During his first season at Battery Creek, Walt Wilson talked a lot about the “old Battery Creek” – a mindset the Dolphins were trying to move away from. The transition might not be complete, but the transformation certainly is underway.
After winning four games and reaching the Class 3A playoffs, where they nearly stunned Bishop England on the road, the Dolphins enter Wilson’s second season with a level of confidence not often found in Burton in recent years.
“Last year we laid the foundation,” senior lineman Myles Middleton said. “This year we know what we need to do. We’re ready to go.”
Middleton is one of the anchors on a defensive line that figures to be a strength for the Dolphins, who had impressive defensive showings in a shutout of Whale Branch and region wins over Ridgeland-Hardeeville and May River last season.
The offense returns plenty of weapons, including quarterback Jordan Gwyn, running back Trey Booth, and receiver Denarol Brown. The Dolphins averaged 33.7 points in their last three contests and expect to pick up where they left off.
“We’re going to be in the end zone more often,” Gwyn said. “We’re going to surprise a lot of teams this year.”
Battery Creek won its last two regular-season games last season, then stormed back from a big early deficit before falling 32-26 at Bishop England, showing signs that the culture change is producing results.
“I always say to be disciplined means to be 5 out of 5,” Wilson said. “When I got there, Battery Creek was 1 out of 5. We got in the middle of the year last year, we moved up and got to about 2 out of 5, and then 3. Right now, we’re about 4 out of 5, but that still isn’t where we need to be. We need to be 5 out of 5 to have that consistency and mindset to understand what it’s going to take day in and day out.”
In other words, they’re close to leaving the old Battery Creek behind and putting together their first winning season since 2012.
“Some people might be shocked because they still have ideas about the old Battery Creek,” junior Brandon Wilson said. “But it’s not about who people come to see, it’s about who they leave talking about. I think they’re going to be talking about us.”
BATTERY CREEK DOLPHINS FOOTBALL
Coach: Walt Wilson
Record at BCHS: 4-6 (2nd season)
2017 record: 4-6 overall, 2-2 region, lost in first round of Class 3A playoffs
Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense
Top returners: RB/LB/P/K Brandon Benke, TE/DE Brandon Wilson, RB Trey Booth, QB Jordan Gwyn
Notable losses: OL Byron McClain, DL Ahman Smalls, WR/DE Sayrend Musgrove Jr., WR Trey Chancey, OL Dizayuh Hinton
Breakout candidates: WR/FS Jordon Wilson-Smalls, OL/DE Myles Middleton
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jordon Wilson-Smalls, WR/FS: The state champion in the high jump could be a huge weapon on both sides of the ball for the Dolphins. He’s a major downfield threat and an ideal red-zone target for Gwyn.
How good can the Dolphins be in the trenches? There’s plenty of talent at the skill positions and lots of experience on defense, but the top two offensive linemen were lost to graduation, leaving an inexperienced group up front. If they can jell and hold their own, a winning season is well within reach.
REGION AND BEYOND
Defending region champion Wade Hampton is probably the preseason favorite to repeat, but the Dolphins are among the most likely teams to unseat the Red Devils. We’ll know a whole lot more when Battery Creek hosts Wade Hampton on Sept. 21, which conveniently comes after an open week for the Dolphins, who should be fresh and ready to make a statement.
8/17 — at Whale Branch
8/24 — vs. Beaufort High
8/31 — vs. Hilton Head High
9/7 — vs. Woodland
9/14 — Open
9/21 — vs. Wade Hampton*
9/28 — at Creekside Christian
10/5 — at Lake Marion*
10/12 — vs. Ridgeland-Hardeeville*
10/19 — at May River*
10/26 — vs. Whale Branch
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