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C. E. Murray High School
Greeleyville

 War Eagles come up short of Class A title game

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Greeleyville—Sometimes a coaching change can disrupt a program, but at C.E. Murray this season, that was far from the case. Chad Wilkes took the reins and guided the War Eagles to an 11-2 record before falling to Baptist Hill in the Lower State championship game.

“I took the job because I thought this was a team missing a couple things, here and there, from becoming a state championship winning program,” Wilkes said. “I didn’t necessarily envision the transition going so well. It might have been harder to gain their respect after they lost a coach who they trusted so much. From day one, they listened and bought into what I told them.”

With the season over, the War Eagles will say goodbye to a senior class that won three consecutive region championships, played in a pair of Lower State finals, and made the first appearance in a state title game in school history.

Shrine Bowler Darius Rush led that group, hauling in 47 passes for 863 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding 44 tackles on defense. North-South all-star Tylik Canty had 69 tackles and six stops for loss.

Other departures include linebacker Travis Brown (90 tackles, 5 TFL), offensive/defensive lineman Malik Starling (64 tackles, 5 TFL) and Daviyon Oglesby.

“Their character is so high. A lot of times people think about what they do on the field and forget about how important their character is. We never had any discipline issues. They were very smart kids and they made it easier to coach. Hopefully our next class will be that way. I’m extremely proud of what they accomplished. They took this program to completely new heights that nobody ever thought could be done,” Wilkes said.

The War Eagles should be one of the top teams in Class A again next fall with the amount of talent returning in 2018. Quarterback Elijah Bey was 140-of-227 for 2,224 yards with 30 touchdowns and only five interceptions, and rushed for 453 yards and three more scores.

Khalil Williams (676 yards, 9 TD) and Jamall Gibson (504 yards, 2 TD) return in the backfield while Sean Swaringer (698 yards, 6 TD) and Antonio McKnight (309 yards, 3 TD) are back at receiver and tight end, respectively.

The offensive line remains almost completely intact with Kobe Montgomery, Darrell McCrea, Jasper Graham and Quincy Blake. Montgomery (49 tackles, 13 TFL, 4.5 sacks) and Graham will start on the defensive line as well.

At linebacker, C.J. Robinson is a veteran after posting 70 tackles, 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage, and 2.5 sacks. Swaringer also returns there after notching 37 hits, 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

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