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Blythewood High School

Smith picks up first victory at Blythewood

By C.R. Cumbee

 Staff Writer

Blythewood—After successfully turning around the C.E. Murray football team, head coach Brian Smith left for the same position at Blythewood. The Bengals were 9-3 last fall and opened the 2017 campaign with a 33-14 victory over Rock Hill.

“Everything has gone according to plan. We have great support here at Blythewood and they’ve helped us with the transition, which allowed us to get a big win in the first week,” Smith said.

The defense will be one of the team’s strengths this year as nine starters return. The entire front seven is back in defensive linemen Tevin Thom, Devon Epps, Tyreek Jones and Brandon Tucker, and Spencer Jones, Jack Monroe and Jhevon Daughtry are the linebackers.

“Our front seven is what sets the tone for our defense. They create a new line of scrimmage and put the other team back on its heels. If they continue to do that, we’ll have success on defense,” Smith said.

In the secondary, top senior Jaydon Brunson and Corey Williams are the veterans. Joining them in the defensive backfield is Shi’heem Watkins and Makenzie Phillips.

“He’s a guy that we know we can leave alone on any wide receiver that we face,” Smith said of Brunson. “He locks down a whole side of the field for us in the passing game, which allows us to do some more advanced stuff with the front seven.”

The running back tandem of Chris Woodall and Jaylon Boyd started in the backfield in 2016 but have newcomers in quarterback Quinton Patten, wide receivers Jakob Owens and Dalen Mickle, and tight end John Sims around them.

“We’ve got some playmakers, and that always helps you as a coach when you have guys that can take it to the house at any time,” Smith said.

Tucker and Kaleb Brabham return on the offensive line while Jack Jones, Mac Duncan and Kade Gillespie are added to the trenches.

“They’ve looked very good. We’re getting to the point where we’re a physical team. It’s a work in progress and it’s not going to happen overnight, but we hope to be there by the end of the season,” Smith said.

On special teams, Nick Gabbert does the placekicking while Brady Beasley handles the punting.

Blythewood continues the regular season Aug. 25 against Ridge View, which will be the home opener for the Bengals. The Blazers won last year’s matchup, 23-21.

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