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First Baptist High School
Charleston

First Baptist caps great season with second straight title

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Charleston – A veteran team with plenty of focus was unstoppable in the SCISA Class AA state playoffs as First Baptist School won a second consecutive state title with a 35-20 win over Trinity-Byrnes.

After falling behind 20-0 at halftime, the Hurricanes put the pedal to the metal and rolled to victory with a second-half performance.

Head coach Johnny Waters was impressed with his team’s focus all season long. Despite being heavy favorites to repeat, the Hurricanes never had a letdown and posted numerous blowout victories.

“This group is different than any team I’ve been a part of,” Waters said. “Their focus and intensity level is amazing. They show up every single day to work and they have showed up ready to play every Friday night. I told them the one thing I am most proud of so far is they have not had a letdown. They have a mature approach to every game.

“It’s funny, in a way. I’m not sure these guys really understand what they have accomplished these last two years. They don’t look at the scores or the wins. They just want to play football. I could call a practice for Monday after the state championship game and they would all show up. It’s the most coachable team I’ve ever been around.”

Junior running back Michel Dukes finished the season with more than 2,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive year and was named the SCISA AA Player of the Year by the High School Sports Report.

Junior quarterback Tremez Brown topped 2,200 passing yards in his first season as a starter while Tylan Major had 14 touchdown catches and nearly 1,000 yards.

 The offensive line was a consistent unit all season. The lone starting seniors were tackle Patrick Gilliam and guard Jason Jeffcoat. Logan Stone was the other tackle and Chip Becude was the other guard. Matthew Harleston was the starting center.

Defensively, leaders this season were linebackers Timmy Campbell and Jackson Watson. Campbell, a senior, and the junior Watson each totaled more than 110 total tackles. Senior Mark White had 18 tackles for loss. First Baptist posted six shutouts and allowed about a touchdown per game.

First Baptist has done it both offensively and defensively. While averaging 53 points per game offensively, the Hurricanes allow less than a touchdown per game on the season and have posted six shutouts.

“Sometimes, because of the points the offense scores, the defense can get overlooked,” Waters said. “We, the coaches, don’t overlook what they do. They were tremendous all season. Regardless of the opponent or the offense they run up against, those guys were dominant all season.”

Placekicker Justin Johnson has been a weapon as well, converting five field goal opportunities and making 66 of 70 extra-point kicks.

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