Garrett Grady

Successful Pirate Voyage

By: Kipp Branch news services

The 2023 Brunswick High Pirates had another good sailing through the waters of region 2-AAAAAA this fall.

The Pirates finished with a fine 7-4 record and won a first round State playoff game over Mundy’s Mill 28-22 after trailing 22-7 at halftime.

This senior class leaves the program in fantastic shape, leaving with a 36-10 overall record, three region championships, and three city championships.

Head Coach Garrett Grady had this to say about the 2023 Pirates:

“We had another great football season at Brunswick High School. This team and group of seniors accomplished many things in their career here at Brunswick High. Looking back at this season it was definitely built on the hard work & dedication from the off-season workouts, spring football, summer workouts, summer OTAs, & in season practices. I am proud of this team and the way they competed from every start of each game to the final whistle.

I am very proud of our coaching staff and the job that they did this season as well. Our coaching staff not only developed our players on the field, but they developed them into young men with character and prepared them for the game of Life. This team showed a lot of resiliency & grit.

This team went through a lot of adversity and instead of letting it get the best of them, they fought through it and developed as a TEAM. Many players gained valuable experience that we can build on and I am looking forward to next year. GO PIRATES!”

The Pirates placed many players on the All-Region Team:

Region 2-AAAA First Team

Jack Hunt/OL: Hunt had a fantastic senior campaign playing center for the Pirates. Hunt was a team leader on the offensive line and will play college football next fall.

Heze Kent/TE: Kent will more than likely be the highest rated football prospect to ever come out of Glynn County once his career is finished at BHS. The wonderful thing for Pirate fans is that Kent has two more years in the blue and gold.

Jamarious Towns/RB: Towns returns for his senior season next fall, and you can expect massive things from him and the Pirate offense next season.

TJ Mitchell/WR: The most prolific pass catcher in BHS history. Mitchell’s play-making abilities will long be talked about on Altama Avenue, and he will be missed greatly.

River Creel/DL: Creel played a lot of football for BHS. Played well as a freshman and will be hard to replace next season.

J’Shawn Towns/LB: Towns is a thumper. His best football is ahead of him.

Devin Smith/LB: The Kentucky bound Smith is simply one of the greatest players ever to roam on the defensive side of the ball for Brunswick High School. Period end of story. You do not replace a Devin Smith.

McClain Fineran/K: Fineran made some huge kicks for BHS in his career. He will be missed.

Landon Etheridge/LS: Etheridge had a fantastic season at long snapper and stepped in and made a huge 38-yard FG in the City Championship game this fall.


Region 2-AAAA Second Team:

Grant Moore/QB: Moore will be a junior next fall. Expect huge things from him.

William Heck/RB: Heck had a fine junior season.

Waseem Murray/WR: Remember this name folks.

Chase Richardson/OL

Donyea Broughton/DL

Michael Daniels/LB

Tavion Gadson/DB

Garrett Grady’s Pirates will be elite on offense in 2024. Defense will need to replace some studs. Look for the Pirates to compete for another Region Championship in 2024.





Teachers Of Men

By: Kipp Branch news services

I have lived in Glynn County my entire life.

I have a passion for football; that maybe my parents, wife, and close friends understand.

I was blessed as a youth to play high school football for a man that I idolize; recent Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame inductee John Willis.

Other than my father who turned 80 years old this week I consider John Willis the greatest influence in my life. The life lessons I learned playing for him prepared me for life. In my mind the things I learned from John Willis are bigger than football he helped develop me into a man.

As I look at the state of high school football in our community today, we are blessed to have three outstanding football coaches charged with developing men in our community.

Brandon Derrick/Frederica Academy: You talk about a coach who can take a little and turn it into a lot, then look no further than Derrick who has consistently developed winning teams at Frederica Academy.

With a State Championship in GISA and numerous region titles, Derrick takes teams that have low numbers and competes with schools with twice the number of players.

A trademark of Derrick football teams is tenacity. The Knights play with a mettle, spirit, and resolution that many of their opponents do not possess and late in ball games that shines through at clutch time.

The values that Derrick teaches will carry with these kids for the rest of their lives. Name me a more tenacious football team than the Frederica Knights? You have Brandon Derrick to thank for that.

Rocky Hidalgo/Glynn Academy: Coach Rock has been at Glynn Academy since 2014 and the fortunes of the program turned immediately.

By the end of the 2015 season Hidalgo had Glynn playing for a State Championship. A trademark of Hidalgo teams is that they are fundamentally sound, which speaks to discipline.

Discipline is a character trait this is seriously lacking among our youth today. Hidalgo teams are prepared down to every little detail.

All Glynn Academy teams I have witnessed are sound in all three phases of offense, defense, and special teams. If a game is tight then it is hard to bet against a Rocky Hidalgo team down the stretch.

Discipline is a trademark of Glynn Academy football and that is because of Rocky Hidalgo.

Garrett Grady/Brunswick High: You talk about a young dynamic coach who knows how to motivate his kids, look no further than Grady.

Grady is a grinder who has a work ethic that is second to none.

