The Screven County Gamecocks are building off a strong performance in 2014, when the team finished 10-2 on the season. This year it seems as though the Gamecocks are clicking on all cylinders, jumping out to a 3-0 start with wins over St. Johns, Westside and Wade Hampton.
The Gamecocks level of play has not only caught the attention of local fans, but high school sports aficionados as well.
Screven is currently ranked No. 9 in class AA football by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and are ranked as high as No. 6 in the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
However, fourth-year head coach Ron Duncan isn’t exactly resting on his laurels this year. Last season the Gamecocks started the year strong winning eight games in a row before a tough loss to Dublin 27-7.
The Gamecocks would eventually lose in the second round of the playoffs to Heard County.
“Polls don’t really mean a whole lot when it gets towards the end of the season,” said Duncan when asked about his team’s No. 6 ranking. “We’re just trying to stay focused from game to game and focus on us. I think we’re right where we need to be and where we expected to be.”
Coming into the season, there were a few questions on offense. The Gamecocks are starting five sophomores on offense, but Duncan said his young offensive squad has performed well.
Duncan said the biggest adjustment was moving around his offensive line. After a few changes, the Gamecocks head coach said he’s got it right.
“We played around moving some guys and I think we finally found a good lineup and they have gotten progressively better,” Duncan said. “These guys have really put in the work during the summer. They worked extremely hard in the off-season.”
The Gamecocks have used a variety of runners this year. Three of Screven’s running backs have over 15 carries for the year. Malik Prescott is currently averaging 180 yards per game and has over 500 yards rushing on the season. Quarterback Armani Bunbury rushed for 255 on 16 carries.
Outside of the Gamecocks’ rushing attack, the passing game also helped Screven jump out to a 3-0 record. Bunbury has 273 passing yards on the season and six touchdowns.
Bunbury’s favorite target Tyquan Johnson has just seven receptions on the year, but averages 25 yards per catch and 58 yards per game. Johnson also hauled in four touchdown catches, making him a scoring threat anytime he’s on the field.
“We try to keep with the philosophy of playing at a certain level week to week and that’s what we want to strive for,” Duncan said.
It’s not just the offense that helped the Gamecocks to an undefeated mark. The defense has been one of this year’s strong points for Screven. The Gamecocks have four picks on the year with Jonathan Robert, Kim Hunter, Jermany Hawkins and Jalen Jenkins each getting an interception.
Hawkins also has 11 total tackles on the year.
“Most of our guys have been around for four years. This is a solid group of players,” Duncan said.
Duncan knows all too well the danger of getting caught up in the regular-season hype. After a 49-7 thumping of Wade Hampton, the Gamecocks have just one game left before getting into a tough region schedule.
Duncan said in order to continue his team’s early success, the Gamecocks will have to focus and take it one game at a time.
“There are a lot of talented teams in our region. It’s a tough schedule. Last year we came out on top in the region, but every game is going to be a challenge,” Duncan said.