Sean Pender

Loaded Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sean Pender is confident about his 2021 football team this fall. “We are involved in a culture change here. We are evolving from a winning program into a championship program. Our kids realize that and our coaches see that every day”.

QB: Senior Jeffery Waye looks like the starter going into the season. Waye played well in the back-up role last season. Sutton Ellis has played his way into the mix this summer, and Jayden Drayton, who is a special athlete will have some designed packages to use his talents. If BHS gets solid play from this group, then look out.

OL: Kanaya Charlton will move to guard this fall and Pender says “Kanaya Charlton is as good as they’ve had there and that says a lot”. Charlton committed to play at Florida State.

Jaquan Gibson and Jamal Meriweather make this a deep group. “For the first time since I have been here, we have good depth at the position” says Pender.

WR: The position is very deep in talent, Kevin Thomas, Pat Leggett and Jayden Drayton could make it the best WR unit in the region.

DL: Kayshawn Thomas will be back for his junior season with offers pouring in. Thomas will lead a group that consists of River Creel, Jordan Jimerson, and Jameer Lang.

LB: The Pirates have Staffon Stanley, Adam Mweemba, and Lionel Twitty that all started games last year at the position.

DB: Jayden Drayton was All-Region in 2020. Derrick Smith and Keon Leggett were big contributors last fall. Ivan Johnson returns at safety. Na’verious Williams will get snaps also.  Deep group.

Anthony Elvine returns as punter, and McClain Fineran will handle PAT/FG’s.

Finally, the “Wolfpack”, also known as the RB group. Ree Simmons and Kobe Hill have both had seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing and they return for their senior season. Leon Charlton has emerged as a third option at the position.

Schedule/My Predictions in key matchups:

Aug 20 vs Pierce County: Pierce was a doormat before Sean Pender arrived on the scene a decade ago.

He played a major role in the evolution of that football program winning region titles and state playoff games. The Bears took the next step and won a state title last season and drilled BHS 31-10 in the season opener last season.

That has eaten at the fabric of Sean Pender for a year. Pierce comes to Glynn County Stadium and will lose to BHS.

Sept 24 vs Glynn: BHS broke a long losing streak in the series last season. Folks around Glynn County say the Red Terrors will throw the football more in 2021.

Instead of 2-3 passes a game they may throw 10 per game, who knows. BHS wins for the second year in a row.

Oct 8 @ Statesboro: Be ready Pirates. This one has TRAP GAME written all over it. Don’t get caught looking ahead to Richmond Hill.

Oct 15 vs Richmond Hill: BHS has lost 3 straight to the Wildcats. Until they prove it again to me, I’m calling this a loss.

This school has 600-700 more students than anyone else in the region. Time to play up or build another high school in Bryan County.

Other Wins: MCA, New Hampstead, Islands, South Effingham, Bradwell, and Effingham.

Best Case 10-0 Region Champions.

Worst Case 8-2 with losses to Glynn and Richmond Hill and a #3 seed in state playoffs

My Guess: 9-1 with a loss to Richmond Hill and a #2 seed and home playoff game in First Round.

Sean Pender says “It is time for us to take the next step, and I believe we have the pieces in place to do just that”.

Expectations are high on Altama Avenue.

The Voyage Begins

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sean Pender is excited about his 2021 football team this fall. “We are a talented football team, and we as coaches are excited to see how the talent develops. We have the potential to be a very good football team this fall”.

The head Pirate does have to replace 14 starters off of an 8-4 team from 2020 that won a share of the region championship, and a state playoff game. “We do have some holes to fill this year, but we played a lot of young kids last year that will move into starter slots this fall, but I love the work ethic of this football team. This team wants to be very good, and they are putting in the work to support that statement.”

Let’s take a look at position groups:

QB: Senior Jeffery Waye and Junior Jayden Drayton are locked into a battle at the QB position.

Pender says “if the season started tomorrow both would see playing time at the position”.

Waye was the back-up QB in 2020 and his coach says he has been very impressed with how he is progressing at the position.

Drayton, who transferred over from Glynn Academy, has put on almost 10 pounds of muscle in the winter conditioning program and is learning the new system at BHS.

His coach says “This kid will be recruited as an athlete and he will wear a lot of hats for us this fall. He will play some QB, WR, DB, and he will return kicks for us”.

OL: Kanaya Charlton will move to LT this fall and Pender says “Kanaya Charlton is as good as we’ve had here and that says a lot”.

Charlton at 6’7 and 330 pounds can play anywhere he wants at the next level. Offers are pouring in.