Since Grady was named the BHS coach in 2022, he has had the magic touch with the program. Community service, player exposure, everything Grady does he does at 100%.

The key character value I see at BHS currently under Grady is commitment. Grady is committed to these kids at BHS and the kids see that and are totally committed to him.

I’m a Pirate until I die, and Grady is the perfect man to head the BHS football program for years to come. There is a commitment to be great a BHS currently because of Garrett Grady.

Tenacity, discipline, and commitment. Strong core values. Values that are taught to young men on the football fields of Glynn County.

If you don’t think we are blessed on the head coaching front for high school football in Glynn County, then you are not paying attention.

Come out and enjoy a high school football game in Glynn County soon where you will see a collection of head football coaches that I would not want to trade for anyone.

Core values are being taught and all you must do is pay attention. For $10 you can see the hope of our future locally on Friday Nights. That is not a huge investment.


X Marks The Spot

By: Kipp Branch news services

Garrett Grady begins year two as the captain of the Brunswick High Pirate football program. Year one was a solid success with a 10-1 record with a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to Houston County in the playoffs.

I sat down with Coach Grady to discuss this upcoming season. “I am excited for this fall. I like the fight in this football team. We have some talented players returning on both sides of the ball. I thought we had a great spring practice, and we have picked up on that this summer. We had a tough contact camp with Thomas County Central, Ware County, and Cedartown recently and our kids competed hard. The programs we competed against are elite and we found out plenty about our guys. We know they want to compete, and the effort was outstanding. Effort is something we can control. If we bring max effort, then we can overcome some inexperience we have in a couple of position groups.”

“Our program had a tragedy this summer where we lost a super young man and great human being MyKal Ellis. We are going to dedicate our 2023 season to the memory of this young man. He was such a pleasure to coach and be around. This adversity has brought our kids and all the Pirate nation closer together.”

Let us look at the position groups:

RB: Jamarious Towns and William Heck return for their junior seasons. They combined for right at 1,300 yards rushing and 11 TD’s last fall.

Grady added “We have two solid running backs in those two, and we expect and demand great things from them. The remarkable thing about them is they come to work daily and want to be great.”

QB: Jarrod Elkins returns for his senior season after passing for 1,500 yards and 19 TDs in 2022.

“JR has a cannon for an arm, and he can make any kind of throw we need him to make. He is more experienced this fall, and we feel he can get us where we need to go as a football team.”

WR: TJ Mitchell known in the Golden Isles as “Touchdown Terry” is a game changer.

“There is nothing he cannot do with the football in his hands” added his head coach.

“He can make people miss him in a phone booth. We have some talent in this group.”

OL: Jack Hunt will lead a talented but young inexperienced group. “We must grow up fast this fall in the OL.”

DL: “Donyea Broughton and River Creel have played a lot of football for us over the past three years, and they will lead solid group I feel very good about.”

LB: Devin Smith, the returning region defensive player of the year will anchor a solid Pirate defense.

Grady says “If you produced an all-time Brunswick High football team, he would be on it. He is our team leader on defense and in the locker room. He is a dude and QB’s do not pat the ball when he is coming off the edge.”

J’shawn Towns led the Pirates in tackles with 88 last fall, returns for his junior season.

“He is a thumper. When he hits folks, they go down in a hurry” added Grady.

DB: “Tavion Gadson and Tyler Sams give us a solid core in the secondary.”

Special Teams: “Nobody works harder at their craft than Mcclain Fineran and he has developed into a solid kicker for us.”

Grady added that “Our schedule is tough. We open at Camden and that will tell us all we need to know about our football team right out of the gate. We travel to Effingham to close the regular season and the last two years that game has been for the region championship. These seniors have a chance to go out as 4-time region champions. We shared the title when they were ninth graders and have won it outright the past two seasons. There is a lot to play for. And of course, nobody around here is happy with our playoff results lately. That has really eaten at us this offseason.”

Gold Rush

By: Kipp Branch news services

Ka’ Shawn Thomas should be the Region 2-AAAAAA defensive player of the year. No other player in this area has had a bigger impact on that side of the ball than Thomas has had.

The 300-pound senior finished his Pirate career with that heartbreaking 29-28 OT loss to Houston County. Thomas has been the ringleader of a senior class that won 35 football games and 3 region championships.

When you mention the name Ka’ Shawn Thomas to his head coach Garrett Grady you get the following “Ka’ Shawn has been an outstanding football player for us for four years. He is our leader on defense. When things get tough the other kids look to him for leadership and he makes things happen on the football field. He can dominate the line of scrimmage and make teams struggle in the run game. He is also a great pass rusher, and he caves in the pocket in the passing game. You don’t see many kids like him that come through high school programs. He will be missed around here and will be a productive college player at Wake Forest both on the field and in the classroom. He has set the standard around here for defensive linemen moving forward”.

Thomas could end up on some All-State teams after the current high school season concludes and will most definitely be an all-region player in 2022.

Thomas committed to Wake Forest back in March. He was the top player on the Wake Forest board and was the first player committed in their 2023 recruiting class.

