A year after winning the 2012 South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA championship with a perfect 13-0 record, the Augusta Christian Lions fell back to earth in 2013.
The Lions lost key players from their 2012 squad and finished 3-8 while getting ousted in the first round of the SCISA playoffs. A year later, optimism is high once more in Pride Valley.
“I’m excited about the opportunities that we have,” said head coach Keith Walton. “We have great senior leadership, a class that’s been together for a while and they’ve been through the battles. They’ve been through the highs and they’ve been through the lows, and just watching them come out and be great teammates to their teammates gives us a great, positive outlook.”
Walton is especially high on his defensive unit, one that is filled with speed and senior experience. One of those seniors leading the charge is defensive back/wide receiver Kobie Brinson. After being a part of the championship season and living through last year, Brinson was determined to help turn things around.
“Me and (Zach) Giella are coming out here, stepping up, coming early to practices, preaseason meetings during the summer, just getting everything straightened out now,” said Brinson, who has eight career interceptions and has his sights on the school record of nine.
He also has higher aspirations. “The main goal is win,” Brinson said. “We want to be back Nov. 23rd at Benedict College.”
Walton doesn’t expect to veer far from his standard offense, running the Multiple I. Senior and Clemson University commit Giella anchors the line, junior Matthew Peavler will get the nod under center and Walton said running back will be by committee.
Walton likes his team’s intangibles and looks for a few breaks to get back on the winning side of the column.
“Experience, which we have at some key positions,” said Walton. “Leadership, which we have, I’ve been very pleased with that. Consistency right now, stay healthy and the ball’s got to bounce our way every now and then.”
2014 also marks the inaugural season of playing Augusta Prep, who they’ll face in Week 1.
“We’re thrilled to death to be able to have three CSRA schools on the schedule this year,” Walton said. “To play Augusta Prep now, in the county, to have a cross-county rival, we can build that up.”