Jaquan Gibson returns as a starter at guard. Jamal Meriweather, AJ Anderson, Eli Smith, Lester Clark, Matthew Moore, William McDonald, Chris Wineski, and Jonathan Welson will battle for playing time, but depth at the position group is great.

WR: The position is very deep in talent, Kevin Thomas and Pat Leggett are playmakers. J ’Maun Weldon, Zeb Jackson, Terry Mitchell, Na’verious Williams, TJ Smith, Trey Elvine, and Jayden Drayton will all see targets in 2021. “We are deep and talented and will cause issues in space with this group” says Pender.

DL: Kayshawn Thomas will be back for his junior season with an SEC offer from South Carolina.

Thomas will lead a group that consists of River Creel, Jordan Jimerson, Jameer Lang, Jamal Meriweather, Anthony Bautista, and Matthew Moore. Pender says “#99 Thomas can be as good as he wants to be and will be a force in the middle”

LB: Pirates must replace 4 starters from last fall, but were 7 deep at the position last year.

Staffon Stanley, Adam Mweemba, and Lionel Twiity all started games last year at the position.

A name to watch could be Gerald Quick, who has the frame to be outstanding player at the position.

DB: Pender says “We are stacked 8-9 deep at DB”.

Jayden Drayton was All-Region in 2020. Derrick Smith and Keon Leggett were big contributors last fall. Ivan Johnson returns at safety. Na’verious Williams was a starter at Glynn last fall before transferring.

Other names to watch JaShawn Wilson, Tyler Sams, and Zeb Jackson, and Gerald Quick.

Anthony Elvine returns as punter, and McClain Fineran will handle PAT/FG’s.

Finally, the “Wolfpack” also known as the RB group.

Ree Simmons and Kobe Hill have both had seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing.

Hill in 2019, and Simmons in 2020. Barring injury this duo will finish their Pirate careers with over 5000 combined rushing yards.

Pender says “These guys are leaders and hate to lose and that mentality has taken root on this football team”.

Leon Charlton returns, Taivon Gadson, and Neshiek Cohen add depth. Embarrassment of riches at this position.

Spring Practice starts on May 4th and ends with the Blue and Gold Spring game on May 20th.

2021 could be special on Altama Avenue. #AllAboutTheFamily at BHS.

Pirates Voyage

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Brunswick High Pirate Football team finished its season with a tough loss to Lee County in the second round of the State playoffs last week.

Brunswick finished with an 8-4 record. Head Coach Sean Pender and the Pirates won a share of the Region 2-AAAAAA crown this fall, which is something the Pirate football program has not done since 2009.

The eight-win season is something the program has not accomplished since 2010. The 2020 Pirates also won their first City Championship since 2013, and in spite of these accomplishments Sean Pender was not named the Region Coach of the year and the award went to a team and coach he defeated. 2020 strikes again. Maybe a recount should be requested.

This edition of the Pirates got off to a rocky start with a loss at Pierce County, where star running back Chukobe Hill suffered a knee injury that that kept him out of action for a month.

BHS bounced back and beat MCA in week two.

In week 3 the Pirates fumbled away a chance to beat highly thought of Benedictine deep in Cadet territory with a minute left in the contest.

After the 1-2 start the Pirates went on the road on a Thursday night and beat a good Northeast Macon team 41-12 and that began a four-game winning streak that included the “Miracle between the Bricks” 75-yard TD pass from KJ Lee to Tyrease Jones with 16 seconds left in the contest to win the City Championship.

On Halloween weekend the Pirates came up short against Richmond Hill but then won three straight before falling at Lee County last week.

The Pirates were well represented on the first team All-Region selections with the following Pirates be named to the first team:

 

OL- Caleb Cook

OL- Kanaya Charlton

DB: Amarion Whitfield

WR: Tyrease Jones

RB: Ree Simmons

LB: Zane Rosenbaum

 

Second Team Selections:

KJ Lee

Xaiver Bean

David Newbauer

Kayshawn Thomas

Kaleb Hampton

Camron Crump

Devontae Gadson

Anthony Elvine

 

Honorable Mention:

Kevin Thomas

Chukobe Hill

Quan Gibson

Keon Leggett

AJ Wilson

Kyle Rehberg

 

This Senior Class has put the program back on solid ground moving forward for the future.  Coach Pender when asked about this group of seniors got a little emotional when commenting on this group:

“These kids bought into everything we were trying to teach them. They worked hard, and there was a spirit of unity with this group that has been infectious for the younger players in the program. They have laid the foundation for a winning culture here. They were the first group I have had here for all four years, and this group will always hold a special place in my heart because the foundation they created will produce results long after they will no longer walk these halls at BHS. They leave us as champions both Region and City and it has been a while since we have said that here, and now that is the expectation moving forward with this football program”.

