Some thought the Rebels title hopes were over after last season and especially when Bobby Bentley decided to leave Byrnes to coach his college alma mater, Presbyterian. The new coach Chris Miller picked up right where Bentley left off and although the journey had some tough battles he guided the Byrnes program to their 5th state title in 6 years.
What makes the Rebels so outstanding? They persevered against strong opponents like Dr. Phillips out of Florida and Centerville High from Ohio this season. In both of those games the Rebels were down late and dug deep to pull out comeback victories. Call it learning on the fly but the Rebels left it all out on the field on Saturday as they powered past Summerville. The game was the dream matchup for many South Carolina high school football fans and the arguments had been going on across the state all week long leading up to this one.
Guided by QB Chas Dodd and RB Marcus Lattimore the Rebels put on an impressive performance. If folks weren't familiar with WR Jason Logan before Saturday they are now. The junior standout caught 4 passes for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns and both of his scores came in spectacular fashion with Logan outleaping defenders and his second score saw him tightrope the sideline after the catch.
The unsung heroes for the Rebels all season have been the "Strike Force" (the nickname for their defense). Taking on arguably the top player to come out of the Palmetto State in a decade in Summerville WR A.J. Green the Rebels did a fantastic job of limiting Green's production. CB Cartier Rice and CB Curtis Thompson took turns matching up with Green with help over the top from S Justin Bright limiting Green to just 3 catches for 29 yards making him a nonfactor.
We saw t-shirts saying, "Another Run Has Begun" and it would appear that way for the powerhouse program out of Duncan. One avid Summerville fan had a comment about the Rebels if given anonymity. "Honestly if everybody else including us (Summerville) doesn't get it together quick, we'll all be enjoying the Byrnes ride for a long time because they look like they're on a whole 'nother level."
On paper the Rebels do look poised to defend their state championship again next year as they return many of their offensive weapons. QB Chas Dodd (soph.), RB Marcus Lattimore (soph.), WR Ricco Sanders (junior), WR Jason Logan (junior), and WR/RB Nick Jones (soph.) all return. The defense will have to come together behind CB Riyahd Richardson (junior), S Justin Bright (junior), LB Skylar Franklin (junior), LB Daniel Cleveland (junior), and others to replace seniors like Shrine Bowl players DE Everett Dawkins & CB Cartier Rice.
The old saying goes, "keeping up with the Joneses." In regards to AAAA South Carolina high school football it might be, "keeping up with the Rebels."
Byrnes head coach Chris Miller