Hartsville Middle School football achieves three-peat

Hartsville Middle School football achieves three-peat
2015 HMS FootballHARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Hartsville Middle School football team overcame a bumpy start to the 2015 season to eventually clinch a Pee Dee Conference championship, the team’s third title in as many years.

“A lot of the kids stepped up, played hard and did their jobs,” head coach Andy Hamilton said. “I am very proud of these young men.”

After losing the first two games on the schedule, the Red Foxes went undefeated the rest of the season, reliant on teamwork, effort and a “Next Man Up” philosophy.

Riding two consecutive 8-0 seasons, the young student-athletes’ desire to continue the winning tradition fueled some tension at the season outset. Hartsville lost its opening two games to Williams Middle School and Southside Middle School, both Florence County schools.

“Obviously there was a little pressure at the beginning of the year,” Hamilton said. “We know there are older brothers and cousins who played on the championship teams before that influence the kids’ mindset. I think we struggled with that at the beginning, and these kids could have packed it in.”

They did not. On the road at Ronald E. McNair Middle School in Lake City for Week 3, the Red Foxes’ determination paid off.

“The whole season turned around when we played Lake City,” Hamilton said. “It was very impressive to see the kids step up in that game. Our offense finally started clicking, and our defense played awesome all year.”

Donovan Lambert, running back and team MVP, led the team through a shortened regular season due to schedule changes and flooding and into the playoffs. The Red Foxes knocked off Henry L. Sneed Middle School of Florence in the first round and Darlington Middle School in the second round. The title game matched Hartsville against Williams, the team that beat Red Foxes in the season-opener. The Red Foxes won 22-6 and finished the season on a five-game win streak.

Other team leaders this season for Hartsville included Justin Abraham and Zayvionne Peterson, the team’s Offensive Players of the Year, and Tanner Carpenter and Kevon Haigler, Defensive Players of the Year.

Hamilton laid credit for the team’s success at the feet of his assistant coaches: Defensive coordinator Heath Shirey, defensive line coach Lenard Hudnal and offensive coordinator Shenard Brown. Hamilton praised Brown, an unpaid volunteer, for his dedication to the students.

The “meat and potatoes” of the middle school’s schemes come from the perennially successful high school team, Hamilton said. The assistant coaches adapt the high school concepts for the younger athletes. Hamilton also recognized former offensive coordinator Adam Fedewa, now coaching with the high school team, for laying the middle school’s offensive groundwork.

“They’ve done an outstanding job for the last three years,” Hamilton said. “It’s just the way they’ve coached the players. They’ve made it easy for our kids to understand what to do. These assistant coaches are the reason we’ve been so successful.”

Hamilton also gave thanks to Sara Douglas, the team’s volunteer athletic trainer.

Hartsville Middle School held its Fall Athletic Program on Tuesday, recognizing the team’s MVP and Players of the Year. Other special honors included the Next Man Up Awards for Darien McMillan and Sanchez Wilson, as well as Most Improved Awards for Shaheim Stephens and Amir Coe.

For more information, please contact the Darlington County School District’s Office of Communications at 843-398-2284.

2015 Hartsville Middle School Football Roster
• Marquise Jones
• Owen Taylor
• Tyrek Mills
• Wyatt Wilson
• Dariyan Pendergrass
• Kevin Thomas
• Toney Keyshawn McDonald
• Darian McMillan
• Treyvoris Ali Turner
• Dean Gerald
• Jacob Mullins
• Donovan Lambert
• Jaquan Enoch
• Sanchez Wilson
• Dylan Smith
• Shaheim Stephens
• Dijour Hough
• Hunter Gainey
• Elmer Mack
• Zayvionne Peterson
• Kevon Haigler
• Brandon Scott II
• Tanner Carpenter
• Fletcher Lowell
• Richard Williamson Jr.
• Rashon Johnson
• Micah Greenawalt
• Chapin Rhodes
• Joshua Eubanks
• Harlee Tate Hawkins
• Amir Ja’Von Coe
• Will Galloway
• Eric Brown Jr.
• Franklin Wesley Watkins
• Tyler Chance Crawford
• Bailey Carraway
• Andrew Blakney
• Phillip Chase Nesbitt
• Jonah Burr
• Joseph Burr
• Coby Byrd
• Isaiah Carroway
• Carter Peavy
• Jesus Adan Jiminez-Rodriguez
• Brantley Austin Hopkins
• Justin Abraham