I have enjoyed covering this team and group of seniors, and like Coach Pender stated this group has laid the foundation for the future of BHS football.

The 2020 Brunswick High Football team will always be remembered as the “Drought Breakers” on Altama Avenue and as champions and this senior class will be champions in life, and that means more than winning football games.

Pirates Ship

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After a huge win in the region opener against Glynn Academy the Brunswick High Pirates have an inside track to win the region. Here are my mid-season grades for Brunswick.

Special Teams: B+: Anthony Elvine has become a weapon punting the football.

He is close to setting a school record for punts downed inside the 15-yard line. He is a weapon he creates a long field for Pirate opponents.

Elvine is having an all-region season at punter.

Kyle Rehberg is putting many of his kickoffs in the end zone in 2020, and the big third quarter FG that gave BHS a 17-7 lead in the City Championship game ended up being the difference in a wild 24-21 win.

The Pirates are still waiting on the big kick return for BHS in 2020, but the special teams area, which has long been a weakness for BHS has become a team strength in 2020.

Defense: B+: The defense is giving up under 20 points per game this season.

Kashawn Thomas is starting to make a name for himself on the defensive line and has become that force in the middle of the defense for BHS.

We know what Cameron Crump and AJ Wilson can do at linebacker. Zane Rosenbaum was the defensive player of the game in the City Championship.

In the secondary Devontae Gadson is having a solid season. This unit, led by DC Thomas Tedder, is much improved in 2020.

The unit gave up two long TD drives in the 4th quarter against Glynn so there is room for improvement.

Offense: B: The offensive line coached up by OC Garrett Grady has become one of the best in South Georgia.

Caleb Cook and Kanaya Charlton are major college prospects at tackle.

Keegan Carroll, Jaquan Gibson, and David Newbauer round out a starting unit that can execute the power run game and protect the passer.

The Wolfpack or the running back group Ree Simmons and Chuckobe Hill are the best tandem in the region.

Simmons is having a great season, and Hill is back from an injury suffered in season opener.

The emergence of Leon Charlton has given BHS three great options at running back.

Tyrease Jones just made the greatest play in BHS history to win the City Championship game from that will forever be known as “The Miracle Between the Bricks” a 75-yard TD pass caught off of a deflection plus all-out sprint to the end zone that broke a losing streak in the series.

KJ Lee is having the season we all expected of him. Great arm talent.

Coaching: B+: Sean Pender has done a fantastic job with this team. The players love their coaches and there is a sense of unity on this team that stands out.

This team is still improving weekly. Pender has put his stamp on the program with the win over the Terrors.

There is still a lot of work to do with this team in 2020, but they are definitely heading in the right direction.

The goals for BHS every season are:

City Championship

Region Championship

State Championship

Goal #1 is complete now it is on to Goal #2, which will be decided over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned the 2020 football story is still being written at BHS because” It’s All About the Family” for the City Champions.

Plundering Pirates

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2020 Brunswick High Pirates on paper have a chance to be a pretty good football team this fall.

Sean Pender enters his 4th season as head coach of the Pirates and the Pirate faithful are excited about this upcoming football season.

The Pirates have some solid returning talent coming back in 2020 from a 6-6 season in 2019 that saw Brunswick win their first playoff game since 2010 before falling to eventual State Champion Harrison in the second round of the playoffs.

The BHS offense will be led by the two headed monster at running back Chukobe Hill and Khamori Simmons. This running back group for the Pirates refers to themselves as the “Wolfpack” and will be the best RB group in the region. Hill and Simmons combined for 1,600 rushing yards as sophomores in 2019 with Hill rushing for 1,058.

The offensive line has two 300-pound athletes that will open holes in senior Caleb Cook and Kanaya Charlton. Both athletes are generating a lot of recruiting buzz. Cook is impressive in the weight room and can squat over 500 lbs.

Xavier Bean will lead a deep group of wide receivers and KJ Lee will be back for his senior season at QB.

Lee is the wild card for BHS. Lee has put in the work, trimmed down and looks good for the 2020 season. Lee led BHS to a huge comeback win at New Hampstead last year that saved the 2019 season.

On defense the Pirates have size and athletic ability on the defensive line with players like Kayshawn Thomas.

Camron Crump is a huge producer at linebacker returns for his senior season.

Amarion Whitfield moves to corner from WR this fall and looks good so far.

