It goes without saying that by this point in the season, there are a lot of football players showing what they can do. Even so, the remaining eight teams in Class AAAA seem particularly star-studded.
A handful – opposing coaches might argue they’re more than a handful – of players to watch in the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs:
Donquell Green, Burke County: Green goes by the nickname “Gator”, but “Goodness Gracious” might be more appropriate. The junior quarterback has rushed for 1,626 yards and 31 touchdowns, scoring two or more touchdowns in nine of the Bears’ 12 games. He’s also passed for 1,202 yards and nine more Tds, and perhaps most impressive, he’s thrown just one interception in 115 pass attempts. Said Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker, “The best way to slow him down is to keep him on the sideline.”
Darrell Bridges, Ridgeland: While teammate and big-time recruit Vonn Bell has garnered a lot of attention, Bridges has his eye on 2,000 rushing. Going into this week’s quarterfinal against Mary Persons, Bridges has 1,919 yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging more than 9 yards per carry.
Vonn Bell: Being recruited as a defensive back, Bell has rushed for 922 yards and 12 touchdowns, and has caught 14 passes for 517 yards and 6 Tds, averaging 37 yards per catch.
Stanton Truitt, Monroe Area: Truitt has played only eight games, but has still amassed nearly 2,000 yards of total offense (1,300 rushing, 690 passing) and has accounted for 25 touchdowns.
Kwan Brooks, Monroe Area: South Effingham won’t be able to focus all its attention on Truitt, because Brooks will make them pay. He’s rushed for 1,711 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Trevon Byrd, Monroe Area: It seems Byrd makes plays from all over the field. He has 87 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 8 quarterback hurries 6 batted passes and a partridge in a pear tree. If you’re out of breath reding that stat line, imagine how opposing quarterbacks must feel.
Trenton Earl, Stockbridge: The Tigers have an 1,100-yard rusher in Malik Bryan, but Earl makes the team go. He’s passed for 1,157 yards and rushed for 544 more.
Josh Mercer, South Effingham: Mercer has keyed the upstart Mustangs’ run to the third round, rushing for 1,346 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Myles Willis, Marist: The senior quarterback has rushed for 1,038 yards and 16 Tds while passing for 860 yards and 8 Tds.
Nick Davis, Mary Persons: The Bulldogs place premiums on running the ball and playing solid defense, and Davis is option one on offense, with more than 1,200 yards rushing.
Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems, Sandy Creek: The two sophomore tailbacks have combined for more than 2,100 yards has and they’ve forced opponents to stay honest in defending the Patriots’ high-power passing game. Receivers Kyle Wilson and Demarre Kitt are both explosive, but they get to run free often because Swinney and Weems are doing damage.