Colleton Prep has a new head coach this fall as Thad Wells becomes the fourth coach in four years for the perennial SCISA state title contender. Wells brings with him a different look offensively as the Warhawks will move away from the traditional ground-and-pound offense to spread, up-tempo look.
2013: 6-7, 3-0 in SCISA 2-A
Coach: Thad Wells (First season)
Returning Starters: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)
Players to watch: QB Brian Murdaugh, RB Will Carter, OL Mark Hughes, WR Nick Padgett
Colleton Prep played for the state championship last season, losing to Williamsburg Academy in the finals, and Wells has most of that team returning this season.
"We were very young last year and we're fairly young again, but with more experience," says the coach. "We have a lot of sophomores that played a good bit as freshmen. We only have two returning senior starters and three returning juniors. The good thing about this group is they love football and they love to play."
Many of the team's best players will be two-way starters, which is the norm at the SCISA Class A level. Moving under center to take on the role of quarterback is junior Brian Murdaugh, a 6-0, 215-pounder who also anchors the defense at middle linebacker.
The running backs are strong this fall with the return of senior Will Carter and junior Scott Kramer. Carter topped 1,000 yards last season and earned all-state honors. Carter and Kramer also start at linebacker defensively.
The top returning linemen this fall, senior Mark Hughes and junior Matt Craven, will be two-way performers.
Two key receivers/defensive backs include sophomores Nick Padgett and Josh Ginn. Both played last year as freshmen and Padgett returned four kickoffs for touchdowns a year ago, including one in the state championship game.
Another sophomore, Brantley Hudson, will work behind Murdaugh at quarterback while also starting at a safety position on defense.
"The two keys to being successful are effort and toughness and that's what we are preaching early on," said Wells. "If we play with effort, and if we can be a mentally and physically tough football team, we're going to have our chance to compete every week."