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Jefferson Davis High School

 

Lightsey focused On Keeping Jefferson Davis Football Tradition Moving Forward

By Billy G. baker

Publisher

Blackville-Matt Lightsey takes over the Jefferson Davis Academy football program with a strong goal of keeping the recent success of the team moving forward under former coach Michael Tindall who left the program in good shape with 20-plus wins in 2017 and 2018.

“My goal is to keep our tradition going that we have established,” said Coach Lightsey in an earlier interview. “I have spent the past five seasons head coaching varsity baseball at JDA and assisting with varsity football, so I already knew all the players in the program when I got the job.”

JDA hosted a Jamboree recently with schools from Wardlaw Academy, Andrew Jackson Academy, Patrick Henry Academy, Beaufort Academy and Holly Hill Academy. The Raiders had a two- quarter scrimmage with Patrick Henry and lost 16-8.

“One of the main things we found out from the jamboree was that we are not as conditioned as we thought we were,” said Coach Lightsey. “We only dressed out 12 players for the scrimmage with Patrick Henry.”

“We held out four of our starters in the Jamboree with minor injuries and they will be ready to go when we open the season against Holly Hill Academy,” said Coach Lightsey. “I thought our players gave good effort against Patrick Henry and it was nice to see our stadium packed full of fans from all six schools.”

 In 8-man SCISA you must always play with five men on the offensive line. “The strength of our team is the offensive line and we average around 295 to 300 pounds across the front,” said Coach Lightsey. “Hopefully, we will be able to run the ball well behind this group.”

Senior captain and four-year starter at center is hard working Dustin Sandifer (5-11, 280) who is also a vocal leader on the team according to Coach Lightsey. “He is the captain of our offensive line and he wears the “C” on his jersey with a lot of pride.”

One of the better offensive linemen (no kidding) at any prep level of football in South Carolina is junior Garrison Owens (6-7, 315). Several colleges came by in May just to verify his height and weight. “Garrison has lost a lot of weight over the past two seasons and he is focused on earning a football scholarship,” said Coach Lightsey. “He is one of the most improved players on our team over the past two years.”

Then you have senior Clay Davis (5-11, 315) starting at right guard. (Coach you were right saying your line averaged between 295 and 300.)

The other three captains on the team is running back Seth Davis who ran for over 100 yards against PH. The other captains are veteran senior Nick Darnell who plays at quarterback and senior Mitchell Webster who starts at defensive end. Darnell flips to free safety on defense.

Seth Davis flips to outside linebacker along with Banks Davis. The middle linebackers is Hernandez. Procter is a free safety.

Darnell is in his 4th year in the team. “Nick is a good leader and not only does his know his job on every play, but he knows what his teammates are supposed to be doing as well,” said Coach Lightsey.

Coach Lightsey also said that when you combine Seth Davis with Banks Davis in the back field at JDA that opposing teams are dealing with a “two headed monsters.” He called both “speed backs” who can find the open holes.

Huster Laird plays in the offensive line beside athletic Dontae Payne (6-2, 220) who was a running back last year. Chandler Terrace returns to the team and he will start at defensive back. Tony Hernandez and Cole Lawson are the tight ends for JDA. Lawson transferred in from Williston-Elko.

Webster will also see some playing time at running back. Replacing 5,000-yard career rusher Jimmy Bozard will be passed on to senior McKinley Procter who is super quick. Procter is a talented baseball player also as he batted over .400 this past season and he threw out 9 runners at the plate from center field over the course of the season with his strong arm.

Some additional players working hard to get on the field are sophomore back Patrick Abbott along with senior Ben Tena who plays at tight end and free safety.

Coach Lightsey is assisted by Logan Beasley and Matthew Webster. The Head of School at JDA is Sherry Delk-Moore. The PA announcer is Bart Owens and the varsity cheer coach is Savannah Martin.

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