Brevard, N.C. – The Brevard College football team is finishing up their pre-season this week and is beginning to set their sites on their 2008 season opener this Saturday night. The Tornados will open up the season at home, as BC will host the Braves of UNC Pembroke at 6 p.m. at Brevard Memorial Stadium.
Saturday night’s gridiron contest will be the first ever meeting between Brevard and UNC Pembroke, as both teams are still in the beginning phases of supporting a football program. The Tornados are in only their third year of existence, starting the football program in 2006, while UNC Pembroke’s inaugural year for football was last season.
Brevard is once again led by head coach Paul Hamilton, who helped guide the Tornados to a 2-9 overall record last season, improving in every statistical category along the way. Coach Hamilton is in his second year at Brevard College and is excited for what the season holds having worked with all of the returners in the spring, as well as brought in a very strong recruiting class.
While the Tornados are a season older, the roster remains quite young for Hamilton and his staff as there is only seven seniors on the 87 man roster, which also contains 48 underclassman.
The Tornados will look to rely on both returnees and newcomers on both sides of the ball in their home opener on Saturday night. The Tornados will once again be led by running back John Taylor (Richmond, VA), as he returns for his senior campaign. Last season out of the backfield, Taylor led the Tornados in rushing yards (766), rushing attempts (165), and touchdowns (11).
Depth in the offensive backfield will come from two experienced juniors in Tyrone Arrington (Jacksonville, NC) and Desmond Wilson (Mt. Holly, NC) that have bought into Coach Hamilton’s offensive game plan and have seen a considerable amount of playing time over the past two seasons.
Under center this season will be newcomer Kye Hamilton (Charleston, SC), who previously played quarterback for two years at Elon University under Coach Hamilton. Hamilton, a junior, will bring much needed experience and poise not only to the quarterback position but to the entire BC offense while also giving the Tornados a more balanced attack with a strong passing game, looking for receivers such as Cory Pertz (Charlotte, NC), Donald Hudson (Augusta, GA), Darius Williams (Henderson, NC), John Compton (Atlanta, GA), Richard Bush (North Augusta, SC) and Shaton Pratt (Winston-Salem, NC) make plays down the field.
On the offensive line, returners Jacob Richardson (Charlotte, NC), Jeremiah Davis (Pickens, SC), Darrell Neely (Laurens, SC), Charles Byars (Central, SC), and Zach Metts (Leicester, NC), who all saw a considerable amount of action last season or in the spring, will look to use their experience to help clear the way for the running backs and protect Hamilton as BC plans to put forth a more balanced offensive attack in 2008. Returners Adam Cordell (Hartwell, GA), Brent Abendroth (Mocksville, NC) and Tyler Underwood (Pickens, SC), along with newcomers Caleb Campbell (Black Mountain, NC) and Thinh Ho (Atlanta, GA), will look to bolster the front line for BC.
On the defensive side of the ball the young Tornado defense will look to stop a Brave’s squad that is returning nine of its 11 starters from last season’s 4-7 team, including their leading rusher in Rashon Kennedy as well as starting quarterback Cory Smith.
On the defensive side, the Tornados return linebackers Elliot Collins (Lenoir, NC) and Stanley Jones (Spartanburg, SC), who were both in the top-three on the team in tackles in 2007. Jones, who posted 73.5 total tackles a year ago, will help bolster a Tornado defense that will be a mix of newcomers and returners.
Junior Brandon Rawls (Perry, GA) will move from defensive end to linebacker in 2008, looking to use more of his speed in the Tornados new 3-4 scheme. In addition to returners Ricky Morton (Mebane, NC), Joe Bullard (Waxhaw, NC) and Cory Reynolds (Fletcher, NC), newcomers Prince Simunyu (Wake Forest, NC) and Jeremy Long (Tyron, GA) will all add depth at the linebacker spots, looking to make an impact all the defensive side of the ball.
Senior Justin Jefferson (Greensboro, NC) along with junior John Hardee (Granite Falls, NC) and sophomore Richard Ray (Asheville, NC) will look to wreak havoc and make plays up front on the defensive line, with freshman Augustus Dukuly (Duluth, GA) adding depth to the defensive front.
In the secondary, returners Shorick Johnson (Seneca, SC), Austin Williams (Charlotte, NC), Dwayne White (Bennettsville, SC), Dominic Simon (Sumter, SC) and Joshua Durm (Franklin, NC) will bring even more intensity to the defensive secondary having gained a lot of experience in 2007.
A number of new faces will bring depth to the secondary, headlined by sophomore Trey Wilborn (Acworth, GA) who suited up a quarterback in 2007. Freshmen Chase Waldo (Charlotte, NC), Salonik Amos (Grovetown, GA) and Michael Gist (North Augusta, SC) should all see plenty of time in the secondary as well.
The Tornado special teams units was an area of constant focus for the BC coaching staff this pre-season as the Tornados continued to work toward limiting their opponents on both punt and kick-off returns.
Punter Luke Lovelace (Hendersonville, NC) returns for the Tornados has he averaged over 36 yards per attempt a year ago, with 17 punts pinning the BC opponents inside their own 20.
The Tornados Chase Henry (Franklin, NC) returns as the place kicker for BC in 2008, as Henry was a perfect 5 of 5 in field goals last season with his longest being from 40 yards out.
As for UNC Pembroke, the Braves return 18 of their 22 starters from a year ago in which they posted an overall 4-7 record in only their first year of existence.
On the offensive side, the Braves return their two leading rusher from a year ago in Rashon Kennedy and Brandon McLaurin. The two combined to average 110.4 yards per game in 2007, with McLaurin playing in all 11 games and rushing a team-high 135 times.
Quarterbacks Cory Smith and Ryan Horton both return this season for the Braves, as Smith is slated to be the starter in the season opener. In 2007, Smith played in six games where he was 54 of 91 attempts for 715 yards and four touchdowns.
On defense the Braves return four of their top-five leading tacklers from 2007, headlined by linebacker Adam Deese had 51 total tackles over 11 games and two fumble recovers. Defensive lineman Spencer Littlejohn also returns having led the Braves in sacks with seven in 2007.
The kickoff time is slated for 6 p.m. at Brevard Memorial Stadium in Brevard, N.C. The shuttle buses begin running at 4 p.m. and the gates will open at that time as well, two hours prior to the opening kickoff.
You can catch the game via live broadcast brought to you by the “Voice of the Tornados” Rob Walden over the radio at WSQL 1240 AM or over the Internet at www.wsqlradio.com. You may also visit the Brevard College Athletics website at www.BCTorandos.com.
Week 1 - UNC Pembroke vs. Brevard College Game Notes