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Kingstree High School

Improved Kingstree headed to Class AA playoffs

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Kingstree—To say the 2016 season was tough for the Kingstree football team would be an understatement. However, the Jaguars have been much more competitive this year, going 2-4 in conference play and earning a postseason berth under second-year coach Earl Brown II.

“This is something everybody has been geared up for – the kids, the coaches and the community. We put together a nice game plan to put some wins together and the kids are excited. They’re walking around with their chests out and you can see the confidence in them,” Brown said.

Kingstree will face one of its most difficult tests all year as they open the Class AA playoffs at No. 5 Bamberg-Ehrhardt. The Red Raiders won their region and are 9-1 overall. However, the Jaguars are embracing and relishing the underdog role.

“Nobody is thinking about Kingstree, and that’s fine. We don’t want anything given to us. We want to earn everything. I guarantee you when we come to town, you’re going to have to play four quarters. Being the underdog is fine. I wouldn’t want a target on my back. I don’t think a lot of teams want to see us because we’re peaking at the right time,” Brown said.

The Jaguars have gradually gotten better over the course of the year, and have won two of their last four games. They’ve averaged 29.5 points per game over that stretch while allowing 23.3.

“All three phases are coming together – offensively, defensively and special teams. The biggest thing is the kids trust what we do. They know who we are. They play within their abilities and don’t try to do more than they can do. It’s about executing and we’ll go from there,” Brown said.

The other amazing thing about the turnaround is the limited amount of players on the roster. They may be small in quantity, but the quality is there.

“This isn’t my first rodeo, so I know what it takes to build a team and a program. It’s not about the numbers. Last year we had over 60 kids and were getting beat by 60 points. This year, we’ve got a group of kids that want to come to practice each day and get better, and they’re changing the culture. We have about 27 to 30 kids that are all in and want to be great,” Brown said

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