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Gray Collegiate High School

 

Gray Collegiate football captures first region title

By Chris Dearing

Special Contributor

Columbia – At the time that Gray Collegiate defeated Lamar in midseason, something special clicked for the War Eagles football program. Not only did they defeat a team that rarely loses at home, it set them on the course to capture the first-ever region title in football in school history.

They won four region games by an average of 40-8 score and carry that momentum into the postseason. Playing mainly Class AAAAA and AAAA teams in the non-region also set the stage for that final run that saw them win the final five games of the season to finish 6-4 on the year.

“The non-region was tough for us,” head coach Adam Holmes said. “Winning that Lamar game really gave us that boost of confidence. We’ve been resilient since that 1-4 start and done everything we wanted to accomplish. Now we’re ready for the next step.”

Gray Collegiate had the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year from Region 3-AA. Junior quarterback Hunter Helms and Senior defensive lineman Brendan Evans-Grayson earned the honors after spectacular seasons.

Helms has thrown for 2,497 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 192-of-293. He had plenty of weapons around him. Josh Doctor led the way at receiver with 66 receptions, 833 yards and six touchdowns. Kyser Samuel added 38 catches for 617 yards with six scores as well. Both made All-Region team. Samuel led the team with three interceptions as well.

NyKeem Smith chipped in with 22 catches for 355yards and led the receivers with seven touchdowns. Jack Wood had 24 grabs for 350 yards and three scores.

Freshman Kazarius Adams led the rushing attack with 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns on 133 carries. Julian Jackson added 554 yards and seven touchdowns on 76 carries. Adams was All-Region too.

Tyler Lamar was all-Region on the offensive line that will return all four starters next season.

Joining Evans-Grayson as All-Region on the defensive side are Dallaz Corbitt, Armani Williams, Arthur Albritton, Emmanuel Harley and Spencer Steverson.

Dominique Barksdale was left off the All-Region team but leads the War Eagles with 112 tackles. Albritton has 103 and Williams 96. Corbitt, who is committed to Central Florida, leads the team with seven sacks.

Gray Collegiate has 14 seniors on its roster, most that are contributors. They’re looking forward to leaving a mark in the postseason that begins this Friday against Latta.

“It’s set up for us to make a run but there’s a lot of good teams in the lower state,” Holmes said. “We’re looking at it that we hope we can play a five-game season now. We’re pretty healthy and hopefully that allows us to make a run.”

Holmes wasn’t ready to look ahead to next season but does think his program is on solid ground.

“We have to keep the attitude and effort that has been established here,” he said. “We lose some very good players, but we have several solid pieces coming back. Our junior varsity team was really good for us and we can use some of those players to build on.”

Gray Collegiate also just completed the most successful volleyball season in school history. The War Eagles made it all the way to the Lower State title game before losing to Oceanside Collegiate. Gray Collegiate won the region title before knocking off Latta, Andrews and East Clarendon before losing in the state semifinals.

Boys Cross Country finished 16th at the state meet.

 

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