KJ Lee

Readying The Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Brunswick High Pirates had a rough season in 2018 finishing 3-7 and missing the playoffs for sixth time since 2011.

Sean Pender hates losing more than anyone I know and you can see a fire in his eyes during the spring drills.

The Pirates started as many as 12 sophomores in 2018 and the inexperience showed, but those baby Pirates have grown in size and experience this offseason and are primed to turn the tables in 2019.

When asked about Spring Practice Pender said “We have had more intensity and competiveness than we had in all of 2018 in our two weeks of practice. The kids have worked extremely hard and it is showing”.

Brunswick has 16 kids coming back in 2019 with starting varsity experience. BHS will be going to a new 4-3 defensive alignment in 2019.

When you ask Pender about his defense the first named mentioned is Devin Lafayette. The rising senior defensive back is 6’2 and 190 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 forty-yard dash.

“This kid is a quiet leader that leads by example and his worked his way into being a division one football prospect”.

Look for Lafayette to lead a talented back end of a much-improved Pirate defense. Lafayette is fully qualified with a 3.3 GPA.

Freddy Towns is a lock down All-Region corner returning for his senior season. Pender says Towns can lock down one side of the field every Friday night.

AJ Wilson looks good at safety and at 200 pounds can bring the lumber in run support and he runs really well.

Octavis Butler, Ryne Buckley, and Camron Crump played a lot of snaps in 2018 at LB and have bulked up in the offseason.

Demetrius Hardee will also be counted on in the secondary. Keep an eye on newcomer Devonte Gadson at safety.

Trevon Smith has impressed Pender at one CB position, and Michael McGee will get looks at both CB and WR. Pender really likes McGee’s speed and length in the secondary.

Justin Akra will lead the Pirate defensive line and a name to remember is incoming freshman Kayshawn Thomas on the defensive line.

On offense the Pirates are stacked at wide receiver. Look for a huge break out season from Amarion Whitfield, and Marlon Carmena to return to the form he flashed in early 2018 before a high ankle sprain derailed his season.

Che Foy is great in space, and look for a huge season from “The Touchdown Machine” Xavier Bean, who can catch anything in his area code according to his head coach. Kyle Patterson is developing at the position as well.

Mitchell Richburg is a hybrid FB/TE and could be a factor in both the run and pass game.

Xavier Ramsey, Caleb Cook, and Kanaya Charlton will anchor the Pirate offensive line.

Charlton could be a 4 to 5-star recruit during the 2022 recruiting cycle. He is currently 6’5 and 330 pounds with very good athletic ability. Roderick Jones will also see significant playing time. Pender thinks this group can be really good barring injury.

Chuckobe Hill and Khamori Simmons will handle the running back position as both played significant downs as freshman in 2018. Pender like the toughness of his running backs.

Look for Jashawn Wilson to insert himself into the running back mix this fall.

At QB you have returning starters Anthony Mountain and KJ Lee, but both are battling injuries this spring.

Mountain had offseason ACL surgery and should be cleared to return by September. Pender loves his leadership qualities. Lee is battling a foot injury this spring, but has an elite arm.

With the injuries Jeffery Way has been getting a lot of first unit reps and the rising sophomore has worked hard according to his head coach.

Tyrease Jones has moved over from WR and has shown tremendous foot speed in space.

Kyle Rehberg will handle the PK/P duties and has a great work ethic.

Pender says “if we play like we have been working then we have a chance to be a pretty good football team in 2019, and we’ll definitely be much, much improved from 2018”.

Pender enters his third season as Pirate head coach this fall.

Sailing Pirates

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

One a hot muggy night at Glynn County Stadium the Brunswick High Pirates beat Monroe 42-6 on Homecoming.

Taylor Zachry was crowned the 2018 Homecoming Queen and KJ Lee passed for 3 TD’s and close to 300 yards.

Jaylen Trimmings rushed for two TD’s as the Pirate offense clicked on all cylinders and the Pirate defense continued to improve.

The Pirates now enter region play with a 3-3 record on the season as Richmond Hill comes to Glynn County Stadium for the region opener next Friday.

Pirate Report Card:

Offense: A+. The offense clicked all night long.

KJ Lee had another great game for the second week in a row. Lee tossed 3 TD’s to three different receivers.

Che Foy had another solid game with a TD catch. Amarrion Whitfield had a nice TD catch in traffic. Xavier “The Touchdown Machine” Bean caught his fifth touchdown on the season.

Jaylen Trimmings had TD runs of 49 and 2 yards and finished the game with right at 100 yards rushing.

The Pirate offensive line dominated the front seven of Monroe all night long. This was the best offensive performance of the year just in time for region play. This unit gets better week by week.

Defense: B+. The unit gave up some yards in the first half, but it set the tone after the half with a key sack by Octavius Butler on Monroe’s first possession and AJ Wilson added a 33- yard scoop and score to put the Pirates up 35-6.

