Rocky Hidalgo

Gator Call

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Franklin Stephens left Ware County and headed to the Cobb County school system last week. By doing so he left Ware looking for a football coach pretty late in the game.

While everyone else in the state is getting ready for spring football practice, Ware County has to hire a new football coach.

When a job like Ware opens up the rumor mill starts churning. Rumors fly left and right about who has applied and who might apply.

Another rumor is Ware has had 60 people apply for the opening in the past week. The internet is buzzing with big name coach sightings in Waycross.

What is special about the Ware County job? I had a retired school administrator tell me that the Ware job is the best job in southeast Georgia. Let’s take a look at the reasons why:

1.Talent: Ware County is loaded with talented athletes. Football is king in the County and Ware for the last 20 years has been a consistent winner making it to the state title game twice, many deep playoff runs, and is always a region title contender.

A new coach comes into a stacked roster with a generational player at QB, who is a rising sophomore. The Gators have speed and size everywhere. Not many jobs have the talent pool of Ware.

2.Pay: The Ware job is one of the top paying jobs in this area. The assistants are paid above scale, and football is a priority. Football pays the bills and it is invested in heavily.

3.Support: The Gators have a dedicated fan base, a renovation taking place in a historic 10,000 seat stadium and an active booster club that raises a lot of funds that support the football program.

4.Location: Ware County is within one hour of the beach, major airport and metropolitan center in Jacksonville. The Gators are in a region alignment that sets them up to win big every season.

Now let’s have some fun with speculating who would be a good candidate for this job from our area. Keep in mind I am SPECULATING here folks.

Brandon Derrick/Frederica Academy: Fresh off of a state title, Derrick can’t do much more on St. Simons Island.

The challenge at Frederica is bringing in football players to keep the numbers up.

Derrick would have JaShawn Sheffield and Jaylin Simpson type talent, or better coming through the Ware program every year. He is a good coach, who needs to land a big job like Ware. Thomas County Central hired their head man from Valwood. The precedent is there. He needs his shot.

Sean Pender/Brunswick High: The Air Raid offense in Waycross is scary to think about. The Gators put up record numbers, that still stand today, from his stint as offensive coordinator in the late 1990’s.

Ware is a one-school county and you don’t have to worry about the talent in the county being divided between three schools.

Pender knows how Ware County operates better than anyone. Mrs. Pender loves the Golden Isles however.

Rocky Hidalgo/Glynn Academy: If you can’t beat them hire them, right? The Rock is 4-2 against Ware and physically beat up the Gators in those 4 wins.

The man can coach and hires assistants better than anyone. Ware could match the money or give him a pay raise.

He would have elite talent at his disposal annually. Could he be lured away from the coast? If so, in 15 years he could have a statue of him outside of Memorial Stadium.

Jason Strickland/Pierce County: It is only a 10-mile drive to Waycross from Blackshear. The job would be a step up in classification and money for Strickland. He would be a great hire.

Pierce plays in the worst AAA region in the state, so the third-round trip in the playoffs last season could be the high-water mark there.

Tucker Pruitt/Fitzgerald: Pruitt is a good coach who could step in and win big right away at Ware. There is better talent and more money in Waycross than Fitzgerald. This could be a dream job for someone like Pruitt.

The Ware County job outside of Camden County may be the best job in South Georgia. Ware has the applicants to prove it.

Terrorizing 2018

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the 2018 football season rapidly approaches, I had the opportunity to sit down with Glynn Academy head football coach Rocky Hidalgo to chat about the 2018 Red Terrors.

Hidalgo is entering his 5th season at GA with a 41-13 record, a couple of region championships and 4 deep runs in the state playoffs. It is safe to say Glynn Academy is a state football power now under Coach Rock’s watch.

The coach says this about the 2018 team “We are young in spots and could end up starting 7-8 sophomores and could struggle some early, but the key for us is to use that time to peak for region play and have that carry over into the state playoffs”.

On offense the Terrors will be led by Nolan Grant at RB, who his coach describes as “special” and is as good as any running back in these parts. Allen Partin, Caden Hutchinson, and Tyshawn Wallace may give Glynn the best running back position group in South Georgia and maybe the state.

Shane Wells is returning on the OL and Hidalgo thinks his offensive line will have a lot of upside this fall. “We may have as many as three new starters on the offensive line, but our strength and conditioning program gets our kids in position to play early in our system”.

