It has been an incredible fall for girls’ sports programs at Greenbrier High School. As I prepare this column, the softball team at Greenbrier is gearing up for play in the Elite 8 in Columbus, Ga.
Deep playoff runs are nothing new for the Lady Wolfpack softball team, but they are sharing the spotlight this fall with the school’s volleyball program. Debbie Born’s team also is bound for the Elite 8 and has an astonishing 40-1 record this season. This comes on the heels of Greenbrier’s huge spring that saw the tennis and soccer teams each advance to the state semifinals.
Last year Greenbrier won the Director’s Cup for the region as a school, but had to settle for second to archrival Lakeside in girls’ sports. That may change this season after the ’Pack’s great showing this fall.
With only three players returning from last year’s First Team All-County football selections, it appeared the 2012 County Player of the Year race would be easy to predict.
Grovetown running back Jamal Cummings was the runaway favorite, and why not? He was coming off an incredible junior campaign. He ran for 1,289 yards and 13 scores in 2011 and he figured to touch the ball even more in 2012.
The dark horses in the pre-season would have been Lakeside junior Jonathan Edwards and Augusta Christian senior running back Thomas Banks. Edwards caught 33 passes and led the county with an average of 18.9 yards per catch. He also was expected to pick up more of the offensive workload with the graduation of All-County quarterback Mark Weidenaar and All-County running back Johnathan Long. Banks had several monster games in 2011, and with Augusta Christian primed for a big year he had to be considered.
Well, it is funny how things work out. With defenses keying on Cummings from Day 1 in 2012, his numbers are down considerably from 2011. While Edwards has been sensational at times for Lakeside, other young players have emerged to share in the offensive touches. While Banks has been outstanding this season, he has been overshadowed at times by senior quarterback Tyler Roberson.
So, who are the frontrunners for County Player of the Year honors?
Tyler Roberson (senior quarterback, Augusta Christian)
Roberson might be the leader at this point. He has put up great numbers, and the Lions are a perfect 9-0.
He has completed 90 of 148 passes for 1,601 yards and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions, and has 87 carries for 728 yards and 15 touchdowns. That gives Roberson 30 total touchdowns in just nine games, which will be tough to beat.
Thomas Banks (senior running back, Augusta Christian)
Banks has been steady for ACS. And with the Lions expected to make a good strong playoff run, he could end up with an impressive number of rushing yards. He currently has 947 yards and 10 touchdowns on 110 carries.
Juwan Biggers (senior quarterback/defensive back, Grovetown)
Easily the season’s biggest surprise candidate for player of the year, Biggers has been Mr. Do-It-All for the Warriors. If he had played all season at quarterback he might be the favorite. If he continues to post games like he did against Houston County and Evans, he could come from behind to edge Roberson and Co.
Against Houston County, Biggers had 15 carries for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He also added an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. In the Evans game, he was 4 of 4 passing for 88 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 23 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown, and he ran an interception back 52 yards for a touchdown.
Lakeside’s Tanner Brassell had a monster game vs. Houston County, throwing for 325 yards. But his sample size is even smaller than Biggers, so he will have to do something incredible the rest of the way and Lakeside would have to win a playoff game or two for him to get serious consideration.