Monday, August 20, 2012
The Cane Bay Cobras make the move up to Class AAAA football this fall. It’s a challenge second-year coach Russell Zehr hopes the program is up for.
The Cobras are bumping up to the state’s highest classification after spending the last two seasons in Class AAA and the first two years of the program in Class AA.
“I bet there might be some people that don’t expect us to win a game,” said Zehr, whose team won nine games and advanced to the state quarterfinals last season. “All I know is that these seniors are in their last season and we’re going to do everything we can to put the kids in position to be successful. We’ve got kids that will compete but are they willing to do what it takes to win at the Class AAAA level?”
Their first Class AAAA game will be on Aug. 24 at home against Summerville, one of the state’s most well-known programs.
“Summerville is one of the most respected names in the state,” Zehr said. “Hopefully our kids will take it as a challenge. I really hope our kids go out there and prove it to themselves that they can play at this level.”
After Summerville, the Cobras will travel to the Wave’s biggest rival, Fort Dorchester.
“We should be able to find out where we stand in Class AAAA right off the bat,” Zehr said. “We know we’ve got a ways to go but we believe the kids will work hard for us.”
Cane Bay joins Region 7-AAAA with defending Class AAAA Div. II champion Goose Creek, Stratford, Wando and West Ashley.
The good news for Cane Bay is the starting lineup is a senior-laden group.
The Cobras will break in a new quarterback this season after four years with Brandon Hall at the helm. Zehr said his team could go with two this season, last year’s backup Shon Swett, a senior, and junior Devin Kilgore.
“We could split time there,” Zehr said. “It could be a situation where we give it to the guy who has the hot hand. With the option, your quarterback can go down at any time so we’re definitely going to have them both ready to go.”
Senior fullback Davon Higgins is the top running back returning, having rushed for over 700 yards last season. Senior tailback Alex King is small but shifty, replacing 1,800-yard rusher Anthony Enos who was more of a bruiser.
Up front, the Cobras have four senior linemen, left guard Charles Thompson, right guard Jonathan Edwards, right tackle Tyrell Davis and left tackle Jordan Middleton. Center Keith Anderson is a junior.
Zehr likes his starting five linemen but is concerned about the Cobras’ depth.
“If we can keep those five healthy, we’re going to have a chance,” Zehr said. “They’re good, strong and physical kids that will get after it. If we have to deal with a lot of injuries, I’m not sure what kind of shape we’re going to be in.”
Senior Nate Amico and junior Tre Robinson are the tight ends.
Maurice Wesley and Lamar Gulley, a pair of seniors, are the wide receivers.
On defense, sophomore linebacker Matt Rudy, who made 98 tackles, and senior cornerback Jason Sheppard, who made 87 tackles and four interceptions, are the top players returning statistically.
Three of four starters on the defensive front are seniors, defensive ends Leon Givens and Henry Pryor, and defensive tackle Aaron Perkins. Savion Pinckney, the other starting defensive tackle, is a junior. Senior defensive end Willie Mazyck is also in the rotation to play a lot up front.
Rudy, one of the top underclassmen in the area, is flanked by seniors Jordan Newlin and Kealon Weldon on the second level.
Sheppard anchors the defensive backfield. Two other starters in the secondary are seniors, cornerback Joey Wade and strong safety Milan Enos. Free safety Tracy Gilliard is a sophomore. Senior Wilson Brantley gives the Cobras quality depth in the secondary.
On special teams, George Anderson will handle kicking duties.