At QB the battle comes down to Sam Wagner and TJ Lewis. Hidalgo is watching closely as the battle progresses over the summer. Lewis is tall and athletic at 6’3 and Wagner will start at WR if he doesn’t win the QB job.

At WR Hidalgo spoke about Deandre Frazier doing a fine job and thinks TJ Bradley and Jaden Miller will develop into fine players at the position.

On defense, Hidalgo raved about DL Marlon Taylor. At 6’2 265 the head coach called him the best defensive lineman in this area.

The junior is a two-year starter with a great attitude. James Dyal, Torrez Davis, Kedrick Adams, Jordan Swain, and Drez Wilcox make this talented group as deep as any position on the roster. The head coach says they will rotate 9 players on the defensive line.

AT LB look for Jamarcus Sims, Johnny Bradley, Tashaun Lane, and Miles Smith to get snaps at the position. Hidalgo thinks he has some good talent at the position. AT DB Byron Bacon and Travis Clinch will lead a talented unit this fall.

“One thing we are going to do here is play defense and this group has the potential barring injuries to be the best unit we have had here”.

Chase Gabriel will handle the punting and place-kicking duties this fall.

Hidalgo raves about his coaching staff. “I have the best coaching staff in the state and they work their tails off and the kids believe in what we are doing here and that makes all the difference in the world”.

The early part of the schedule is very tough. Fort Dorchester a South Carolina state power in the opener at Glynn County Stadium. Fort Dorchester went 13-1 in 2017.

Three straight road games with Camden, Ware, and Wayne in September.

The region slate has Glynn traveling to Richmond Hill and Bradwell while playing Effingham on the road. Glynn will be the designated road team in City Title game with Brunswick.

This writer sees 9-10 regular season wins for this Red Terror squad and a region championship. Hidalgo says the Terrors have 3 goals every season.

“Our goals here never change here and they are 1. City Championship 2. Region Championship 3. State Championship”.

Don’t be surprised if you see the 2018 Glynn Academy Red Terrors playing in Mercedes Benz Stadium this December. Glynn doesn’t rebuild anymore they reload.

Jason Bishop Show w Kipp Branch Jan 27

Jason Bishop Show w Kipp Branch Jan 27
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Gold Standard For Red Terrors

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Glynn Academy has been educating students in Glynn County since 1788. Glynn Academy has been playing football since 1913, but history is being made currently with this current batch of Red Terror seniors.

This senior class led by Hunter Hall, Randon Jernigan, Andrew Delaney, Tyler Grant, and the rest of this fabulous class has compiled a 40-12 record on the football field. This makes this senior group the most successful senior class in the proud 105 year history of Red Terror football.

This program with four straight elite eight appearances in the second highest classification in the GHSA makes it the gold standard in coastal Georgia for public schools.

It all starts at the top with Head Coach Rocky Hidalgo, who is a master motivator and just doesn’t get caught up in the hype. He coaches up his kids to play fast and with confidence.

Hidalgo’s confidence in his kids reminds me a lot of Steve Spurrier in his Florida days. From day one walking in the door in 2014 at GA the plan has not changed and that is:

Win the City championship, which the Red Terrors have done every year he has been here.

Win the Region Championship, which the Red Terrors have done in 2015-2017.

Win the State Championship, which the program was State runner up in 2015. That goal is still in play for 2017.

Someone asked me recently what is the difference between the local high schools? All three are very talented on the football field and my answer was the following:

Brunswick and Frederica Academy hope to win when they play teams of equal or better talent and Glynn Academy knows and expects to win in the same situation. Guess who is still playing on Thanksgiving?

Glynn plays a very talented Lee County team this Friday on the road, but I can guarantee you this Glynn expects to beat the Trojans.

The Red Terrors have some quality players. Hunter Hall is the most productive linebacker I have ever seen in person roam the football field in Glynn County in my lifetime. The kid is just a great football player and I know he has an offer from West Georgia, and at 6’0 195 for the life of me I just can’t understand why he doesn’t have 40 offers to play college football. This kid is an awesome football player.

Outside of Darius Slay of the Detroit Lions I have never seen a faster or better overall athlete than Randon Jernigan in my lifetime in Glynn County. The kid is a special once in a generation athlete. The 87-yard TD run against Valdosta in the first round is a treat to watch.

