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Timberland High School
St. Stephen

Timberland continues region dominance

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

St. Stephen—Things seemed bleak for the Timberland football team at the midway point of the regular season. The Wolves were 2-3 overall, but all three losses came to Class 4A schools (No. 2 North Myrtle Beach, No. 12 Cane Bay, No. 7 Berkeley).

However, they responded by winning the last five games of the year, including all four conference contests, to claim the Region 7-AAA championship. It was Timberland’s 12th title in the last 13 seasons.

“That’s a testament to our coaches and kids. I told this group after the loss to Berkeley that they have an obligation to uphold the Timberland tradition. Whether they wanted that on their shoulders or not, it was there,” said head coach Art Craig. “They just kind of took it and ran with it. This was one of the more surprising ones, but I’m as proud of this one as I am any of them we’ve had.”

Now the Wolves gear up for the postseason. Timberland, ranked No. 8 in the latest HSSR Class AA poll, hosts May River in the first round of the playoffs. They would welcome in Georgetown or Swansea in the second round if they advance.

“I’ve seen them on film a couple of times,” Craig said of May River. “They’ve got some good athletes, but we’re going to focus on us and see what we can do. We’ll take it one week at a time.”

After starting fullback Kevin Williams was lost to an injury, several others have had to pick up the slack. Roger Gibbs leads the team with 758 yards and seven touchdowns on 106 carries, and has added another 194 yards and two scores receiving.

“…[H]e’s taken his game to such a high level. It’s fun to watch,” Craig said of Gibbs.

Fullback Johnson Thomas has 64 rushes for 388 yards and six TDs, and Josh Hill has 134 yards and three touchdowns on 33 attempts.

Defensively, Timberland has allowed just 10.9 points per game and had one of their best performances all year in the season finale against Bishop England. They held the Bishops to 105 yards of total offense and limited all-state nominee Leo Albano to 30 yards passing on a 3-for-21 clip.

“Our defense has played well during the year, but that was as good as I’ve seen in a long time. We ran to the football and never let Albano get anything. We covered real well tonight. We’re much better on the perimeter and that makes it tough on people,” Craig said.

Jamaal McKinney leads the unit with 78 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and six sacks. William Chandler is close behind with 70 stops while Terrence Smalls has 67 tackles, eight for loss, and three sacks.

Other key players include Jordan Wilford (58.5 tackles, 7 TFL), Darious Milligan (47 tackles), Dakari Wynn (46 tackles), Kevin Wilson (44.5 tackles), Matt Williamson (41 tackles, 5 fumble recoveries) and Tyler Sumpter (11 pass breakups, 5 interceptions).

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