While the record (3-7) may not reflect it, last year was one of great progress for the Bryan County football program. Coach Cherard Freeman is entering his third year of a major rebuild and if a pre-season scrimmage game last week at Jenkins County is any indication, the Redskins could be looking at some positive results.
“We lost 7-6 and were going in to take the lead when our running back tripped in the open field,” Freeman said. “I thought we did pretty good.
“The Jenkins County coach (Charlie Waters) said we didn’t look like the same team he played against last year.”
Jenkins County beat the Redskins 36-14 last year in a game in which Bryan County went into with high hopes after pulling off a 14-12 win at Screven County only to see everything fall apart.
That loss was followed by a home defeat to then winless Claxton, which combined to cause the Redskins to come up a win short of making the playoffs. Bryan County ended the season with a 27-20 win over Portal, and Freeman has used that win as a motivating factor in getting his team through winter and summer conditioning.
“These kids have really worked hard,” Freeman said earlier this week. “We’ve got 51 players on the roster and we averaged 45 a day during summer workouts. I think the fact we had that many here every day says a lot about their work ethic and attitude. They’ve put a lot into it.”
Bryan County has experience at nearly every position headed by senior lineman Tarrell Singleton who was an all-region pick as a defensive lineman last year. Running back/linebacker Konnor Leggett is another of the team’s seven seniors who will be expected to provide a leadership role.
Linemen Kameron Boggs, Jordan Wells and Carter Tapley. Running back Jordan Flannel and nose guard Michael Owens are heavy contributors, too. Talent runs throughout a junior class of 19 players with Austin Clemons, Tanner Ennis, Jacari Carney and Sean Kelly Hill heading up that group.
If a walk-through of a newly-expanded weight room is any indication, the Redskins will be a tough out physically this season.
“We’ve had a lot of kids who have changed their bodies,” Freeman said. “We’re stronger and we’ll be more physical.
“We’ve doubled the size of the weight room thanks to the board and administration’s support. We had a 2,000 square foot weight room and the addition gives us another 2,000 square feet. I don’t think there’s another Class A school in this area that has anything comparable.”
Bryan County will give fans a chance to get another look at the team when it hosts Tattnall County and Johnson County in a three-team jamboree at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night. The three will each play one another one half.
The Redskins will be in a new region alignment this season as they will be competing in Class A Division II. In doing its bi-annual reclassification, the GHSA has split Class A into Divisions I and II based on enrollment.
Other teams in Bryan County’s new region are Savannah High, Claxton, Metter, and Screven County. As in the past, the top four teams advance to the state playoffs.