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Chapman High School
Inman

Chapman aiming to continue recent run of success

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

InmanChapman head coach Mark Hodge has turned the Panthers into perennial contenders over the last several years.  The school captured the Class AAA state title in 2016 before finishing runner-up a year ago.

However, so much of the production that helped Chapman reach those heights is gone to graduation, leaving a new group of players to come together to continue that winning tradition.

“This team will have a chance to develop into a very competitive football team,” said Hodge.  “We have a solid core of returning starters on both sides of the ball, with many electric underclassmen.  The perimeter is experienced and very athletic.  The offensive and defensive lines and linebackers will be young, but more experienced than last year’s group.”

The Panthers return 11 starters, but the biggest focus is on the quarterback position.  Junior Mikele Colusardo replaces Colton Bailey, and Colusardo was 20-of-42 passing for 246 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions in limited action last fall.

Other key players on offense include junior running back Dante Smith, who gained 887 yards and seven touchdowns on 124 carries in 2017. 

On the perimeter, wide receivers Brandon Adams (43 catches, 680 yards, 5 TD), Ben Rollins (9 catches, 115 yards, TD) and Noah Twitty (2 TD) are the main threats.

Luke Cromer, Dillon Johnson and Lucas Garrett anchor the offensive line.

On the defensive side, Thomas Grigg (59 tackles) is back up front alongside Lamone Terrell.  Chapman has an outstanding trio of junior linebackers as well, featuring Timothy Ferguson (96 tackles, 3 sacks), Eli Whittemore (58 tackles) and Paxton Tolleson (31 tackles).

The secondary is led by Jaylan Smith, who made 76 stops while recording a team-high six interceptions last season.

“As this team grows in experience and age each week, it should improve daily.  We return some dynamic football players and have many young kids who we feel will be special.  We have continued to grow a lot through the ups and downs and have sharpened under the face of adversity during the offseason,” Hodge said.

Chapman will compete in a 7-on-7 series that include games at Wren, Spartanburg and North Greenville University as they continue their offseason preparation.

“I am truly looking forward to the coming months with these young men.  If we mature throughout the season, stay humble and hold together, no expectation is too high for this group of young men,” Hodge said.

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