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Gridiron homestand cranks up
In the first game of what is a rare football three-game homestand that will culminate with a visit by the Jefferson County Warriors on Sept. 25, the red hot Screven County Gamecocks will receive an appearance from interstate foe Wade Hampton’s Red Devils from Varnville, S.C., Friday night.
Kickoff at Kelly Memorial Stadium is slated for 7:30.
Coming off an impressive victory over neighboring rival Estill 33-6 last week, the Red Devils will come to Georgia with a 2-1 record, their lone loss to powerful Allendale-Fairfax’s Tigers.
Will the Roosters have a letdown against a team they beat last year by three touchdowns and after a pair of blowout wins to start this season?
“I am not worried about a letdown,” answered Duncan, “because we have yet to play to our capabilities.”
First-year Devils coach Matt Fligg is new to South Carolina preps as a head coach, but he is not a new head coach and he is definitely not new to Georgia.
In 21 seasons as a head coach in the Peach State, Fligg has a cumulative record of 108-117-0, but in his last four seasons at Monroe Area (2010-2013) his record was 42-8. His Purple Hurricanes advanced to the Class AAAA semifinals in 2012 before being ousted by eventual state champion Sandy Creek.
Fligg retired from Monroe Area after the 2013 season. Since his departure, Monroe Area is 2-10.
Fligg also started the varsity football program at Chestatee in 2002 and had them in the playoffs by the fourth year. Additionally, he led Rockdale County to the state playoffs in 2000, being ousted at Womack Field in Statesboro.
A year ago the Gamecocks downed the Devils in their first-ever meeting 38-14 in a game that for the first half was a nail-biter. SCHS led but 12-7 at intermission and saw Wade Hampton reach the SCHS 43 on the first play of the second half. An Eric Hayward sack at that point changed the complexion of the game totally.
The Devils are much improved over a season ago having been routed by Allendale and defeated by Estill in 2014. A 4-7 worksheet a year ago marked the first time the team had not advanced to at least the second round of the state playoffs in four years.
Under new coach Fligg, Wade Hampton will base from the spread, which they did a year ago, but they have added a lot of new wrinkles including Wing-T style plays that involve a lot of jet-motion. That is a formula that has traditionally given SCHS problems when facing teams like Laney, Appling County, and Jefferson County.
Whatever the formation the key to the offense is senior quarterback Bryson Butts who will pose a much greater threat than the first two QBs faced by the Dirty Bird defense. Butts is elusive and will run all over the field to complete a pass or evade the rush.
The Devils are a run-first team with the combination of Butts and tailback Treyon Williams, usually the lone back alongside Butts.
On Butts and Williams Duncan said, “They definitely have a playmaker at QB and running back. They are bigger upfront than Westside and if we don’t play our best, we will get beat.”
Defensively, Wade Hampton will employ a 4-4 though they frequently walk up the outside linebackers giving the appearance and effect of a six-man front. Their interior is huge and according to Duncan, “I am not sure of any advantages we have.”