Coach: Keith Walton
Assistant Head Coach: Charles Cooper
Offensive Coordinator: Keith Walton
Defensive Coordinator: Charles Cooper
Region: South Carolina Independent School Association
Last year: 13-0, SCISA Class AAA champions
Key returners: Thomas Banks, SR-TB/DB; Nick Fortenberry, SR-WR; Hunter Beyersdorfer, SO-QB; Zach Giella, JR-OL/DL, Kobie Brinson, JR-DB, Tyquan Burns, SR-LB
(Games at 7:30 p.m.)
8/30: vs. Wilson Hall
9/6: at Ben Lippen
9/13: vs. Cardinal Newman
9/20: at Fox Creek
9/27: at Pinewood Prep
10/4: vs. Laurence Manning (HC)
10/11: at Porter-Gaud
10/18: vs. Hammond
10/25: at Heathwood Hall
11/1: vs. Orangeburg Prep
11/8: State 1st Round
11/15: State Semifinals
11/23: State Championship
It’s hard to believe that a team that won its state title while recording a perfect 13-0 mark could go under the radar, but that’s where Augusta Christian finds itself heading into the 2013 season.
To a degree.
The South Carolina Independent School Association defending champion Lions are ranked second in Class AAA behind Hammond High School, who the Lions beat for the title last year. It’s easy to discount the Lions after losing key pieces such as four-year starting quarterback Tyler Roberson, who accounted for 43 touchdowns, two-way standout Matt Herzwurm and Terin Quarles, who had 12 sacks, among others.
“The quarterbacks are young, but what’s around the quarterbacks isn’t young,” said head coach Keith Walton. “They’re able to help them. The one that backed up Tyler last year, Hunter Beyersdoerfer, he sat and watched and soaked all this stuff in.”
It doesn’t hurt that the quarterback will have senior Thomas Banks at running back.He ripped off a school-record, 98-yard game-winning touchdown run in the title game. He rushed for 1,436 yards and 15 touchdowns, catching five more. At receiver, senior Nick Fortenberry caught 48 balls for 976 yards and nine scores.
Helping pave the way will be a big offensive line that loses just the center, Herzwurm.
“We’ve got the size to do whatever we want to do,” said junior right offensive tackle Zach Giella, who is 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds. “We’ve just got to be able to get up the gumption to do it. We need to give Thomas room to run.”
And having a big, experienced line will be key to helping the new quarterback.
“It just helps with the run game, which takes all the pressure off the quarterback,” Walton said.
Defensively, junior Kobie Brinson and senior Bryson Ashmore head a secondary a year after picking off four passes apiece.
“We can communicate so well,” said Brinson. “We’ve all started since we were freshmen. It’s amazing how we communicate and work in the secondary.”
If they need it, the secondary will help take pressure off the defensive line.
Being overlooked to a degree plays into how Walton wants his team to be.
“We want to be mentally tough and we define mental toughness as emotional consistency,” said Walton. “You can’t be emotionally consistent when you’re allowing the pats on the back to poke your chest out.”