The football tradition in Emanuel County runs deep in families throughout our communities. The fathers, grandfathers, and uncles cut their teeth on the toughness of being part of a team, and those men come to watch their sons, grandsons, and nephews carry on that tradition. Nowhere is that more evident than at Emanuel County Institute, where these young boys cut their teeth on the dirt and sweat on the practice and football field. For success to happen on Friday night, it starts in the middle school, where those boys of summer learn basics and fundamentals that will lead them to greatness and glory under those Friday night lights.To get an idea about how the middle school football team is doing at ECI this year, The Crossroads Chronicle reached out to head coach Greg Kennedy concerning the upcoming season.He stated his guys fought hard to go undefeated in the regular season and made it to the championship, where they came up short. He had a lot of hard-working kids, and he hopes they can use that championship loss from last year to propel them to another championship run this year.
Last year’s starting offensive line has now gone to the high school, so they are looking to rebuild the offensive line behind a bunch of inexperienced but eager boys. He is looking for some guys to step up and sure up that front line. There are seven or eight guys trying to earn playing time on both the offense and defensive lines, so the middle school Dawgs need some quick, physical guys to show what they can do. The offensive backfield is returning with lots of experience. Tyler Foreman, Jackson Kennedy, Tuff Boddiford, and Chase Johnson, all have experience in the backfield. Ab Marsh, Rashad Smith, and Jashon Branch look to add some more punch to the backfield. The wide receiver position has Tay Carlyle, Daon Bethea, Davis Johnson, and Brayden Rich vying for playing time.
On the defensive side of the ball, there will also be lots of competition going into the preseason. The same guys that will be upfront on the offensive line will also look to play on the defensive line. The linebackering corp will be led by Tuff Boddiford with Turner Bryant, Aaron Matthews, and Jon Wesley Olliff also seeing playing time. The secondary will be also be relatively inexperienced but will hopefully adjust quickly. Chase Johnson and Tyler Foreman will lead the secondary with Ab Marsh, Jackson Kennedy, Jashon Branch, Rashad Smith, Davis Johnson, and Daon Bethea getting some playing time as well.
Coach Kennedy stressed his team is inexperienced but talented. The lack of depth at the skill positions is a concern for him but he feels with hard work, great attitudes, and leadership this team could definitely make a run at a championship.
Joining Coach Kennedy on the sidelines as coaches are: Artie Fields, Joey Korwin, and Chace Ellison.