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Ashley Ridge High School
Summerville

Walker sees potential in 2019 Ashley Ridge football team

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Summerville – With a veteran quarterback and a solid offensive line, Ashley Ridge head football coach Kenny Walker sees the potential for a winning club in 2019.

The Swamp Foxes were 5-6 a year ago and must replace their leading rusher, Nick Cunningham, but Walker feels enough of the key personnel returns to give Ashley Ridge a fighting chance to compete for a region title.

 “I feel like we have improved and are finding our identity as we go through the preseason,” says Walker, who has a 56-50 record as head coach. “We are young in spots and we just need more game experience.”

Ashley Ridge’s offense is now under the direction of new coordinator Bobby Marion, the former head coach at region 8-AAAAA rival West Ashley. Marion hopes to establish some running game to fit nicely with returning quarterback Matt Duncan.

Duncan, at 6-2, 210-pounds, is a Temple verbal commitment and will be a fourth-year starter in the shotgun attack. Duncan has more than 3,000 career passing yards and could utilize his running ability as well this season.

Working out of the backfield in the run game will be senior Josh Sharo (5-11, 230) and junior Troy Grant (5-6, 160). The top receiving threats will be senior Gabe Sammons (6-3, 180) and junior Rashard Brown (5-11, 170), with junior tight end Owen Ratliff (5-10, 205) also figuring into the passing game.

Four starters return along a good offensive line, led by left guard Kamryn Petrick (6-2, 280). Senior Jaren Centers (6-1, 250) is a returner at center while senior Lucas Richardson (6-0, 240) is back at left tackle. Senior Cade Ratliff (5-10, 205) returns at right tackle and junior Hampton Smith (6-4, 285) will start at right guard.

Competing for the nod at placekicker are senior Austin Smith and sophomore Will McCune. Senior Blaise Dampier returns as one of the top punters in region eight.

The defense returns less experience but shows potential to be a solid unit overall. Returning with starting experience along the defensive line are senior Anthony Jackson and junior Kaden Dubois. Junior Clayton Williams (6-4, 280) and senior Jaren Gardner (6-1, 185) will move into starting roles along the front.

The starting corps at linebacker will be first-year performers. Seniors Colby Harman and Dylan Sullivan are competing for playing time, along with junior Delray Ford and freshman T.J. Wilson.

The lone senior listed as a projected starter in the secondary is Jerren Strickland. Juniors Khalil Whitaker, Connor Bish and Latrell Jefferson-York also will begin the season as starters in the back.

Ashley Ridge will open the 2019 season at Goose Creek on August 23rd before hosting Berkeley in their home opener on August 30th.

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