I saw the great Valdosta teams of the 1980’s in person as a student at Valdosta State College and my old college friends who still reside in the Valdosta area tell me they have never seen anyone run away from their Cats like Jernigan did on that TD run.

They love their football in Valdosta. In case you live outside of Glynn County, Jernigan signed a baseball scholarship to play for the University of Georgia recently. He will suit up for the Dawgs then will play professional baseball when his time at UGA is complete.

This is a special group of seniors on this Glynn football team. They just keep winning and winning and deep runs in the State playoffs is now part of the culture at Glynn Academy.

I encourage Glynn County to go out and watch this record breaking group this Friday night at Glynn County stadium.

Before the season many pundits said this would be a rebuilding year at GA. I guess rebuilding now is defined as Final Four appearances. I usually wear blue and gold on Friday nights. I’ll be wearing Red and White this Friday.

Go Terrors! Bring home a State Football Championship.

The Jason Bishop Show with Kipp Branch Nov 11

The Jason Bishop Show with Kipp Branch Nov 11
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Terrors Throttle Effingham

By: Christian Goeckel

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Good football teams seem to take on the identity of their coach.

Alabama is a “trust the process” machine that will cut you out if you don’t fit, just like their coach Nick Saban.

Georgia Tech carries a huge chip on their shoulder, to go along with a huge inferiority complex mostly perpetuated by head man Paul Johnson. The Glynn Academy Red Terrors are no exception.

Continue reading

Rocky Hidalgo Show September 5

Rocky Hidalgo Show September 5
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Tift Too Much For Glynn

By: Christian Goeckel

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Glynn Academy’s week 3 loss to Tift County, 27-7, can be summarized into one word: Until.

The Terrors were moving the ball up and down the field, until they turned it over, when Randon Jernigan was strip sacked on Tift’s 29.

They had picked up a crucial third down, until they came up a yard short and failed on the fourth down conversion.

The defense held 4-star receiver Rashod Bateman in check, until they didn’t, when they seemingly forgot the Minnesota commit was on the field and he walked into to the endzone for an 80-yard score.

One thing remains true in football across all levels; When you face good teams, you can’t give up the ball. Glynn is a young team that is still trying to find its footing and it seems to have a propensity for coughing up the football. In an offense that puts the ball in a lot of people’s hands, like the option does, that’s catastrophic,

Tift County entered this game with a dominant defense (giving up 4.7 points per game). Much like Benedictine, Tift loaded the box all night. Glynn’s triple option, dominant last week against Ware, was held under 70 yards on the night. Caine Crews lead the way with 33 yards on 15 carries (2.2 ypc).

For the second week in a row, Glynn only completed two passes. One, a 60 yarder to Andrew Delaney, setup the Terrors’ only score.

If Glynn has any playoff aspirations they must find a passing game. Teams will continue to load the box until Jernigan can prove that he can beat them over the top. Jernigan shouldn’t shoulder all the blame, though. His line rarely gives him time to move off his first look, and his receivers can’t consistently beat their men.

Defensively, the team played well minus a couple of big plays. Tift quarterback Griffin Collier gashed the Terrors’ defense on the second play of the game for a 74-yard touchdown and found receiver Rashod Bateman for the aformentioned 80-yard bomb.

Tift had a clear game plan: Get up early and ride our defense. The Blue Devils, a pass heavy offense, threw the ball only 21 times for 198 yards. Tift felt they could shut down Glynn, so why get risky?

Glynn finds themselves at an interesting place. Again, it can’t be understated that this team is hurt, but they’re getting healthier every week.

Yet, every week the offense becomes more one dimensional. They must choose now if they open the offense up, or continue to pound the rock and trust the system.

We’ll get to see what they choose next week when they take on Camden County at Glynn County Stadium. Camden is coming off an extremely solid come from behind win at home against Fitzgerald and will look to improve their record to 3-1 when they take on the Terrors.

This is a tough match up for Glynn. Camden is another team that rides their great defense. In what should be a low scoring game, the difference will biggest factor will be Glynn’s ability or inability to hold on to the ball. Camden will pounce on any mistake you make.

Glynn is 1-2, and largely looking for consistency before region play begins. A win over a good team like Camden would not only bring the Terrors back to .500, it would be a huge confidence boost for a team that needs it.

Glynn Academy vs Camden County kicks off at 7:30 at Glynn County Stadium on Friday, September 8th.

 

 

 

The Rocky Hidalgo Show August 29

The Rocky Hidalgo Show August 29
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