Youth is something that all of the teams in The Sun’s coverage area has in common going into the 2021 season but those teams also each have veteran players that will look to help lead those younger players into stars of the future, while also reaching for championship glory at the same time.
#14 Quentin Hayes – Quarterback – 6-1, 180 (Sr.)
Hayes comes into 2021 after breaking the school’s passing touchdown record in his first year under center. He threw for 1,464 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also rushing for 556 yards and four touchdowns.
“I expect him to get to the next level as a dynamic player for us,” Enterprise coach Rick Darlington said. “Last year was his first year and he did a great job as a first year quarterback. He had a phenomenal year but now he has to take it to that next level without any experienced receivers around him.
“It’s not just about throwing the ball with Quentin, though, it’s about being able to run the ball, too. I expect him to be a really dynamic player.”
Hayes – who is a star basketball player, too – already holds a scholarship offer from Navy after just one year as the Wildcats’ starting quarterback.
#22 Mykel Johnson – Running Back – 5-10, 170 (Jr.)
Despite just being a junior, Johnson is less than 900 yards away from breaking Enterprise’s school rushing record. In 2020, Johnson led the Wildcat ground game with 936 yards and eight touchdowns, along with five catches for 67 yards and another touchdown receiving.
“MJ has to grow into more of a veteran role for us,” Darlington said. “There’s no more guys ahead of him with more experience to take him under their wing. Now, he has to be that guy that’s a leader and do the things those guys before him did.”
#12 Marshawn Fitzpatrick – Cornerback – 5-11, 176 (Sr.)
Fitzpatrick is Enterprise’s only senior in the defensive secondary and the only cornerback with starting experience. That experience comes at an eye-popping 22 career starts. In 2021, Fitzpatrick totaled 24 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups as the team’s top cover man.
“He’s the only senior in the back half that will be playing,” Enterprise defensive coordinator Jed Kennedy said. “He’s a good corner and is a true shut down type of kid. He played field corner last year and he’ll be the boundary (shortest side of the field) corner this year.
“That puts a lot of pressure on you. A lot of times that means you’re matched up against the other team’s best receiver. We’re excited to see how that plays out. We think he’s our best player on defense and we need him to be that guy.”
#66 Nick Cox – Offensive Tackle – 6-6, 295 (Sr.)
Cox is easily Enterprise’s biggest offensive lineman and is one of two returners among a group that helped Enterprise rush for more nearly 3,000 yards as a team in 2020.
“He’s very smart and really cares about the team,” Darlington said. “He’s come a long way as a player and is a great person, too. I think he’s going to have a really good senior season.”
Cox started all 11 games as a junior last season and along with being the biggest lineman on the offensive side, his combination of power and agility allows him to open holes in the running game and also contribute as a solid pass protector, as well. He and Harrison Gammill make up the heart of the Enterprise offensive line.
#77 Harrison Gammill – Offensive Tackle – 6-1, 210 (Sr.)
The other returning starter on the line, Gammill doesn’t possess the size of Cox but is potentially the team’s most complete lineman that should help Cox anchor a group of young players.
“He’s a very solid offensive lineman,” Darlington said. “He’s not very big but he’s really good. He’s probably our most complete lineman.
“He’s got to be the guy we run behind and makes everything go up front.”
While Gammill would likely check in as one of the smaller offensive tackles in Class 7A, he’s also one of the more athletic tackles any team will come across along with having the power needed to go against the defensive lines he’ll see this season.
Gammill’s versatility lends him to being as equally effective in Enterprise’s base “single wing” offensive set along with the other formations that the Wildcats like to throw at opposing defenses, including “spread” formations.
Gammill started all 11 games as a junior and is one of the most experienced linemen on the team. That combination of experience along with athleticism and strength help to make him a key cog in the Wildcat offense.
New Brockton Gamecocks
#18 Kaden Cupp – Quarterback/Safety – 6-0, 185 (Sr.)
Very few high school quarterbacks can say they started under center for four years in high school but New Brockton’s Kaden Cupp will be able to say that this year. New Brockton’s all-time career yardage king will look to further etch his name in the school’s record books this year. His coach also believes he will open some eyes on the opposite side of the ball.
“I think Kaden is going to have some major offensive production just like he’s done in the past,” New Brockton coach Zack Holmes said. “He’s going to have big numbers and he’s a special player, but he’ll surprise a lot of people playing defense. We’ve worried in the past about him holding up physically taking so many snaps but he’s prepared as much as anybody to be able to play both ways. He’s played more snaps this summer than he ever has and he has a knack for it.”
