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Goose Creek High School
Goose Creek

Gators hope for better fortunes in 2017

 

By Rob Gantt

Special to The HSSR

GOOSE CREEKGoose Creek High School football Chris Candor enters his third season hoping the Gators can be less snakebitten than they were in 2016. The Gators finished just 3-8 but were competitive throughout the season, losing a handful games by not making one play here or there.

“We’ve got to do a better job coaching them,” Candor said. “I was the most disappointed I’ve ever been in my coaching career. We just couldn’t get it done and it was frustrating.”

They lost five games by seven points or less, including a 36-33 loss to Conway in the opening round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

“This is a great group to coach,” Candor said of his 2017 squad. “They’re here every day, working hard and trying to get better. Our coaching staff is working hard with them to help them get better. I think we will have an opportunity to have a good season if we can stay healthy and everybody continues to work hard like they have been.”

They have a new point man in quarterback Tavion Major, a senior. He takes the reins to the offense that has a lot of new faces.

Running back Dante Smith has the most experience of the skill players but only had 300-plus yards and a touchdown last season. Receiver Koron Suber made eight grabs for 100 yards but didn’t score.

The offensive line figures to be a strength. Troy Aratan and Dalton Smith, the tackles, and center Tremaine James are returning starters up front.

Defensively, the Gators have a lot of productive players to replace too. They lost all of their top eight tacklers from a year ago.

Candor believes the defensive front will be productive and disruptive.

“We’ve got some guys that can really go up there,” Candor said.

Defensive tackle Keyshawn Mays looks like the ringleader. He led the team in sacks last season. Outside linebacker James Wilson is a returning contributor too. He made 32 stops.

The Gators have a tough slate, starting with a home tilt against Cane Bay on Aug. 25 before road clashes at traditional powers Sumter Sept. 1 and Greenwood Sept. 8. The Gators host Summerville on Sept. 15, beginning the Region 7-AAAAA slate.

“There are definitely no gimmes in that group,” Candor said. “That’s four tough games you could play well and still not get the outcome you want. We’ll find out what we’re made of.”

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