For the 4th time in 5 years, the high school football season in The T&D Region and the final Thursday Morning Quarterback ends with a champion having been crowned.
That team is once again Andrew Jackson Academy. A year after losing in the SCISA 8-man final to Beaufort Academy, the Confederates returned to the title game to reclaim the trophy.
They came away with the 44-28 win over St. John’s Christian Academy at Calhoun Academy's field. Jonathan Schaffer had 156 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns and added 9 tackles in the victory.
It was the 71st win in the last 72 games for AJA, which finished undefeated for the 4th time during this span of success.
While the Confederates came away with the SCISA title, the last remaining S.C. High School League teams from the surrounding area were eliminated in the 3rd round. Woodland fell to Oceanside Collegiate 56-42, while Blackville-Hilda fell in 3 overtimes to Ridge Spring-Monetta 26-24.
Although the playoffs are over for T&D region teams, some players still have another game ahead of them in the form of All-Star contests:
SCISA 8-MAN & 11-MAN ALL-STAR GAMES (Dec. 6 - 6 p.m.)
The 8-man All-Star Game will take place at Calhoun Academy, while the 11-man All-Star Game will be played at Heathwood Hall.
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Will Summers and Andrew Felkel of Orangeburg Prep and Ben Stokes of Dorchester Academy were selected to the 11-man game.
Taking part in the 8-man contest for the North are Nick Darnell, Dustin Sandifer and Seth Davis (all of Jefferson Davis Academy), J.J. Hodge, Justin James, Daquavion Miller and Kade Elliott (all of Clarendon Hall) and Evan Inabinet (Calhoun Academy). Jefferson Davis Academy head coach Matthew Lightsey is a North assistant.
The South team is dominated by AJA players. Trey Pulaski, Colyn Peek, Drake Mathias, Bryce Hughes, James Mingo and Adam Creswell are on the roster from the state championship team, and Confederates' head coach Jason Peek and assistant Jonathan Barnes are South assistant coaches. Holly Hill Academy head coach Tommy Breland is the South head coach and Raiders' assistant Eddie Judy is also on the coaching staff.
TOUCHSTONE ENERGY COOPERATIVES BOWL (Dec. 14 in Myrtle Beach)
Selected to the South team were offensive linemen Floyd Hart Jr. (Orangeburg-Wilkinson) and Quintel Brabham (Bamberg-Ehrhardt), along with wide receiver Lavel Davis (Woodland) and defensive back K'Ron Ferrell (Woodland). Former Hunter-Kinard-Tyler head coach Dann Holland (now at Pelion) is one of the South assistant coaches. Defensive back Michael Brunson Jr. (Calhoun County) was selected to play for the North team.
SHRINE BOWL OF THE CAROLINAS (Dec. 21 in Spartanburg)
Offensive lineman Tyshawn Wannamaker (Calhoun County) was the lone T&D Region player selected for the contest at Gibbs Stadium.
Edisto placekicker Bailey Files was named the Palmetto Champions Class 2A Specialist by the S.C. Football Coaches Association. He will receive the award during the Dec. 5 All-Star Football Banquet at Seawell’s Restaurant in Columbia, where Files will be a finalist for the overall Specialist award.
SCISA TITLE GAME RESULTS
Class A - Thomas Heyward 30, Bethesda Academy 6
Class 2A - Trinity-Byrnes 55, Hilton Head Christian 49 (OT)
CLASS 3A -Hammond School 49, Laurence Manning 21
Thomas Grant Jr. reported on The T&D Region sports scene for two decades as a Times and Democrat staffer. In 2014, he became sports editor of The Lexington County Chronicle and The Dispatch-News in Lexington.