USC targets shine in Cheraw's state title win
In the second game of Saturday's State Championship slate, the Cheraw Braves defeated the Chapman Panthers 58-14 to claim their second straight Class AA state title. Cheraw was led by wide receiver/safety Jaron Brown who turned in one of the best overall performances of any player during the Weekend of Champions. Brown had three carries for 50 yards, two catches for 39 yards and a 48-yard interception return to give the versatile playmaker a reception, rush, and interception return for touchdown on the day. Brown also added 29 yards on punt returns as well as six tackles for the stifling Braves' defense. Brown was ecstatic following the game after leading his team to another championship.
"I think it was a tremendous effort by the team as a whole," Brown said. "Our offense got off to a slow start, but we really started to pick it up. Our defense has played well all year, but we really stepped it up tonight."
Brown also said as a senior leader he takes it upon himself to lead by example.
"Well I try to make the most of the play whenever I can. When my name is called it's up to me to make the play."
Cheraw Head Coach Johnny White offered glowing reviews on his senior playmaker.
"Jaron is a just a tremendous athlete, football player on both sides of the football. Defensively he makes a bunch of plays," White said. "Anytime he touches the football, kickoff return, punt return, passes, reverses, he's a danger to go all the way. He's just a tremendous asset to the team."
Brown, who claims a top four of South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, and West Virginia, also updated his recruitment and said he has a Clemson official visit planned for January 18 and Tennessee official visit planned for January 11. Brown was scheduled to make an official visit to USC this weekend, but cancelled it due to the title game and says he will reschedule it for sometime in January. Brown will sit down and make his decision after his official visits.
Class of 2009 running back/cornerback Travis Small also had a big day for the Braves. Small shredded the Chapman defense to the tune of 164 yards on 11 carries, averaging nearly 15 yards a carry. Small also added two rushing touchdowns.
"It feels exciting to come back again, back to back, win two State Championships," Small said. "A lot of people doubted us at the beginning because we started out 1-2 (this season). We planned on it being a good matchup, but we came out and played the better football game."
Coach White also had good things to say about his junior star.
"Travis Small is as good as anybody in the state of South Carolina and probably as good as a lot of people in the nation," White said. "People might say, 'Well he's not that fast,' but he doesn't get caught often. He's got tremendous feet and quickness, and he's tough to tackle also."
Small says he is getting letters from Southern Cal, Virginia, Florida State, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Boston College, and Tennessee, but he does not have a leader at this time and does not claim a favorite among the in-state schools either.
After starting the season 1-2, Cheraw rebounded to win 13 straight games on the way to their second Class AA Championship in a row.
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