By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Whether intentional or not, it would seem that every Frederica Academy football season has a theme.
2018 championship season was the fastest, the 2020 was the smartest, and it seems the 2022 was the steadiest.
If you had to describe the 2022 season in a single word, it would be weird.
The season started three hours late, when the opening game versus Brookwood was delayed by lightning. Thankfully, the game ended early as well, the Knights losing the abbreviated opener 41-12.
Week two was a much more favorable result, with the Knights leaving Chula, GA with a 34-27 victory.
Frederica went to an all-time record of 4-4 versus the Panthers and brought themselves to a .500 record on the early season.
The next four games proved to be as difficult as expected.
Head Coach Brandon Derrick knew that his team would not get better playing lesser teams, so he scheduled a buzzsaw of a lineup for this year’s squad.
The following four games against Valwood, John Milledge, Clinch County, and Tattnall Square would prove to be losses but valuable ones at that.
Invaluable they were, indeed. While the team was not registering wins, junior running back Jordan Triplett and classmate LB Hamp Thompson were putting up statistics that would place them in the top of the standings in the state of Georgia.
By the end of the year, Triplett would have 2,305 yards rushing on 315 carries with 26 touchdowns, while Thompson would wind up #10 in the state across all divisions with 123 total tackles and 70 solo tackles on the year.
After a 1-5 start to the year, the Knights ran out the schedule in championship style.
The last four games of the year saw the Green & Grey put up an identical 42-point score, and their offensive powerhouse RB Triplett put up a minimum of 300 yards and 3 touchdowns per game, apexing with a 400-yard 6 touchdown effort in the final game. That secured a region championship for Frederica.
The regular season championship would grant the Knights a first-round bye and a second-round matchup against Deerfield Windsor Academy out of Albany, Ga. Frederica had only faced the Deerfield Windsor Knights once before. That was a second-round playoff upset at home ‘Under the Oaks’ in 2016.
The game looked to be a tale of two halves; unfortunately, the first half was the better for Frederica.
The opening drive was a clinical one. The Knights drove 80 yards in 13 plays, cumulating with a Jordan Triplett touchdown 7 ½ minutes into the first quarter.
After a three and out, Jordan ‘The River’ Triplett picked up a punt on two bounces and took back a blissful 88-yard return for a touchdown, taking the Knights to a 14-0 first quarter lead.
Unfortunately, that would be the end of the offense on the night.
Deerfield Windsor would put up three touchdowns over the final three quarters while shutting out Frederica, ending their March to Mercer two weeks early by a score of 18-14.
While any season that doesn’t end on the field at Mercer University seems like a letdown for the Frederica faithful, the 2022 season seems almost like a warmup to what should be another championship run.
2023 should prove to be just as memorable as 2022, regardless of the outcome.