Home / Sandy Creek senior/fan looks back on four great years
Sandy Creek senior/fan looks back on four great years
By Jacob Renie
Sandy Creek Class of 2013
As I prepare to go to college next year, one thing sticks out to me. It’s gonna be way different with a football team that loses.
Sandy Creek enjoys something that most high schools don’t, an unparalleled win percentage. In the four years that our seniors have played football, they have amassed a record of 55-2. No small feat by any means.
Freshman year began with a loss to East Coweta and from then on it seemed like we wouldn’t lose again. To us, it was a fluke. I mean a double overtime loss on a blocked extra point? That’s just some bad luck. But since then I cannot ever remember going to a football game where I didn’t expect us to win big.
Winning big was just something Sandy Creek did. It brought the whole school together and started great traditions that have made my high school experience immensely enjoyable.
We barreled through teams and when we finally made it to the dome in 2009, everyone showed up. Our little town of Tyrone, population of just under 7,000, was going to the state championship! At halftime the game was tied, but then Ronnie Bell and Jarret Davis connected twice to pull ahead and Rajion Neal sealed the deal. These three were the first of the quarterback, receiver, and running back combos Sandy Creek would enjoy over the next couple of years.
Sandy Creek now had a state championship and back-to-back region championships. We were starting to get some swagger in our steps and it only increased with each win. We immediately adopted DJ Khaled’s new song “All We Do is Win,” and played it at every game and pep rally. Bell and new receiver Alex Chisum took us to another state championship while Derrick Alexander ruled the ground. To us we were unbeatable, 30 games and 29 wins, good luck to all contenders.
hen Gainesville’s victory in the quarterfinals of 2011 shook us to our core. We never went into a game expecting to lose, or even for it to be that close really. Most even stopped going to games with excuse, "We're going to win anyway." But both Cole Garvin and Demarre Kitt were still relatively inexperienced and we were defeated. Added to that was senior running back Mike Hilton’s injury, and it was a tough season for us.
This year began right where we left off before the loss and as the Patriots have outscored their opponents by a margin of 486 points! I mean who does that?
The reason we're so successful is quite simple really. We out practice everyone. Our seniors have only had four months off in four years! In the winter they practice before school and in the summer they practice every day. Our team is required to lift during weight training in school and then practices afterwards. In all the other schools that I've talked to, no one prepares like we do.
Off the field and in the stands, our fans outshine all contenders. The jugs we shake create such a cacophony of noise that it drowns out our opponents.
In the Burke County game, we decided to try something new to shake things up. When the Patriots took the field, the whole student section, some 200 people, threw baby powder into the air causing a white cloud to envelope the stands. It was epic! Who can compete with that? I'll tell you, no one. Only Sandy Creek has such a fan base. Our tailgating outperforms most in terms of numbers and enthusiasm. They cookout before games and paint up for every match. In the semifinal match-up against Monroe Area, the students released balloons into the sky. Again what high school fan base can compete with that?
Ridgeland's Darrell Bridges had 2,301 yards rushing and Vonn Bell had 1,039 yards going into the championship game. Impressive? Yes, but Sandy Creek proved that it can pass as well as rush. Garvin, who has over 2,500 yards passing threw several deep passes right on the money as he picked apart the Panther defense in the championship game. Several were to Demarre Kitt who has over 1,200 yards receiving on the season And let's not forget to mention tailbacks Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems, who both average over 8 yards per carry and combine for 2,600 yards and 41 touchdowns. Both rushed for over 100 yards and combined for four touchdowns against Ridgeland. We don‚Äôt just have one or two playmakers, we have several.
Another thing that Sandy Creek stands out in is our depth. No one plays both sides of the field, linemen included. Most schools lack the luxury of two separate lines and Ridgeland is no exception. Their line plays both ways, something Sandy Creek has not done over the past four years. It's why our linemen stay fresh and continue to play well throughout the games. This has been no small factor in our success. It's one of the key reasons we beat Burke County. How can you expect to win when your three playmakers, Donquell "Gator" Green, Dimitri Butts, and Tom Ellison, play offense, defense, and special teams?
Sandy Creek, on the other hand, has defensive playmakers and offensive playmakers. At midfield we have Khari Lain who has 106 tackles, two interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns. Accompanying him is Wesley Sullivan who has 97 tackles and a forced fumble. On the line Chris Williams dominates with 11 sacks and 82 tackles. In the backfield, Corey Griffin has 78 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a blocked field goal. Leading in interceptions is Shaquille Wiggins with three. Together, they and the Sandy Creek defense have allowed a mere 139 points and give up on average less than 150 yards per game.
This years blowout against Ridgeland in the state championship was icing on the cake. A third state title to add to Sandy Creek's already impressive resume. I love this school and its confidence in its football program. Coach Garvin said they put in second string so they wouldn't be surprised when they played in the Dome next year. Next year as if he is expecting to return. And Coach Cooper saying nonchalantly that this win, "[Felt] like the other time I guess," just proves that Sandy Creek's faith in its football program is unshakeable. As senior safety Corey Griffin put it, "I wouldn't trade these boys for nothing."
It's going to be different in college. The expectations of the fans to win every game will simply not be there, except for a few select SEC teams. The students will be just as rowdy to be sure, but the closeness of our tailgate will be missed. Don't get me wrong, I cannot wait for college football, but I will miss Sandy Creek football. It's unparalleled in the high school arena. So hears to you Creek, I expect nothing short of success from you in the years to come as all of our offensive playmakers, and many of our defensive ones too, will return next year.