Home / How did we get here? Looking back at Sandy Creek's 2012 season
How did we get here? Looking back at Sandy Creek's 2012 season
By Jacob Renie
Sandy Creek Class of 2013
In the last four years, the Sandy Creek Patriots have won four consecutive region championships, two state championships, and 54 games while only suffering two losses. This Saturday they hope to add another state championship to their already impressive resume.
The long journey to the Dome has been filled with obstacle after obstacle and so far they have hurdled them rather effortlessly. Game after game they steadily advanced through the season as they stopped to break records along the way. They set new records in both total offensive yards and rushing yards in a game. In the end they outscored their opponents by a margin of 486 points.
“[This season has been] good. Our guys did everything we asked them to do and have been successful,” said head coach Chip Walker. “There’ve been a few bumps in the road, but that’s expected.”
It began with a big win 52-6 over Banneker as quarterback Cole Garvin helped pass their way to victory. He threw four touchdowns and connected twice with Demarre Kitt in the end zone, one of which was a big 68-yarder. The defense played strong and forced the Trojans to punt after only three plays on several occasions which is a big contrast to the Patriots who didn’t punt a single time throughout the entire game. Jaylon Harvey had Sandy Creek’s only forced turnover when he dove and caught a tipped ball for an interception at the start of the fourth.
Next, the Patriots took on a team from a bigger class, AAAAAA's Newnan, where they won 38-7. It was a game of Patriot defensive domination as on more than 10 occasions the Sandy Creek defense caused negative yardage for the Newnan offense. Zachary Lane had four tackles for a loss causing over 20 negative yards and Chris Williams had three sacks and helped force a fumble. All-in-all the defense forced three fumbles and one interception which due to Brian Miller’s diving catch on a tipped ball from Khari Lain. Antonio Williams on the offense barreled across the goal line three times.
Sandy Creek played the following game in a vengeance match against East Coweta who was the only team to beat them before the Patriots went on a 40 game win streak. The defense made two key stops in the first half thanks to an interception by Shaquille Wiggins and a big goal line stand. Offensively Eric Swinney shined as he rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns; his big 80-yard touchdown at the start of the second half helping to spur the Patriots on to a 31-7 victory.
The region opener was against county rival Fayette County who the Patriots easily defeated 55-14. Eric Swinney ran three touchdowns across and Khari Lain recovered a fumble that he returned for a touchdown. Both Lain and Shaquille Wiggins had interceptions.
From there the Patriots moved on to Troup County where the Patriot defense allowed a mere 69 yards rushing and 66 yards passing for a total of 135 yards on the night in a 48-10 route. Lain had a blocked punt and Spencer Roberts recovered a fumble. The running game accelerated all nights thanks to the offensive line which helped to create big holes throughout the game leading to over 250 yards rushing. Kyle Wilson proved to be a big playmaker when he returned a kick-off 44 yards deep into Tiger territory.
Homecoming almost proved disastrous when Shaw came within five points of the Patriots at the start of the fourth quarter. Never-the-less, Sandy Creek rallied behind the legs of Eric Swinney who ran two touchdowns across the goal line; one was a 39-yarder and the other from 12 yards out. Lain’s pick six at the end put the nail in the coffin as the Patriots won 51-26. Swinney finished with three total touchdowns and Garvin threw 219 yards with a pair of scores. Mitchell McMillin made a record breaking 54-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
Kyle Wilson got the Patriots going against Alexander as he returned the opening kick-off 72 yards for a touchdown. The Patriots rushed for a total of 190 yards on 22 carries and punched four touchdowns across on the ground. In the end Sandy Creek came out with a solid 42-6 win.
In a 47-13 victory over LaGrange the Patriots set a new offensive record when they managed 604 yards against the Grangers. In a game where the Patriots had a total of 354 yards rushing, Weems and Swinney combined for 279 yards and 30 points. Garvin passed 17-25 with 241 yards and a touchdown pass to Kitt. Corey Griffin recovered a fumble as he and the defense didn’t allow a single second half score.
