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Goose Creek High School
Goose Creek

 

Gators show improvement in Winstead’s first year

By Rob Gantt

Special to the HSSR

Goose Creek - The Goose Creek High School football team came up short of the Class 5A playoffs.

A loss to Berkeley High School on the last night of the regular season ultimately kept the Gators away from the postseason fun for the second straight year.

Still, the Gators had some positives for the season, the first under coach Jason Winstead. They won four games, doubling their win output from 2017.

The Gators were 2-3 against Region 7-AAAAA foes, finishing in a three-way tie for third place but dropping to fifth after tiebreakers.

“We definitely took some steps forward,” Winstead said. “We’ve still got a long way to go though. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to but other than Fort, Summerville and Berkeley we were in every game.”

It was the end of the road for 25 seniors, including around 10 starters.

“Some of them, especially the seniors, were really upset not to make the playoffs but I think some of our younger guys feel like they’ve got a chance to compete next year,” Winstead said. “Even against great teams like Berkeley, Summerville and Fort, there were times when they made plays. They realize it’s going to take some work but I think they’re ready to work.”

The key for 2019 is making substantial gains in strength and speed.

“I know everybody says it but we’ve got to get in the weight room,” Winstead said. “We got pushed around too many times on the offensive line and defensive line. If we get stronger, that will build some confidence.”

Five seniors moving on from the offense are center Tremaine James, right guard Quentin Jones, running back Dante Smith, wide receiver Dijion Singleton and wide receiver Corey Lucas.

On the other side, senior defensive end LJ Stanley is the lone Gators player with one more game to play. He was selected to the North-South All-Star team. Other Gators seniors were defensive tackle Corey Ravenel, cornerback Travelle Simmons, defensive back Tyler Ravenell, defensive lineman Jameel McGee and linebacker Jackson Price.

As for returning players, the good news is junior quarterback Emmanuel Mukuamu will have a year’s worth of experience and an offseason to improve. Winstead didn’t have the exact stats but figured Mukuamu could have been a 2,000-yard passer if not for a problem with dropped passes.

“I really expect him to step up and be a leader next year,” Winstead said.

Junior receiver Damon Mouzon, junior quarterback/wide receiver DJ Matthews and junior running back Maurice Mazyck are among the group of experienced skill players coming back.

Up front, sophomore left tackle Rashauan Smith, freshman tackle Jayden Johnson and junior right tackle Deangelo Bright are set to return.

Defensively, junior linebacker Nyhiem Simmons will be back after leading the team in tackles along with sophomore linebacker Quinn Tolbert

On the defensive front, sophomore Symeon Kennedy will be back with experience. Junior corners Jekiah Wigfall and Jalen Daniel will rejoin sophomore safety Melvin Ravenel and junior safety Devante Pryor in the secondary next season.

Sophomore kicker David Cannady was accurate on field goals.

 

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