure, the season is approaching too quickly for Coach Brandon Derrick.
Thankfully, it has nothing to do with the status of his players. During the offseason, Frederica started a massive multi-million dollar renovation of their football facilities. Upgrades to the bleachers, press boxes, and a massive stone & cypress pavilion will make the home of the Knights one of the premier facilities in the GISA.
But the recent ongoing spell of rainy weather has delayed completion of the projects, and the Knights have had to take to the road for their Week 1 matchup against Brookwood and delay their home opener until Week 3 versus the Valwood Valiants.
Regardless of when they get it, the Frederica faithful are in for a treat under the oaks this year, both on the field and off.
“If we have some good luck the first three games we’ve got a good chance,” said Coach Derrick. “We’ve got a pretty good group of kids, and we have an opportunity to be right in the middle of it at the end of the season.”
Leading the charge this year will be new QB Sutton Ellis, who transferred to Frederica from Brunswick High after last season. Speaking about his new signal caller, Coach Derrick is quite complimentary.
“I think he fits in perfectly. He’s learned the offense; he knows what he’s doing out there. The biggest thing will be can he take some of the pressure off #4.”
Of course, the #4 in question is “The River,” RB Jordan Triplett. At the midway point of his high school career, Triplett has notched just over 3,400 yards rushing on 463 carries, averaging 7.4 YPC and finding paydirt a gaudy 47 times.
“To me he’s a Christian McCaffrey type. He’s gotten a step faster; he’s great coming out & catching the ball. He’s going to be lining up not just in the backfield this year. (New Offensive Coordinator) Bo Yeargan is going to get him in some matchups with people that they’re not going to like.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Coach Derrick is expecting big things from some of his rising freshmen.
“Down the road, I think Connor Pope could be our new Ashton (Frankel, c/o ’21 defensive powerhouse). He learned really fast this summer at camp. He and (fellow freshman) Fuller Wimberly could be difference makers.”
Here’s how we see the 2022 season shaping up for the Knights:
WEEK 1 – @Brookwood – Playing on the road will make things tougher against the Warriors, but the Knights find a way, starting the season with a 27-17 victory.
WEEK 2 – @Tiftarea – Chula, GA is never a n easy place to play, but the boys in Green & Grey get it done, 35-28.
Week 3 – vs. Valwood – Flipping this game to a home stand will help tremendously against one of Frederica’s toughest non-region rivals. The Knights christen the new facility with a hard-fought win to the tune of 42-31.
Week 4 – vs. Calvary Day – The Cavaliers finally make the trek to play under the oaks, but unfortunately the result doesn’t change. Calvary Day stretches their win streak against the Knights to three, beating the home squad 34-17.
Week 5 – @John Milledge – They still haven’t forgiven us for 2018, and they’ll remind us of that fact. It’ll be closer than the last two games, but JMA knocks Fred to 3-2 on the year, 45-28.
Week 6 – vs. Clinch County – Home cookin’ makes the difference this time, Knights win in a defensive struggle, 17-14.
Week 7 – @Tattnall Square – Frederica heads to middle Georgia for the second game in three weeks. That much time on I-16 isn’t good for anybody, and the Knights will struggle with this one, falling 41-17.
Week 8 – vs. Robert Toombs – An old rivalry gets renewed, and the Knights get back on track. The River hits a highwater point on the year, and the rest of the team follows. Big win, 55-10.
Week 9 – @Bulloch – the home team always seems to struggle in this most heated rivalry. This one will be no different. Knights over Gators 33-18.
Week 10 – @Pinewood – The schedule won’t hurt the Patriots as badly this year, but it won’t be enough. Frederica with a close win against a talented squad, 35-31.
Week 11 – vs. St. Andrews – The Lions have a new head coach this year and will be better for it. Not enough to keep Coach Derrick from securing another region crown, however. FA wraps up the regular season with a 48-21 win.
FINAL PREDICITON – 8-3, division champs, deep run in the playoffs.