By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The high school football regular season is already a third of the way finished. One local team sailing high are the Brunswick High School Pirates.
First year head coach Garrett Grady has the Pirates sitting at 3-0 on the young season with back-to-back impressive wins against Camden County and The Bolles School out of Jacksonville, Florida, which have a combined 14 state titles.
What is impressive about this group of Pirates is that these kids have bought into everything Coach Grady has instilled this offseason.
Off season conditioning, where the entire team improved on their strength numbers. BHS has ten players currently in the 1000-pound club. Last season the program had three players in the club. The 1000-pound club is a combination of max bench press, squat, and power clean in the weight room.
Most players increased their strength individually by 20 to 25% during this past offseason. The benefits of that show up in the second half of games like the Camden and Bolles contests where BHS wore these quality opponents down when it matters the most.
Off the field during the spring and summer the football program was very visible in the community. Community service projects, volunteer opportunities the Pirates have been seen around town this offseason.
Garrett Grady has instilled a culture of helping and mentoring kids around the community. I personally saw Harvard commit Jayden Drayton teaching kids’ proper fundamentals at a 7–8-year-old football camp this summer.
I was told by a family member that senior LB Lionel Twitty provided them with the best customer service experience they have had in years at Home Depot on a blazing scorching summer day when Twitty refused to let them assist him in loading materials on a trailer for a big home project under construction.
The program motto is “All About the Family.” This is not just a catchphrase folks these kids live it because their coaching staff coaches them on this every single day.
Character education is huge aspect of this football program, and the culture of the Brunswick High football program revolves around this.
Just this past weekend, BHS coaches worked at The Georgia/Florida football classic at Glynn County Stadium in supporting roles making sure the event was as success. BHS staff was there from start to finish on Thursday and Saturday for the seven-game event.
Brunswick had a game on Friday night but worked to support the school system for the other six games that were played. That speaks volumes about the quality of the BHS coaching staff. Twelve to fourteen hour days on Thursday through Saturday, then a long workday on Sunday getting ready for the upcoming opponent.
On the field, BHS may field the best defense the school has seen since 1999. Unsung heroes like Jordan Jimerson, Ivan Johnson, Zion Turner, and Keon Leggett do not get all the headlines but make their presence felt every Friday night.
Did you see that hit Leggett made on a Bolles receiver last Friday night? Ronnie Lott would have been proud.
On offense, unsung heroes like OL Eli Smith, OL Jonathan Welson, OL Quan Gibson, and OL Josh Walker wear down opposing defensive fronts every week. They just do their job.
QB J.R. Elkins is getting better every single week. You have young running backs in William Heck and Jamarius Towns that will be household names in Brunswick soon.
The Pirates also have a young LB on defense J’Shawn Towns that will knock you into next week.
Then you have a kid who waited his turn in Taivon Gadson, who made the game changing play last week against Bolles when he returned an interception to the goal line that changed the complexion of the Bolles game. The Pirates went on to win 20-3. BHS was trailing 3-0 in the third quarter when Gadson rose to the occasion when his team needed it the most.
Every good football team is full of unsung heroes. I just highlighted a few this week.
It is really “All About the Family” for the BHS football program.
Garrett Grady was a great hire by BHS.