By Thomas Grant Jr.
Barring an updated schedule, Gray Collegiate’s home game Friday against Camden could be its last in the regular season.
The War Eagles are scheduled to open Region 3-2A play next week against Eau Claire. However, the Shamrocks and five other region teams (Fairfield Central, Columbia, Newberry, Mid-Carolina and W.J. Keenan) have decided to forfeit their contests with Gray Collegiate.
While this will give the War Eagles the region title, the decision is reportedly the schools’ way of protesting what they believe is an unfair competitive balance that Gray Collegiate enjoys as a charter school.
This past year which saw Gray Collegiate claim three state titles and Oceanside Collegiate repeat as baseball champion was apparently the tipping point. The same could be said about Gray Collegiate head coach Adam Holmes in regard to the issue as seen by his comments following the 52-18 win over Hammond School.
“We can’t control that,” he said. “If teams don’t want to play us, so be it. I’m tired of people out there talking about us. Our guys work hard. They work extremely dadgum hard. For this to be taken away from us from guys in our own region, it’s really ridiculous to me.
“If you want to give us a region championship, give us a region championship and a No. 1 seed in the dadgum playoffs. If they want to do that, we will find games. I already have two lined up and we will find some more. So if teams don’t want to play us, give us the region title and make it an easier run for a state championship, then so be it. … It’s not going to hinder us. If we take six weeks off, we will go in fresh for the playoffs.”
Gray Collegiate is 3-0 having arguably played one of the toughest schedules in Class 2A. They own wins over two defending state champions in Christ Church and Hammond and defeated a Crestwood team with one of the Palmetto State’s top quarterbacks in Javion Martin.
This week, they face a Camden team which despite its 55-21 loss to Hartsville remains entrenched in the Top 10 of Class 3A. Like the War Eagles, the Bulldogs (2-1) are laden with senior talent like quarterback Grayson White, wide receiver Jaquarius Mayrant, linebacker Wilson Nash and cornerback Jordan Crim.
The War Eagles counter offensively with junior running back B.J. Montgomery, senior wide receivers Jamarious Lockett and Zai Offord and sophomore quarterbacks Tyler Waller and Dre’Von Dopson.
Montgomery and Lockett both accounted for two touchdowns, Offord and Dopson each had a score and Wallker threw for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
Gray Collegiate’s defense has been led by linebacker Kaine Williams. He scored for the second straight week, this week off an interception return against the Skyhawks.
Camden Military at Northside Christian.
The Crusaders suffered their first loss of the season last Friday at Orangeburg Prep in their home opener.
The Indians defeated Northside Christian Academy 15-3 as it forced three turnovers and held it without a touchdown.
“Our kids played hard, just not very smart,” Northside Christian head coach Dean Howell said. “We blew several assignments on offense in key situations that cost us. We also had three turnovers, one was after we just had a huge stop and two were drive killers as we were moving the ball. Can’t beat good teams turning the ball over.
“It was very disappointing to play that way in front of our home crowd. The good news is we have a chance to get back out there Friday night with another chance to play better.”
The loss evened the Crusaders’ record to 1-1 in Region 3-2A. Their final region game taking place Oct. 27 at Spartanburg Christian Academy.
“We are not all that concerned about the region championship,” Howell said. “We want to win it, of course, but it has no determination on playoff seedings in SCISA AA football. We are concerned about us playing better this week. That starts in the film room and on the practice field.”
The Crusaders head this Friday to Camden to face a Spartans’ team which has dropped nine straight games dating back to last season when it went 0-8. Camden Military fell 49-0 to Porter-Gaud in its season-opener.
“We have only one film on them, and they are very unconventional defensively,” Howell said. “We will have to be much better. They are flying around to the football so we will have to be much better if we expect to win.”
S.C. Prep Football Media Poll
1.Abbeville (15) (3-0)
2. Gray Collegiate (5) (3-0)
3. Oceanside Collegiate (2-1)
4. Marion (3-0)
5. Hampton County (3-0)
6. Saluda (3-0)
7. Fairfield Central (2-1)
8. Silver Bluff (2-1)
9. Strom Thurmond (2-1)
10. Woodland (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Ninety-Six, Chesnee, Timberland