Butler also recovered a fumble in the third quarter. Freddy Towns is the best defensive back in the region with another solid performance. The Pirate defense has only given up 12 points in the last 7 quarters and continues to improve.

Special Teams: A. Demetrius Hardee set up a TD late in the first half with a nice punt return and the Pirates made all 6- PAT’s. Kick coverage was pretty good most of the night. Best special teams’ effort of the season by BHS.

Coaching: A. BHS was well prepared in this contest. The offensive game-plan was excellent.

The up-tempo style kept Monroe off balance all night long. Adjustments were made at the half on defense and pressure was dialed up in the second half and forced Monroe into some turnovers.

The coaching staff has done a good job getting these kids ready for region play next week.

The Pirates were dealing with some injuries to key defensive starters in the contest, but the coaches plugged the holes and had the team ready to play at a high level.

Overall: A. The Homecoming win was the most complete effort of the year by this football team.

The team clicked on offense, the defense scored a TD and a special teams punt return set up a TD to put Brunswick up 21-6 right before the half.

The team is starting to peak as region play starts next Friday.

Next up Is Richmond Hill. The Wildcats travel to Brunswick next for the region opener. Brunswick has never lost to Richmond Hill in football.

The Pirates now stand 3-3 on the season. The next 4 games will determine the fate of the 2018 Brunswick High Pirates.

Get ready for a fun ride Pirate fans in the month of October.

Pirates Sailing On New Tides

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sean Pender finished 7-3 in his first season on Altama Avenue. He is entering his second season at the helm with many new faces especially on the defensive side of the ball.

While youth and inexperience may be a factor going into the 2018 season the head coach is excited about the opportunity to build and grow with his young Pirates. “We have some good talented kids, but keep in mind there will be some growing pains, but the work ethic is there and I’m looking forward to see these younger kids develop”.

The most experienced position group returning in 2018 is the offensive line. The offensive line is led by who Pender calls the best offensive lineman he has ever coached in Warren McClendon. At 6’6 and 300 lbs. McClendon is a four-star recruit by all the recruiting services and can play anywhere in the country.

McClendon will play right tackle. AJ Kirkland at 5’8 225 will move over to center and has the versatility to play guard as well. Brett Hall 6’1 240 will start at left guard. Xavier Ramsey 6’2 252 will start at left tackle, and Caleb Cook 6’2 280 will start at right guard.

Pender says his run game will be very effective this fall. Offensive Coordinator Garrett Grady commented about his OL group “They have been the hardest working kids on the field and I am expecting big things out of this group this fall”.

A name to watch is freshman Kanaya Charlton who just turned 14 years of age and is already 6’6 310 with great feet and has future start written all over him will provide depth at the position.

The QB battle is heating up this summer with KJ Lee and Anthony Mountain. Lee played some as a freshman in 2017 has a quick release and has a solid grasp on the offense according to his head coach.

Mountain is getting better every single day and his head coach loves his competitive spirit. Both struggled in the spring game but have gained confidence over the summer. If the season started today Lee would more than likely get the nod under center but keep an eye on this position battle.

Jaylen Trimmings will be the man at RB and has looked very good this summer according to his head coach, but a kid who caught my eye in practice is freshman Chucobe Hill who Pender says is his back up RB going into the fall.

The Pirates will be raw and talented at WR. Marlon Carmena, Jailyn Jones, Che Foy Xavier Beane, Amarion Whitfield, Syveion Ellis, Michael McGee, and Mitchell Richburg at hybrid TE/FB will get reps at receiver. There is a lot of speed in this group.

Richburg, and Kyle Rayburn will handle the punting duties, and Avery Yoak will be the FG kicker in 2018. Look for the kicking game to much improved this fall.

On defense, Justin Akra will be the leader in the defensive line. Pender thinks Akra will have a big season in 2018.

Keith Garrett, Xavier Stevens, and Jaylen Carter will provide depth on the defensive line. Carter looks like a potential stud at 6’3 265.

Stacy Young is back at OLB/S and is a major college prospect. Devin Lafayette, Freddy Towns, and Demetrius Hardee will make the Pirate secondary a solid group in the fall.

Billy Anderson has earned a starting job at one of the corners and Pender is looking for Peter Sheffield to step up and make an impact the back of the defense this fall. Brunswick has a proud history at DB if you look at current NFL rosters in Detroit and Seattle.

AJ Wilson and Octavious Butler will have to grow up fast and contribute right away at the LB position.

Kick returners will be Carmena, Hardee, and Sheffield.

Schedule is brutal early with road trips to Coffee and Bartram Trail in Florida. Both squads lost state title games in their classifications in 2017.

Much improved Camden comes to Glynn County Stadium in September and region road games at Effingham and Bradwell. BHS will try to avoid a 5th straight loss to Glynn Academy in the City Title game.

When asked if this is a rebuilding year Pender offered “I hope everyone feels that way about us this fall. I like the work ethic and talent on this football team. Yes, we are young but I’m excited to see this group’s potential once we get some good game experience under our belts”.