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Ashley Ridge High School
Summerville

Walker pleased with improvement during spring drills

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Summerville – With one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state returning, along with some key faces defensively, Ashley Ridge head football coach Kenny Walker is optimistic about his 2018 squad.

Walker and the Swamp Foxes recently completed spring football drills and head into the summer months looking to expand on the improvement shown during May.

“I thought spring ball went very well, probably better than I expected to be honest,” said Walker, who guided the Swamp Foxes to a 7-4 record last season. “I thought we showed steady improvement in a lot of areas. We found a few new guys that can help us this fall. We still have work to do but we got a lot done this spring.”

The quarterback that will lead the Swamp Foxes is returning starter Matt Duncan, a 6-2, 200-pounder with a cannon arm and good athleticism. Duncan threw for more than 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore.

“He looked really good in the spring and he’s going to have a good season, we hope,” Walker said. “He’s a winner and a team leader. There were a few times last year that he basically willed us to win. He’s a special player.”

The running game should be solid with the return of senior Nick Cunningham, who rushed for 1,114 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.

The top returning receiver is Demarr Proctor-Floyd, who averaged 21.4 yards per reception and added 319 yards rushing last season.

“We have some other receivers who have been in the program and have the ability, but they haven’t been tested yet,” Walker said. “We feel like they can play but they have to prove it.”

Anchoring the offensive line will be senior tackle Jackson Pell (6-4, 285), a college prospect. Kamryn Petrick, Kaleb Brown and Kade Ratliff also return with significant playing experience along the front.

The defensive line should be a strength for the Swamp Foxes in 2018. Returning at one end is senior Jaheim President, who tallied 13 sacks last fall. Back on the interior are Anthony Jackson and Jack Bruffey.

Rhett Butcher, who was second on the team in tackles last year with 155 hits, returns at linebacker, along with Nathan Estep.

Anchoring the secondary is senior free safety Darius Smith, who had 85 tackles. Walker likes the potential of corners Noah West and Jaden Newbeck.

Ashley Ridge will open the 2018 season on August 17th with a home game against Goose Creek, followed by a road game at Berkeley.

 

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