First Baptist makes its return to 11-man football

The First Baptist Hurricanes opened the season with a 46-0 loss at Pinewood Prep on Tuesday. (Wade Spees/Staff)

Change is in the air at First Baptist as the school brings in a new head coach and moves back into 11-man football in 2014.

Johnny Waters is the new man in charge of the program, coming to First Baptist after a successful five-year stint as an assistant at Palmetto Christian Academy. Waters, who also spent nine years as an assistant at Bishop England, is bringing a new attitude and competitive fire to a program that spent the last two seasons in the eight-man ranks.

"We have great potential here and I'm excited about the opportunity to make this football program a competitive program in SCISA," says Waters. "We're going to be pretty young this year but it's a promising group overall. I think the kids are hungry to compete. They just aren't sure how to get it done. We'll get it done together. The kids are buying in and that's the first step."

Waters brings with him an up-tempo, spread offense that promises to keep the younger players excited.

Sophomore Cameron Berl spent the summer under center and will direct the Hurricanes' offense. Junior Carter Falk will be a key receiver, along with 6-2 sophomore Hayden Riley, a transfer from Coastal Christian.

Two transfers from Palmetto Christian are key additions as well. Junior Joe Sweatt will anchor the offensive and defensive fronts for the Hurricanes, while senior Martinez Finney will work at wide receiver and outside linebacker.

Senior Cooper Murray is a returning starter along the offensive and defensive lines as well. Waters says the starting offensive line will likely include two freshmen and a sophomore.

"If we can have some early success and gain some confidence, I think we have a chance to have a decent first season," says Waters. "We'll be learning a lot on the go this first year but even a little success will be big for the future of this program."