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Patriots hope to make another run at a state title
By Jacob Renie
SCHS Class of 2013
Sandy Creek High School, home of the 2009 and 2010 state champions, as well as claimant to four consecutive region championships, prepares for yet another season of hard work on the gridiron. Led by returning junior quarterback Cole Garvin, and senior safety Corey Griffin, the team looks ready to tackle anything thrown in its path.
Chip Walker, head football coach at Sandy Creek, said, “I think we have a chance to be pretty good … We’ll be competitive.” After falling short last year to Gainesville High in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs, the Patriots seek redemption. “[Sandy Creek] will be just as good if not better [than last year] if we do what we’re supposed to,” said Walker confidently.
This year’s new region looks to be a tough one. With county rival Fayette County and old foe Carrollton, whom Creek beat in their last state championship match, on the schedule there are no guarantees. “I think it’s the best region in the state. You got some traditional powers like Lagrange and Carrollton,” Walker said.
The team this year has a lot of new faces, especially on the offensive line where three of its players lack varsity experience, one even lacks position experience. Never-the-less they look forward to a great season. “We have a bunch of guys that could be really good players,” said Walker.
Among those named as offensive leaders were: offensive tackle Alan Knott, wide receiver Demarre Kitt, and quarterback Cole Garvin.
On the offense Coach Walker had this to say, “I think it has a chance to be really good. We have good skills guys. The first line is good.” The only drawback, “We don’t have a lot of depth. So we can’t get injured.”
On the other hand, Sandy Creek’s defense lacks little in experience. “We have eight starters returning,” said Brett Garvin, defensive coach. “Experience is pretty important. You can be great athletes, but you [need experience].”
Both Walker and Garvin listed the Patriot’s top attribute as its speed and found the biggest weakness in its depth. Garvin said, “I think we should be alright as long as no one gets hurt … avoiding the injury bug.”
Among the key returning starters are: Corey Griffin, Khari Lain, Juwan Pulliam, Shaquille Wiggins, Michael Henderman, Spencer Roberts, and Micah Solomon.
After the recent scrimmage against Starr’s Mill, the Patriots look to be picking up right where they left off. The score stood at 35-3 when varsity came off around half-time.
Some highlights of the game included Wesley Sullivan’s pick six as well as touchdowns and some high yard runs by running backs Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems. The offense also did a good job in the red zone. The only miscue came when quarterback Cole Garvin threw an interception when it tipped off of one of his receiver’s fingers and into an opposing player’s hands.
Scott Smith, running back coach, had this to say, “I thought we looked pretty good. We saw some guys step up. They answered some questions for us. We also saw a lot of things to work on.” Among the mistakes mentioned were poor protection of the football and a number of penalties made due to mental errors.
“You kind of expect that at the start of the season,” Smith said.
After the game Cole Garvin said, “It was a little rough but we got the kinks out of the offense and defense. So we should look good for the first game.” Similarly Corey Griffin said, “As a whole I think we did pretty good. We’re looking pretty strong right now.”
Both believe that the team has the ability to go farther than last year. “We’re more player driven and last year was more coaches,” said Griffin. Because of this he said, “I believe we can win it all.”
For the fans, “They can look for an exciting game of football … I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” said Walker. “I just think we need to play solid defense and not turn [the ball] over on offense … If we do that we have a solid chance to win football games.” As Brett Garvin said, “Hopefully 15 games worth.”