Talk to Brunswick High head coach Sean Pender or Glynn Academy coach Rocky Hidalgo about their rivals across town and you’ll hear a lot of admiration for what the other side has achieved on the football field this year.
The Pirates enter this year’s City Championship on a four-game winning streak with an offense that is averaging 51 points per game in those four victories.
“They’re obviously a really good offense team, a lot of talented players and a lot of guys who’ve played a bunch the last three years,” Hidalgo said. “We’re going to have to show up and play well.”
After stumbling out of the gate with a 1-2 record, with both losses against undefeated teams Benedictine and Tift County, the Red Terrors have won their last two games. Glynn jumped on Wayne County early en route to a 38-27 win two weeks ago and overpowered Effingham County over the last three quarters for a 48-27 win last week.
“When you get your program established and you start rolling, it’s a next man up type of mentality, and that’s the mentality they’ve taken with their players,” Pender said. “They had a lot of injuries early in the year and got a lot of other people ready to play. They’re as healthy as they’ve been all year and I’m expecting a good game from them in all aspects because you know they will be prepared.”
Running backs Caine Crews, Hunter Hall and Nolan Grant have teamed up with quarterback Randon Jernigan to provide a potent offensive rushing attack for the Terrors. With defenses focused on stopping the run, it allows Glynn to use that to their advantage with trick plays.
“You’ve got to be ready for halfback passes, got to be ready for little quick reverses and of course, their ground-and-pound game,” Pender said. “This is the most well-coached offensive line we’ve seen so we’ve got to be ready to go against a well executing offensive team.
“You have to put so many guys to the run to stop what they do, you have to be careful of a guy slipping out. We’ve got to know our role and do our job.”
Brunswick’s offense is coming off its best performance of the year with a 64-point performance last week against Bradwell. Quarterback Jamarius Stevens threw for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns in the game while also rushing for a touchdown.
For the season, Stevens has passed for nearly 1,500 yards with 12 touchdowns while also rushing for six touchdowns.
“Obviously he’s a really talented kid,” Hidalgo said of Stevens. “He can run it and throw it. He makes a lot of plays with his legs, both running the ball and throwing the ball. We’ve got to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket and chase him around a little bit.”
Stevens also has a talented receiving corps to distribute the ball to. Alonso Brown and DJ Whitfield both went for more than 100 yards against Bradwell while Jaylen Jackson, who also plays defensive back, wasn’t far behind.
Pender expects the Terrors to try and disrupt Brunswick’s passing attack with a variety of blitzes. That will put pressure on the Pirates offensive line and running backs to pick up the blitzers.
“We run similar defenses so we see it a lot,” Pender said. “Now we just have to do it against a team in a different colored jersey.”
Of course, the deciding factor could come down to which team makes a crucial mistake at an inopportune time. Turnovers were partially to blame for Brunswick’s one loss this season. MisAtakes also played a primary factor in Glynn’s two defeats early in the year.
Victory on Friday may boil down to which team simply takes better care of the ball.
“We can’t make mistakes,” Hidalgo said. “We can’t go out there and jump offsides, have penalties and put the ball on the ground. We have to go out there and play well.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Glynn County Stadium with Glynn as the home team and Brunswick as the away team.