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Thomas Heyward High School

Rebels win region title; ready for playoff run


By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Ridgeland – With the first goal reached, the Thomas Heyward Academy football team sets their sights on a bigger prize.

The Rebels capped off an 8-2 regular season with a win over Colleton Prep on November 27th, clinching a region championship. The next phase of the 2017 season begins on November 3rd as the Rebels host Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach in the first-round of the Class A SCISA state playoffs. Thomas Heyward hopes for a trip to the state finals, their first since 2012.

“We’re excited about the opportunities in front of us,” head coach Nic Shuford said. “We’ve had a good season so far but our goal is to win a state championship. This team has worked really hard all year but we have a big challenge ahead of us. We have to play well for three more games.”

Thomas Heyward continues to be led by senior quarterback Logan Thomas, a fourth-year starter. Thomas has passed for 1,320 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding nearly 400 yards on the ground. Thomas is the region’s offensive player of the year.

A big key, however, is the supporting cast assembled this fall. Freshman running back JR Patterson, who transferred to Thomas Heyward in August, has been a huge factor offensively. Patterson has rushed for 1,645 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 13.4 yards per carry.

“He can scoot,” Shuford said. “He has made a big difference, giving us another weapon offensively.”

Junior power back River Pender has added 780 yards (9.4 average) on the ground. The Rebels are averaging 328 yards rushing per game and 9.5 yards per carry.

Juniors Jacob Masters and Joseph Gibson, sophomore Chipper Hammond, and freshman Zack Black head up the receiving corps. All four players are averaging better than 20 yards per reception this season.

Junior left tackle Evan Brazil anchors a young but improving offensive line. The lone senior up front is center Pablo Orozco.

“The line, by far, has been the biggest surprise this season,” Shuford said. “We knew we had some ability and figured we would be good at some point. They have matured and grown together a lot quicker than we expected.”

Senior linebacker Zach Bond is the anchor defensively, leading the team with 114 tackles, seven for loss, and five sacks. Bond was recently voted the region defensive player of the year.

 Junior Timber Hexamer has nine sacks and nine tackles for loss while Gibson has 54 tackles, six for loss. Junior Bryce Tillotson has 65 total tackles. Masters has four interceptions while Black has three.

Thomas Heyward football in title contention


By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Ridgeland – More than halfway through the regular season, the Thomas Heyward Academy Rebels are sitting in contention for a region championship, and possibly more, depending on how the final month of the regular season goes.

The Rebels opened the season by losing two of their first three games but enter an October 6th game against Williamsburg Academy with a 4-2 record and riding a three-game winning streak. The Rebels play Dorchester Academy on October 13th in a game that could decide the region championship. They close out the regular season with games against Palmetto Christian and Colleton Prep.

The last three wins have been offensive explosions for the Thomas Heyward offense. The unit has scored 146 points during the streak, posting 52 points in wins over Bethesda and Hilton Head Christian and 42 points in a win over John Paul II.

In their other win, over Hilton Head Prep in early September, the Rebels put 46 points on the board. The two losses came to Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 12-6, and to St. Andrews, 33-0.

Most of the offensive production is coming from the running game where the Rebels are averaging 329 yards per game and 9.0 yards per attempt. The running game features several different players, most notably freshman running back JR Patterson and senior quarterback Logan Thomas.

Patterson leads the Rebels with 939 yards on only 69 carries, an average of 13.6 yards per carry. He has scored eight touchdowns. Patterson has three 100-yard rushing efforts with his best outing coming against John Paul II when he gained 307 yards. He tallied 248 yards rushing in the recent win over Hilton Head Christian.

Thomas, a fourth-year varsity starter, has rushed for 240 yards on just 40 carries with four touchdowns. He also has passed for 813 yards and nine more scores. His top performance of the season to date was in the win over Hilton Head Prep where he completed 14 of 21 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He had a 203-yard passing effort against Bethesda, also with three scores.

Fullback River Pender, a junior, has added 453 yards rushing, averaging 8.9 yards per tote. Junior Caleb Tufts has added 149 yards on the ground.

Several receivers aid greatly in the passing game. The top receiver has been junior Jacob Masters, who has 10 receptions for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Dalton Steedley, a senior, has four catches but three have gone for touchdowns.

Freshman Zack Black has nine catches for 216 yards (24.0 average) and junior Chipper Hammond has three catches for 120 yards. Junior Joseph Gibson has only four catches but for 97 yards and two scores.

While the defense has allowed some points, a team effort has helped the unit improve over the course of the season.

Senior linebacker Zach Bond leads the unit with 69 tackles, including five for loss. Gibson and Steedley each have 33 total tackles with Gibson also contributing three sacks.

Junior Bryce Tillotson has 34 total tackles and senior Pablo Orozco has 22 tackles and five hits for loss. Junior Timber Hexamer leads the defense with four sacks and Black has three interceptions in the secondary.

Thomas Heyward has 10 interceptions in the first six games and has recovered five fumbles.


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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