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Orangeburg Prep High School

Orangeburg Prep battling for playoff berth

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

OrangeburgOrangeburg Prep head coach Andy Palmer took over last fall and started to build the program from the ground up.  Over the past year and a half he has seen plenty of improvement, but still knows there is still much left to do.

“It’s the second year of this program and we’re a little bit better than we were at this time last year,” Palmer said.  “We ended up 6-4 last year and we definitely want to be ahead of that.  The kids are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and we’re bigger, faster and stronger.  We’re not having to teach on the go anymore.”

The Indians are off to a 4-2 start this season with a 1-2 mark in region play.  They still must face conference foes Ben Lippen and Heathwood Hall, and a pair of wins there would go a long way in making a case for a playoff berth.

“We definitely need to win that game (Heathwood Hall) to get any consideration, and you never know with Ben Lippen.  If we can play well and stick around long enough, we might have a chance at the end to win the ballgame,” Palmer said.

Offensively, OPS has gotten a huge contribution from Bill Metts, who missed last season with an injury.  Back to full strength, the senior has rushed for 776 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 91 carries.

“He’s had a big year running the ball for us,” Palmer said.  “He’s a dynamic player at the running back position that can take it the distance when he gets out.  He catches the ball well and he plays well on defense.  He’s a winner and a competitor.”

Andrew Brickle has been another playmaker in the backfield, running 79 times for 535 yards and three scores.  Quarterback Trace Furtick has thrown for 521 yards, and his top targets have been Will Summers, Peyton McDougal and Parker KuckDarby Self and William Garner continue to anchor the offensive line.

Leading the charge on defense has been John Henry Reynolds and Wesley Wells.  Reynolds has a team-high 65 tackles, including nine for loss, while Wells has 52 total stops.

“They’re both inside linebackers so they have a nose for the football and they’re responsible for getting us lined up and in the right coverage.  They’ve done a good job with that,” Palmer said.

Kuck has a pair of interceptions, and Summers, Matheson Wannamaker, Hunter Shafer, Grant Axson and Collin Bair have all gotten time on the side of the ball.  It is a unit that is starting to pick up its play.

“We’re improving as we go.  We had our first shutout of the season last week against Oakbrook and face a big test this week against Ben Lippen.  We’re just getting better as we go,” Palmer said.

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