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St. Johns Islanders High School
John's Island

Islanders carry momentum into regular season

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

 Johns IslandSt. John’s appeared to be headed for a shot at a Class A Lower State title last fall, but was upset in their first playoff game. With a new head coach in Josh Harpe, the Islanders are looking to bounce back and end 2017 in a better fashion.

The team had a scrimmage against Garrett before knocking off Class 4A Cane Bay in the Sertoma Classic jamboree.

“Garrett was our first scrimmage and we looked sloppy, but we made drastic improvement in 48 hours with how consistent we played against Cane Bay. We had one penalty and we didn’t turn the ball over, and that’s how you win football games. If we can play Islander football for 48 minutes, we’ll be okay,” Harpe said.

Offensively, the entire front returns with James Grant, Daryl Anderson, Jacoby Taylor, LJ Nelson and Trey Smalls. Kam Smiley continues to be the quarterback with Julien DeGraffenridt back at wide receiver and KJ Robinson at tight end.

Kenny Thomas is a new starter at receiver with Jalen Hammond and Tyrus Richardson splitting time at running back.

“We went down and scored touchdowns on our first two possessions (against Cane Bay) and we hadn’t even put our whole offense in yet. They’ve meshed well together because they’ve played together for over a year. We’re starting to find a rhythm already,” Harpe said.

Robinson and Malik Jinx are back on the defensive line while Anderson and Daryl Staggers join them in the trenches. Mikey Thomas and Tyrone Hucks are the veteran linebackers with Devaughn Hamilton adding to the mix. The secondary consists of DeGraffenridt, Lavon Traeye, Jahiem Gadsden and Melvin Pinckney.

St. John’s will find out how good it really is after the first couple of weeks. They host James Island in Week Zero before traveling to Stall the following Friday.

“We want to be battle tested and go up against some really good football teams so we’ll be ready for the region. When we get to the playoffs, our eyes won’t be big because we’ve played quality opponents,” Harpe said.

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