After throwing for 836 yards and six touchdowns along with 798 more yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in just eight games, Cupp will get more chances to open things up in New Brockton’s more spread-oriented offense this season, while he looks to also become a playmaker in the defensive secondary.
#15 Andrew Cashin – Linebacker – 6-0, 200 (Sr.)
Andrew “Drew” Cashin comes into his senior season after a frustrating 2020 that saw his season cut to just three games after a knee injury. In those three games, Cashin totaled 12 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and one sack. A healthy Cashin will look to return to his sophomore form when he netted 45 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and an interception in 2019.
“My hope for Cash is he stays healthy,” Holmes said. “He was bitten by the injury bug the last couple of years but he looks as fast right now as I’ve ever seen him. He’s going to be the anchor point of the defense. He’s making all the calls on defense.”
While Cashin will be called on to be a leader on defense, Holmes said that he’ll also get a chance to show his ability on offense, as well, playing running back.
#75 Bradley Adkinson – Offensive Guard – 6-4, 330 (Jr.)
New Brockton’s biggest player comes into 2021 after having made the biggest growth as a person in the offseason, according to his coaches.
“He’s really, really big and you can’t coach that,” Holmes said. “He’s grown as much as a person over the past eight months or so as anyone I’ve ever coached. It’s been incredible to see and I think that showed up on the field in the spring, too.”
Adkinson showed off his strength and power during New Brockton’s spring game against Florala with some pancake blocks and has continued that improvement into the summer and fall. While Adkinson will be a leader on the offensive line, he’s also one of the players vying for the open defensive tackle position on defense.
“I think he’s going to surprise some people on offense but on defense, too,” Holmes said. “I think he’s figured out what makes him tick and I think he’ll show up and show out for us.
“I expect him to lead that offensive line and I’m as excited about watching him play as anyone else because of his growth as a person.”
#7 Jamarcus Brown – Running Back/Linebacker – 5-9, 200 (Sr.)
Jamarcus Brown comes from a long line of Gamecock players, including New Brockton’s all-time leading rusher and his brother Jahari Brown, and he will look to carve out his own legacy this season as New Brockton’s featured running back.
“Jamarcus is an outstanding football player,” Holmes said. “He just has a knack for playing football. He’s going to run the ball for us and score touchdowns but the thing that goes unnoticed about him is he may be the best tackler on our team. He’s solid as a rock at inside linebacker.”
Brown rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries in 2020 and will see his load on offense increase this year. He also totaled 29 tackles and a team-leading five tackles-for-loss on defense. In 2019, Brown also rushed for 302 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore.
“Jamarcus is that guy you can always count on and you’ll always get his best,” Holmes said. “I think he’ll have production on both sides of the ball and my wish for him is that he continues to grow in his leadership role and can become more vocal with his teammates.”
#31 Jeremiah Moore, Fullback/Linebacker, 6-3, 278 (Jr.)
Daleville’s lone returning Elite 11 representative, Moore earned 31 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 11 quarterback hurries as a defensive lineman in 2020. In 2021, Moore has moved to fullback on offense, where he is expected to be the Warhawks’ featured runner, and linebacker on defense.
“He has slowly turned into one of the leaders of this football team from a voice and action and ability standpoint,” Daleville coach Will Garner said. “We put Jeremiah in two spots he’s not used to playing and the more reps he gets the better he gets at it.”
With his combination of size and speed, the fullback could potentially cause issues with defenses this season.
“Teams have struggled with him in OTAs because of his mix of size and strength,” Garner said. “He offers a mismatch at fullback and it will be fun to watch him with the pads on. He’s going to be a big time player on Friday nights.”
#8 Omarion Pinckney, Quarterback, 6-1, 175 (So.)
Pinckney was forced into action – on both offense and defense – as a freshman in 2020 but has begun to come into his own during this offseason and his knowledge of the offense should be a big advantage for the young signal-caller.
“Omarion is an extension of the coaching staff on the field,” Garner said. “Omarion knows everybody’s job on every single play and they know exactly who to turn to when they have a question, because they know Omarion has the answer.”
Pinckney’s athletic ability lends itself well to the veer/wing T style of offense the Warhawks will implement this season.
“Our style of offense fits Omarion better than you could imagine,” Garner said. “He is a phenomenal runner with great vision and is starting to throw the ball better and better every day. We expect really big things out of him this fall.”
Pinckney, who recorded 17 tackles in 2020, will also play in the defensive secondary, as well.