Six players from Augusta Prep’s football program recently made All-Region, the first year the team belonged to a league.
Junior Jack Owen, punter; freshman Whitt Rutland, linebacker; and sophomores Nate Pylant, defensive back; Jonathan Long, defensive back; Michael Downing, offensive lineman; and, Kevin Huggins, running back, all were selected to the All-Region Team in the Georgia Alabama Independent League.
Augusta Prep joined the 17-team league this year.
The players helped Augusta Prep to a 7-4 season that included a playoff berth.
“They made it to the final four,” said football coach Harry Bacheller. “They had to win their last two games to get to the playoffs and did it.
“They eventually lost to the team that won the whole thing.”
Bacheller said he nominated his players for the All-Region Team, but it was coaches for competing teams who voted them in.
“That means other coaches recognize their talent and ability,” Bacheller said.
“They’re smart players, for not having a background in playing, like in little league football,” Bacheller added. “But that means that much more room for improvement.”
What the six lack in football experience, they make up for with athletic talent, the coach said.
At 6-foot-3, Downing is a star on the Augusta Prep basketball team. Pylant is a triple-threat athlete, playing football, baseball and basketball. While playing football, Huggins also belonged to a soccer travel team and often played in soccer tournaments during the season.
Considering the team’s youth, and that Augusta Prep is losing only two seniors, Bacheller said he’s excited for the future.
Bacheller started the football team at the middle school level three years ago and many of those players now are ready to join the varsity squad.
This season, the middle school team recorded its first win and won three games overall.
“I’m real excited for our middle school program,” he said. “They’re not as gifted as some on the (varsity), but they’ll be better as a team.”