Wake will be getting a young man with a great motor, quick first step, and at 300 pounds a man who can command double teams from an opposing offensive line. Wake Forest is a program that is on the rise and is very competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ka’ Shawn comes from a great family, and he would probably tell you his favorite person and role model is his mother, Tashana.

Tashana is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and she has an amazing personality and when momma talks Ka’ Shawn listens. She has raised a solid young man that is going to be a success in life long after his football career is over. His mother and family have instilled a great foundation in Ka’ Shawn.

Ka’ Shawn leaves a great legacy at Brunswick High School. He will be mentioned as one of the all-time greatest players to ever come through the school. I personally believe that he is one of the top ten players that BHS has ever produced.

It has been a privilege to broadcast Ka’ Shawn for his entire BHS career on Pirate Radio. He has been a great ambassador for the program and a ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ kind of young man that always greets you with a firm handshake and the upmost of respect.

I know Ka’ Shawn is going to have a fine college career at Wake Forest, and possibly in 4-5 years you could hear his name called by an NFL in a future NFL draft. I know this the young man will be missed on Altama Avenue.

I will leave you with one final comment that I firmly believe. Ka’ Shawn Thomas is the best defensive lineman to ever play at Brunswick High School. I have seen many kids come through the program since I went to my first Pirate football game in 1974 and I can’t think of one better at his position than Ka’ Shawn.



Pirates’ Journey

By: Kipp Branch news services

Year one of the Garrett Grady tenure at Brunswick ended in heartbreaking fashion with a gut wrenching 29-28 loss to Houston County in the first round of GHSA 6A state playoffs.

The Pirates finished the 2022 season with a 10-1 record. The Pirates were crowned Region 2-AAAAAA champions with a 30-27 win over Effingham County.

Let’s look at the 2022 season:

August 19, 2022: The Pirates hosted Andrew Jackson from Jacksonville at Glynn County Stadium. The Tigers finished 7-4 in 2021 earning a playoff berth.

Jayden returned a punt for a touchdown and the Brunswick Black Flag defense held the Tigers to 200 yards of total offense on the night in a 23-13 opening night win. The win was Grady’s first win as a head coach. Andrew Jackson finished the 2022 season with an 8-3 record and playoff berth in Florida.

August 26, 2022: The Pirates hosted Camden County at Glynn County Stadium. Most pundits picked BHS to lose this game, but a strong defensive effort and second half power run game propelled BHS to a 16-10 win.

Lionel Twitty made the play of his BHS career by deflecting a Wildcat pass inside the Pirate 10-yard line to preserve the win. Camden was the #2 seed in Region 1-7A.

September 9, 2022: BHS played in the inaugural Georgia/Florida High School Football Classic at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirate defense completely shut down Bolles in a 20-3 win. This was another game the experts predicted BHS to lose.

September 16, 2022: BHS beat Islands High School 49-0 in a very lopsided contest. Outcome was never in doubt.

September 23, 2022: BHS hammered Glynn Academy 55-21 to win its third consecutive City Championship.

The Pirate offense was clicking throughout the contest and Glynn’s only scores came on trick plays and a fluke pass deflection.

The 55 points scored by BHS were the most ever for the Pirates in the long and storied history of the City Championship Series. BHS leads the all-time series 40-37-2.

September 28, 2022: BHS traveled to Grovetown in Augusta for a Wednesday contest that was moved up due to Hurricane Ian.

Touchdown Terry Mitchell scored 4 TDs on his birthday and the Pirates won a 56-39 shootout to stay undefeated on the season.

October 7, 2022: BHS hosted Lakeside Evans at Glynn County Stadium. The Pirates took control of the game early and cruised to a 44-10 win.

The Pirate defense dominated the contest.

October 21, 2022: BHS traveled to Guyton and hammered South Effingham 42-3.

BHS scored 6 touchdowns in their first 19 offensive plays. Mitchell caught a 54-yard TD pass from JR Elkins on the first offensive play of the game.

The Mustangs kicked a 42-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining on a running clock to avoid the shutout.

October 27, 2022: BHS traveled to Evans and lost LB Devin Smith for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle just two minutes into the contest.

The Pirates turned it over 6 times on the night in an ugly 28-7 win to stay unbeaten.

November 4. 2022: The Pirates held on late to beat Effingham 30-27 for the region championship in possibly the worst officiated game I have ever witnessed in person.

The story of the contest was yellow flags that wiped out two Pirate scores in the contest.

November 11, 2022: First round playoff game with Houston County.

The Bears rolled up 600 yards of total offense and led 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

The Pirates put on a furious rally and tied the game with 48 seconds left, and HOCO missed a 32 yards FG to win it with one second left on the clock to win it in regulation.

BHS scored to lead 28-21 in OT and Houston scored to cut it to 28-27 and went for two points and converted to end the BHS season with a 29-28 win.

This senior class won 35 games and three city and region championships. That ranks this group as one of the best in BHS history.

Garrett Grady should be region coach of the year.

Ka‘Shawn Thomas should be your defensive player of the year in the region.

Terry Mitchell should be your offensive player of the year in the region.

Things are looking pretty good right now on Altama Avenue.

Armed Pirates

By: Teddy Bishop 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.