Devonte Gadson and Derrick Smith both had solid 2019 seasons in the secondary.

Breakout player this season will be AJ Wilson. Wilson has bulked up to 225 pounds this offseason and is ready to be an all-star candidate at LB for BHS.

Schedule and Predictions: * Region Game

8/21: @ Windsor Forest (Savannah, GA): Pirates go on the road and unleash the Wolfpack on the Knights. Pirates 34-7 go to 1-0

8/28: McIntosh County Academy (Darien, GA): The Bucs come to Glynn County Stadium and fight hard, but don’t have the depth to beat BHS. Pirates win 35-14 to go to 2-0

9/4: Beach (Savannah, GA): BHS goes to 3-0 with a 38-8 win over Beach.

9/10: @ New Hampstead (Savannah, GA): New Hampstead will have athletes. BHS and The Phoenix played a classic in 2019, but BHS has all of their playmakers returning on offense in 2020. BHS wins 40-18 to go to 4-0

9/25: Glynn Academy *: First region game is the City Championship against the Terrors.

BHS is the home team and has lost 6 straight in the series. Glynn won in 2019 with a walk off field goal, 24-21.

The teams look even on paper, but until BHS has a lead on a scoreboard that reads 0:00 then Glynn is the pick here. GA wins 25-22. Pirates drop to 4-1 and 0-1.

10/2: @ South Effingham (Guyton, GA)*: The Mustangs move back up to 6A after a playoff berth in 2019. Pirates go to the Corral and win 34-17 to go 5-1 and 1-1.

10/9: Statesboro (Statesboro, GA)*: The Blue Devils are also back in 6A. Statesboro made the playoffs in 2019 and have been a massive rebuild for the last few seasons. Pirates win at home 28-20 to go to 6-1 and 2-1.

10/16: @ Richmond Hill (Richmond Hill, GA)*: The Wildcats, with 7A numbers, stayed in 6A after getting a waiver from the GHSA.

The Wildcats should be the region favorites and BHS has lost two straight to them. Make it 3. Richmond Hill wins 24-20. BHS drops to 6-2 and 2-2.

10/30: @ Bradwell Institute (Hinesville, GA)*: Interesting fact is BHS has lost the last two times they have played the Tigers in Hinesville. That streak won’t reach three. BHS wins 35-13. Pirates go to 7-2 and 3-2 in region play.

11/6: Effingham County (Springfield, GA)*: Effingham County is in rebuild mode. Pirates win 40-17 to finish the regular season at 8-2 and 4-2 in the region.

BHS will be a solid playoff team in 2020.

Monday Morning QB’s

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the color commentator for Brunswick High football radio broadcasts for the last 13 years I see good trends and bad trends during football seasons.

A disturbing trend currently is attendance for home football games for our two public high schools in Glynn County.

Currently the two high schools in Glynn County average around 1,000 spectators for a home football game. That is pretty embarrassing for high schools that play in the second highest classification in the state.

Yet, in spite of poor attendance many seem to be an expert on the direction the local programs should take and offer these takes on social media outlets and really have no idea what they are talking about.

Example, I was surfing the internet after Brunswick’s loss to Richmond Hill last week and a nameless expert hiding behind a computer said the program was trash and has been trash since a previous head coach was in charge five years ago.

Here is a nugget of wisdom for this expert, who claims Brunswick wastes so much talent and wants to throw every single head coach under the bus, the school has an all-time football record of 271-274-6. Chew on those facts for a moment, expert.

Brunswick High School has been playing football for 52 years and the historical average is five wins and five losses per season, but yet this expert expects a state title every season. However, won’t give a dime of support, or time to the program.

I’m tempted to name names here but I will refrain. Brunswick High has not played past the second round in the state playoffs since 1999 and has only accomplished that feat twice in its history.

Glynn Academy is in the best run of their football history and you hear people in the community starting to complain about the program but yet 900 people show up to a game on Friday night to support a program that has won over 50 football games over the past five seasons.

What is the deal here people? Prior to the current head coach arriving, Glynn had not won a region title in football since 1972. Now they have won four region titles in a row. Are the GA faithful a spoiled now?

Do local football coaches come to your job and boo you for missing a revenue target? Do they show up at your sales meetings and provide insights to how you should do your job better? Do they show up and yell at your kid at the recreation level when they make a mistake? Do they go on Facebook and say the North Glynn Recreation league Yellow Jackets are trash and need to fire their volunteer coach? Of course, they don’t so why is everyone an expert at football?

Kirby Smart is 37-11 at UGA, yet experts on Facebook say he is a bad coach after a loss.

