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Ashley Brown: Evans, Grovetown football teams make strides in 2017

Posted: November 22, 2017 - 1:36am

Evans and Grovetown were each eliminated from the GHSA football playoffs on Friday night. Evans fell to Coffee, 55-21, while Lee County stayed undefeated by beating Grovetown, 38-6.

As you might expect, there were some tears shed from both teams as their seasons came to an end, and some seniors came to the realization that they had strapped on their helmets for the final time. Losing hurts, and it hurts the most when you have had some success.

But players from both teams should hold their heads up high, because they had wonderful seasons and had people in Columbia County truly excited about high school football for the first time in quite awhile. The fans were invested in these two teams, and the coaches and players gave them plenty to cheer about and be proud of.
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Grovetown achieves new milestones

The Warriors played an extremely tough early-season schedule, which included Burke County, Lincoln County and Richmond Hill. This prepared a Grovetown team that replaced 33 seniors from a year ago, including seven college signees. Most schools would have been crippled. Instead, second-year head coach Damien Postell prepared his team for region play as they finished No. 2 in the region race and won six of their last seven games prior to the loss to Lee County.

Postell inserted Jahmar Bingham at QB after a few games and the move gave his squad a huge lift on offense. He also got big years from seniors Shamar Cofield, DeAngelo Durham and Gregg Rodgers. Cofield was like a man possessed on defense and also had more than 500 yards rushing. Durham rushed for more than 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns, while Rodgers led the CSRA with nearly 150 tackles. The Warriors also had several school achievements:

• Most wins in school history (7)

• Back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time

• First home playoff game for the program

• First playoff victory in Warriors history

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Evans turns in stellar, almost magical season

The Knights had to replace All-County QB Levin Lackey and RB LaTravius Holiday. They opened the season with a loss to North Augusta, but what followed was almost magical.

Transfer QB Damekus Taylor and Senior RB Corey Watkins began putting up video game-like numbers, and Evans seemed to get more and more confidence as the season went on.
The community took notice, as social media was buzzing about the Knights' high-powered offense and their winning ways.

Evans posted an unbeaten region record, with Taylor emerging as one of the favorites for area player of the year.

For the season - despite starting for the first time at the varsity level - Taylor piled up a school-record 44 total touchdowns. He was 85 of 141 through the air for 1,441 yards and 15 TDs. He also racked up 1,455 yards and an area-best 29 touchdowns on the ground on 187 carries.

Watkins, who has committed to Furman, also posted impressive numbers. He carried the ball 193 times for 1,434 yards and 19 TDs. He also posted touchdowns on an interception, punt return, and kickoff return for a total of 22 scores on the campaign.

The season turned in by senior kicker Max Tyler is certainly worth noting. He had 61 touchbacks on 77 kickoffs and was an excellent punter for the Knights, giving them a huge advantage each week in the kicking game.

Lem Lackey, in just his third season at Evans (11th season overall) guided the Knights to their second consecutive postseason appearance and two home playoff games.

As the wins piled up for the Knights, so did the school records:

 

• Most points in school history, with a Columbia County record 523 points (43.6 ppg)

• A perfect 5-0 region record for the school's fourth region title

• 41 points or more in 10 of their 12 games

• Damekus Taylor - 1st player in EHS history with more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing

• Damekus Taylor - Most touchdowns in a single season with 44

• Corey Watkins - Had touchdowns rushing and on an interception, punt return, and kickoff return

• Max Tyler - School record 61 touchbacks on kickoffs

• Max Tyler - School record 85 points scored (61/64 on PATs and 8/11 on FGs with 49-yard long)

• Max Tyler - School record 61 PATs made

 

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