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Batesburg-Leesville High School

 

Batesburg-Leesville fall sports returning to action

By Jay Hendrix
Special To The HSSR

The Batesburg-Leesville High School fall sports are in full swing and after a week off due to Hurricane Florence the Panthers are back in action.  Football has started slowly with a 2-3 start while volleyball is near the top of Region 2-AA with 6-3 start which includes a 3-1 conference record.  Girls tennis has started 4-3 with several nice wins as they look to compete for a region crown as well.  The cross country teams have been building with several good showing in invitationals while the girls team won a meet at Saluda.  
Football has been on a roller coaster as they appear to be in a rebuilding stage with a very young team that lacks significant upperclassmen.  The offensive line took a huge blow when senior Captain Lane Janney went down in the season opener and hasn’t played since.  Other line injuries to Caden Bryant and Bryce Burkett have also hampered an already thin line.  The Panthers own wins over Ridge Spring-Monetta and Mid-Carolina and lost a shootout with Newberry 41-39.  The Panthers were blown out by gilbert and Abbeville to bring their record to 2-3.  The Lexington game was postponed due to the hurricane and is expected to be made up in November.
The Panthers play in one of the toughest regions in Class AA with the top ranked Abbeville Panthers and talented teams such as Saluda, Silver Bluff, Ninety Six and Fox Creek.  Junior quarterback Keshoun Williams has been a bright spot as he has tallied back to back 100 yard passing games in the win over Mid-Carolina and the loss to Abbeville.  Senior running back Tay Wilson leads the rushing attack with 324 yards rushing and also has a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  Marvin Gantt added a 94-yadr kickoff return for a touchdown against Newberry and is averaging 61 yards per return on four returns.  Shauntrel Hendrix leads the receiving corps with 14 catches for 187 yards.  
Defensively Vernard Ramage and Jahmad Barr-Williams have been all over the field at linebacker while Jaewon Williams has provided good coverage.  Darius Dennis and Meosphia Yarborough have emerged as a threat on the defensive line and offensive line as both have seen plenty of time due to injuries.  Dennis is a 6’2” 235 pound junior while Yarborough is a 6’4” 285 pound freshman. 
Brantley Buzhardt has the Panther volleyball team playing well and has been selected as a North-South coach for this season.  The Panthers are 6-3 overall and 3-1 in Region 2-AA with their only loss to Fox Creek.  The Panthers won the Region 5-AA championship last season and have a strong core of players back.  Jayla Barr, Zoe Jackson, Kiara Quattlebaum, Ryanne Yarborough and Taleah Tolen form a veteran lineup.  Barr’s passing has been key in wins as she has tallied over 20 assists numerous times while Quattlebaum and Jackson’s play at the net has been dominating.  In a recent win over Silver Bluff Jackson had 14 kills while Quattlebaum added 12. 
The girls tennis team has had some strong matches this season with wins over Fox Creek, Williston-Elko and Ben Lippen.  The Panthers also had a strong showing in a recent 4-3 loss to Gilbert.  Hannah Derrick has been excellent as the number one seed while the sisters Caroline and Catherine Bedenbaugh are number two and three.  Keiley Frye has anchored the number four seed all season while Morgan Price recently supplanted Riley Bundrick at the number five seed as the team’s depth is starting to show.
On the cross country course the Panthers lost two meets due to Hurricane Florence include what was scheduled to be a seven team home meet.  They have competed at the Eagle Eye and Pelion Invitationals as they look to compete with the best teams around.  Head Coach Kim Hendrix has been very pleased with the progress of her boys team which is led by Newberry College commitment Justin Castro who has consistently been sub 20:00 as he leads the team.  Drayton Sheppard, Cayden Bundrick, Manuel Ramos-Ibarra and Ethan Davis have been the top five recently with Tate Frye pushing to be in the scoring mix.
For the girls Mina Shull, who like Castro were the Region 5-AA champions last season, continues to lead the girls squad but with several new runners trying to establish themselves the girls have been slowly coming around.  They did win the Saluda meet in early September with veterans Liza Rios, Jasmine Campbell and Zoe Noriega being joined by newcomers Daniella Delgado and Aurora Durst.  

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