With the launch of a new podcast this month, as well as two state championship football games to plan coverage for, a slew of college signings, and preparations underway for basketball season, it took a little longer than usual to gather my thoughts this week.Plus, I’m feeling a little under the weather and hoping to rally before championship Saturday.
But late is better than never, or something like that, so here are Five Things I Think I Know presented by Coligny, for the week of Nov. 18.
• It’s going to be an exciting weekend for Lowcountry high school football. In case you’ve been under a rock hiding from the rain all weekend, we have not one, but two local teams playing for state championships on Saturday, as Thomas Heyward looks to repeat as SCISA 1A champ in a rematch with Bethesda Academy at noon, and Hilton Head Christian Academy faces Trinity-Byrnes for the SCISA 2A title at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be held at Benedict College in Columbia, and we’ll be there to provide comprehensive coverage. If you’re a business owner who would like to sponsor our coverage this week, please click here for more information. In addition, May River is still alive in the Class 3A playoffs and will kickoff the big gridiron weekend at Strom Thurmond at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Bryce Lybrand and Jerry Hatcher did a heck of a job this year. The football season ended for Beaufort High and Whale Branch on Friday, but the coaches of both teams should be commended for an outstanding job in 2019. Lybrand took over the Beaufort job after DeVonte Holloman’s surprising departure and navigated a brutal early-season schedule and an 0-5 start to rally the Eagles for four straight wins and a region championship. He told his players they are “creating a certified monster” and Beaufort, and it’s easy enough to believe him. Hatcher coached a talented, but inexperienced Warriors team to a 7-4 mark, with three of the four losses coming to teams who are in the Lower State semifinals — and half of those losses were by a touchdown or less.
• It’s gonna be really cool to watch CJ Cummings in the Olympics. OK, OK, it’s not officially official yet, but after another strong performance last week in Peru, sweeping silver at the IWF Grand Prix in Lima, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the 19-year-old Beaufort native will don the red, white, and blue in Tokyo next year. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has following Cummings’ incredible career. He has been anointed the Next Big Thing for Team USA weightlifting for a number of years, but there’s a giant gap between being expected to do something on a world-class level and actually doing it. CJ has proven he is the real deal, and I can’t wait to see him on the world’s biggest athletic stage. He’s a tremendous representative of the Lowco.
• It’s great to see local kids going on to the next level. By my count, 24 local student-athletessignedletters of intentlast weekto continuetheir academic and athletic careers in college, including 20 at NCAA Division I schools. For many, this is a longtime dream coming true. For all, it is a tremendous accomplishment and outstanding opportunity. It was wonderful to see so many local sports fans interacting with the posts about athletes from rival schools signing scholarships. That’s exactly the kind of spirit we embody at LowcoSports.com, and we hope every student athlete from this area goes on to do great things — in athletics and elsewhere.
• On a related note, Nick Pringle is an inspiration. Pringle is an incredibly humble young man who has worked tremendously hard to earn the opportunity to play at the next level, and he has a chance to do big things at Wofford. Pringle’s story is one of overcoming incredible adversity, as his rise from nice high school player to D1 recruit has happened almost exclusively in the 16 months since his 24-year-old brother, Trey, died of cardiac arrest three days after being shocked by a Taser by Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The tragedy has inspired Pringle to be a positive role model in the Seabrook community, and he certainly is succeeding. Check out our interview with him on this week’s LowcoSports Lowdown podcast.