Screven County is one of five teams that dropped down from Class AA into Class A during the reclassification process.
However, Gamecock head coach Ron Duncan is quick to point out to anyone who will listen, dropping down a classification doesn’t necessarily equate to winning region and state championships. In eight seasons in Sylvania, Duncan has led Screven County to an overall record of 70-24 with four region titles, the last one coming in 2017.
What were your initial thoughts about being reclassified into Class A?
“It’s going to be a challenge. Our region is going to be extremely competitive and balanced. It’s going to be tough.”
What do you think will be the biggest advantage for your program?
“The Augusta area is what most people associate our region (4AA) with – schools like Jefferson County and Harlem. For us, our closest region games were more than an hour away. Now our furthest game will probably be way less than that. We’ll save some money or travel and I think our gates at home and on the road will be better, too, as we’ll be competing against communities that are a lot like ours.”
Some people think that because you’ve had a lot of success in Class AA, you will be dominant in Class A. What would you say to them?
“I’ve talked to some of our people about it and my comment to them is we have been under 600 students for a long time, and we’ve competed against and had success against a lot of [Class] AAAAA and AAAAAA schools. There are a lot of single A schools that can play with anybody on any given night. I mean, look at our [new] region. Emanuel County Institute, Metter, McIntosh County Academy have all competed at a high level for a long time. I don’t put much stock in the number of A’s.”
What will be your philosophy going into the season, under the current circumstances?“We’ll build our program week to week, control what we can control. Each week will be a season onto itself. That’s the way we’ll attack things.”
Compared to the success you’ve had in the past, your teams have struggled a bit the last two seasons. (Screven County is 13-9 the last two seasons after going 42-7 from 2014-2017). Why do you think that is?
“We’re very isolated, so we coach what we have. In 2017 we graduated 21 of our 22 starters, so we’ve had to go with a totally young group. Last year we dealt with a lot of injuries, but our kids played hard. We played Metter in the first round of the playoffs and came close to winning that game. They ended up going all the way to the quarterfinals.”
You mentioned that Screven County is isolated. Are there any advantages to that?“It’s great being in a community where people literally tell you that second grade class or that fourth grade class has a bunch of athletes in it, and you build those relationships over the years and help those kids develop. I don’t know how some coaches sleep in a lot of other places, worrying about their kids transferring.”
Who are some of your players that people should be aware of?“Amaree Kemp is a senior linebacker for us, a really good player. Shemar Cheever is another senior who will play running back and DB for us. Austin Markovicic is another senior who played quarterback some for us last year, but we’ll move him to receiver this year. He’s a really good athlete and a totally unselfish kid. Very smart. Extremely intelligent. Michael Boyd is a junior defensive lineman and Danny Thompson is a junior offensive lineman.”
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