Did UGA deserve to loss to South Carolina last week? Hell yeah, they did because South Carolina wanted it more on that particular day.

Programs are built through blood, sweat and tears and over time, but it can be destroyed at one family dinner by the most destructive thing in the history of mankind, the tongue. Many a Church sermon has been preached regarding taming the tongue but the lesson never seems to be learned.

When mean-spirited people bad mouth a football program it affects the bottom line for Glynn County Athletics, which depends on football to fund all other sports.

When people don’t attend games, revenue is not generated. Coach Rocky Hidalgo at Glynn told me about three years ago that when people outside the program come to him with coaching suggestions, he gives them a magic marker and tells them to draw it up on the chalkboard. I wonder how long those conversations last.

There are two pretty good head football coaches in Glynn County, and dedicated players who work their behinds off who never walk on a field intending to lose on Friday night.

Give them your support, or like my granddaddy always said “roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches with me, or keep your damn mouth shut”.

The kids in Glynn County community need your support on Friday nights. Will you support them? Wins, losses, style of offense, who is the QB, all of that stuff really doesn’t matter to a true supporter.

Are you all in Glynn County? Your support is needed.

Pirates Set To Sail In 2019

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Sean Pender starts year three at Brunswick High with 16 starters from 2018 returning with a year of varsity football experience.

The 2019 Pirates expect to compete for the Region 2-AAAAAA football championship.

When asked about what to expect from the 2019 Pirates Pender said “We have had more intensity and competiveness than we had in all of last year in our spring and summer program. The kids have worked extremely hard and I expect good things out of this football team once we get healthy at the QB position.”

Schedule and my predictions:

August 23rd vs Coffee: The Trojans look very good along the lines of scrimmage. Coffee is always big and strong. This will be a tough matchup for the Pirates, but Coffee has historically struggled at Glynn County Stadium. Give me Coffee 28-20.

August 30th vs Bartram Trail: Brunswick moved the ball up and down the field last year in St. Augustine. Bartram makes the return visit to Brunswick and I think the Pirates will be ready and beats a solid Florida state playoff team 34-28 to go 1-1 on the season.

September 6th vs MCA: The Bucs from Darien come “Between the Bricks” and get drilled 49-7. Pirates go to 2-1 on the season.

September 20th @ Camden: The Pirates tangle with the Cats in the first road game of the season and it will not end well for the Pirates. Camden is on the way back to being a factor in 7-A and the Pirates get clawed 38-20 to go to 2-2 on the season.

September 27th@ New Hampstead: Pirates travel to Savannah for this one and I’m putting them on upset alert. Pirates win an exciting game on the road 35-22 to move to 3-2 on the season.

October 4th@ Monroe Albany: Long drive to Albany, Georgia and the Pirates roll home with a 42-14 win to go to 4-2 on the season.

October 11th @ Richmond Hill: The Wildcats embarrassed the Pirates in 2018, but lost pretty much their entire offense to graduation. Brunswick returns the favor on the road at a place they have never lost. Brunswick beats Richmond Hill 28-21. Pirates go to 5-2 on the season.

October 18th vs Effingham: The Rebels ran up the score against the Pirates in Springfield last year throwing TD passes with less than two minutes left up by 24 points. Circle game at home for Brunswick. Expect Brunswick to return the favor if that opportunity presents. Pirates go to 6-2 with a 38-21 win.

October 25th @ Glynn Academy: In a game with the region championship on the line BHS tries to avoid a sixth straight loss. Anything can happen in a rival game but I will not believe it until I see it. Glynn 27-20. Pirates drop to 6-3

November 8th vs Bradwell: BHS locks up a number two seed with a 41-14 win over the Tigers and finishes the regular season at 7-3 and will host a first-round state playoff game.

Opposing Coaches view on Brunswick: “When Sean gets solid QB production his offenses are the best around.

I know he made some really good hires on the defensive side of the ball during the winter and I think they get a lot better there because they played a lot of sophomores on that side of the ball last year.

Will that community let Sean build this thing? You will see this team get a lot better this fall and Sean has worked hard to keep his kids from being cherry picked by the private school in the county.

They are on the way back. Maurice and Victor built a solid program there and they made a mistake letting Victor go, and the guy behind him ran that thing over a cliff.

Sean is the right man for that job, and he has some nice young talent cycling his way in that school system. They will be a playoff team this fall then that program takes off in 2020.

They have good facilities down there and they have those kids all on the same NFL team in Detroit. The skill talent is always there.

Sean built that thing in Pierce and will do the same in Brunswick.”

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.