PICKENS COUNTY: Tornadoes move to tougher region
Wed. August 22, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. | By Barry Allen
Jermarcus Brown (12) runs the ball down the field after completing a pass on August 6, 2012 at Pickens County High School. (Photo by Erin Nelson)
REFORM | The Pickens County High School football team will move into a new region this season. The Tornadoes will also be without the services of departed senior De'Marko Hall, who scored 43 touchdowns last season.
Coach Patrick Plott spent the entire summer and preseason camp trying to determine which will be the most difficult for his football team to overcome this season.
"It's a much tougher region, with the defending state champions and four teams ranked in the preseason," Plott said.
Pickens County is ranked sixth in the Class 1A preseason poll and is joined by No. 1 Marion County, the defending state champion, along with No. 9 Lynn and No. 10 Berry, making Region 4 among the toughest in the state.
"We won't be as explosive as last year," Plott said. "It is tough to replace a kid that scored 43 touchdowns, but we have some other folks that will get the job done this year."
The Tornadoes set a school record with 583 points scored last season and return junior quarterback Devonte Simon, who passed for more than 2,800 yards and 36 touchdowns as a sophomore. Jamarcus Brown will play the slot position manned by Hall last season.
The Tornadoes will also have the services running back Corey Guyton and receivers Raheem Curry and Deonte Simon. Junior receiver Darius Jones is playing football for the first time and gives Devonte Simon a big target with his 6-foot-3 frame.
The Simon twins have been playing football as long as they could grip the pigskin.
"They have played football together their whole life," Plott said. "They know each other so well and both are impact players. We hope to get Devonte more involved in the running game, and he is excited about that. Deonte runs good routes and has great hands. I think he will catch a lot of balls."
Terrien Steele, Chris Hill, Taylor McDaniel and Zeb Finch are returning starters on the offensive line.
Plott says the defense will be counted on early in the season.
"Defensively, I really think they will have to carry us the first few games until the offense gets clicking," he said. "Our up-front guys will help out a lot."
Another set of brothers, Terrien and Malik Steele, a ninth-grader, will man the defensive end positions. Terrien had 100 tackles and 18 sacks last year. Defensive tackle William Stewart had 100 tackles and 12 sacks last year.
Curry is the lone returning linebacker and is expected to be joined by Chris Hill and Justin Barton.
Devonte Simon is the lone returner in the secondary and will be joined by Brown at the other corner spot. Gunner Lemon and Jones will be the safeties.