In the game against Carrollton, which also served as the region championship, the Patriots won a solid 30-7 in a rematch of 2010’s state championship. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, the Patriots got on the board in the second with a safety. Weems had two touchdowns in the third quarter, one big one for 75 yards, and both Swinney and Garvin ran one across too. The defense played strong only allowing 160 yards and no points until the fourth quarter when Carrollton returned a punt.
The season finale and senior night went much the same as their previous match-ups as the Patriots smashed Columbus 65-0 after the Sandy Creek volleyball team beat them in the Class AAAA state championship earlier that week. It was a defensive game all-the-way as they forced five turnovers: an interception by Ronnie Blackmon, Javonte Lain, and Gabriel Arnold, while Chance Brown and Broderick Allen recovered a fumble each. Blackmon’s, he returned for six and Demarre Kitt also had a 53-yard punt return for another big score.
The playoffs began with Sandy Creek shutting out Eastside 55-0. The Patriots set a school rushing record of 488 yards and Weems and Swinney both combined for 368 of them. Swinney had 148 yards in 14 carries while Weems had 220 yards in 12 carries; both had a pair of touchdowns. Garvin also had a good game throwing an almost perfect 13-15 for 179 yards and two touchdowns to Kitt. One of those passes was a beautiful 47-yard bomb that Kitt caught as he dove into the end zone. The offense ended with 670 total yards breaking their new record set earlier in the season. Maceo Brown also had a long 68-yard score.
The second playoff game against Dalton started off slow as the Catamounts took an early lead, but the Patriots stormed back on the legs of Williams and Swinney who each scored a pair of touchdowns helping to lift them to a 35-13 win. Spencer Roberts and Shaquille Wiggins both had an interception while Wesley Sullivan had 12 tackles on the night in a strong defensive game that only gave up 159 yards.
The following game against Burke County proved to be the toughest in the Patriots' journey to the Georgia Dome. Many considered the game a preview of the winner to the state championship as Sandy Creek won 31-20. Swinney and Weems both had a touchdown and Kitt caught two while McMillin sailed a 25-yarder through the uprights. Juwan Pulliam’s big interception in the second quarter halted the Bear’s momentum of an early score and Weems’ fourth down run followed by a 22-yard carry put the lead back into Patriot hands. In the third quarter Burke became the only team this season to take the lead in the second half against Sandy Creek. This moment was short lived however as Garvin hit Kitt on an out route that he took 74 yards to the house.
The semifinals were against Monroe Area as Sandy Creek had their second shut-out of the postseason winning 35-0. The Patriot defense kept the Hurricanes out of the red zone every drive except the first, where they managed to hold them scoreless. Garvin went 12-16 with 202 yards and a 40-yard touchdown pass to Kitt. Khari Lain had a big fumble recovery that he returned 25 yards to end zone; he also caused a total loss of 20 yards in six tackles.
The season as a whole has been one of offensive production and defensive stands. Cole Garvin is just nine yards shy of passing 2,500 yards with 1,151 of them going to Kitt. The two have connected 68 times this season for a total of 11 touchdowns (Garvin has thrown 20 touchdowns total this season). The closest receiver to Kitt is Kyle Wilson who has 633 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
The rushing game has been decisively led by Swinney and Weems. Swinney has rushed for 21 touchdowns and 1350 yards and averages 8.94 yards per carry. Weems has 16 touchdowns and 1042 yards and averages a similar 8.47 yards per carry. Also fullback Antonio Williams has eight touchdowns in 237 yards, averaging 4.65 yards per carry.
The defensive has been phenomenal all season. In the midfield Khari Lain has 99 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one caused, and three defensive touchdowns. Accompanying him is Wesley Sullivan who has 90 tackles and caused one fumble. Chris Williams leads the line with 11 sacks, 78 tackles, and forced one fumble as well as recovering one.
The backfield has been tight all season thanks in part to Corey Griffin who has 71 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery, and a blocked field goal. Also back there is cornerback Shaquille Wiggins who leads the team in interceptions with three and has 16 tackles.
For the Patriots it has been a monumental season as they plowed through everyone in their path to earn the right to play this Saturday. Walker said, “We still haven’t had a [perfect game] yet. We’ve had a bunch of complete games, but I don’t think we’ve had that perfect one. It’s still in the bag. Hopefully we’ll pull it out this Saturday.”