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Carolina Academy High School
Lake City

Carolina Academy football readies for postseason run

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Lake City – The regular season was an up and down ride for the Carolina Academy football team in 2017. But, as any coach will tell you, once you get to the state playoffs, the regular season means very little.

Carolina Academy qualified for the SCISA Class A state playoffs, finishing the regular season with a 4-5 overall record. The Bobcats notched region victories over Myrtle Beach Christian, Greenwood Christian and The King’s Academy, finishing 3-2 in league play. They also picked up a momentum win heading into the playoffs, beating rival Williamsburg Academy in the regular season finale.

Carolina Academy’s first-round playoff opponent is a familiar one. The Bobcats will travel to St. George for a game against Dorchester Academy. The two teams met in week two of the regular season with Dorchester taking a 35-20 victory in a game that was very close. Carolina Academy trailed 26-20 in the fourth quarter despite committing nine turnovers.

“Yeah, we had nine turnovers and still had a chance to win,” Carolina Academy head coach T.J. Joye said. “It would have been a different game without the turnovers but they’re a good football team. Some of those turnovers were those guys making some plays. Turnovers have been an issue for us all year. In our game after Dorchester we had six turnovers. We had four against John Paul. It’s been a problem. If we can take care of the ball in the playoffs, maybe we have a chance to win some games.”

Joye says playing an opponent for a second time offers no real advantages for either team. He says the Raiders are pretty balanced. Quarterback Lance Brownlee is the catalyst for the Dorchester offense. He has passed for more than 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns while also rushing for more than 500 yards.

“He’s a good football player and he plays defense too,” Joye said. “They have some good players. They are well-coached and their kids play with a lot of effort. We have to be ready to match their intensity. We have to bring a great effort as well.”

Carolina Academy’s bell cow offensively has been junior running back Tyson Brand. Brand is right at 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this season. The Bobcats average about 268 yards rushing per game. Brand had 241 yards rushing in the win over Williamsburg Academy.

“He’s had a good year and our guys up front on the offensive line have been pretty consistent,” Joye said. “For us to have a chance, we need to be able to run the football consistently. We want to throw when we want to throw, not because we have to throw.”

Anchoring the offensive line this year has been center Bradley Floyd, along with solid efforts from Brad Tucker, Tyrese McCray and Landon Powell.

Freshman Cade Castles has taken over at quarterback with Shea Hall, the early season starter, moving to receiver. Hall and Demarcus Smith are the team’s leading receivers. Castles has nearly 400 yards passing and has rushed for 338 yards and six touchdowns. Freshman Austin Brown also is contributing to the running game.

“Cade is doing a good job and he’s getting more confident every day,” Joye said. “We have some young guys out there. We start six or seven freshmen. They’re coming along pretty well.

“This is a hard-working group. They listen and try hard. It’s been a lot of fun coaching this group.”

Tucker also is a key leader on the defensive side of the ball. He leads the Bobcats in tackles with 89 total hits. Jeremiah Brunson has 73 total tackles and McCray has 56 tackles. Spencer Boyington has 41 tackles and McKenzie Amos has 40. Mac Timmons has 33 total tackles and freshman defensive back Matthew Joye has two interceptions.

Having been in several close games this year could work to Carolina Academy’s advantage in the playoffs, if they can give themselves a chance in the fourth quarter.

“Maybe it will help us, if we can play well enough to have a shot at the end,” Joye said. “We’ve been really competitive all year. We lost some games but we were in those games. We have to play well and take care of the football.”

Fall Sports Wrap Up

The Carolina Academy girls tennis team suffered a first-round loss to Spartanburg Day in the SCISA class AA state tennis playoffs. Three of the matches came down to third-set tie-breakers and Spartanburg Day was able to win all three battles.

Number two singles player Elizabeth Askins lost 10-8 in the third while Emma Hunt lost 10-6 in the third set at number four. Playing at number five singles, Meg McDaniel lost 10-7 in the tie-breaker. All three players won the first set of their matches.

Top-ranked singles player Grace Weaver posted the team’s only win.

 The volleyball team earned a spot in the Class AA state tournament but was eliminated with consecutive losses. The junior varsity volleyball team posted a 14-6 record this season.

Emma Louise Hunt participated in the SCISA state golf tournament, posting a nine-hole score 41 in the rain shortened event.

 

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