Patriots set to extend 10-win streak

For the upcoming 2013 high school football season, the Wilcox County Patriots plan to continue and press forward on their quest to not only rack up the program’s seventh consecutive 10-win season, but also to achieve its first Class A state title since the 2009 season, when head coach Mark Ledford lead his team to the promised land by beating Savannah Christian 30-21 in the Georgia Dome.


The Patriots, who made it to the semifinals last season, have been a powerhouse in Class A with Ledford at the helm. Ledford firmly believes that he has a solid team in his hands and should do some damage in 2013.


“I think we have a good chance to have a pretty good team again,” said Ledford.


During spring ball the team seemed to be in high spirits and this past spring practice reflected that according to Ledford.


“In the spring the kids had a really good attitude and I think we’ve got a chance to have another successful year,” said Ledford.


Every year teams all over the country have to adapt and overcome when it comes to replacing talent. The Patriots will have to fill the shoes of quarterback Makail Grace who was voted as the Region 2 player of the year, as well as wide receiver and UNC Tar Heel signee-Jonathan Howard, who was named Region 2 offensive player of the year.


On the bright side, Wilcox County is returning seven players on offense and five on defense. Ledford believes the team has a strong nucleus and familiarity with the spread offense due to the fact that the team has all but two skill players returning.


An area where the Patriots should be a force to be reckoned with is in the trenches.


“One thing that makes me feel good about where we are is that we’re pretty big and athletic up front on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” said Ledford.


The offensive line as well as junior running back Maurice Edwards, who finished the 2012 campaign with 665 rushing yards, should relinquish the pressure on new sophomore quarterback Antwan Benjamin, who has shown Ledford and is staff plenty of promise even though he doesn’t have much experience as a signal caller.


One name to keep your eye on this season is senior defensive tackle Johnny Dwight, who measures at about 6-foot-3, 300 pounds. Dwight can play on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but is being recruited as a defensive tackle by big time division one schools such as Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina just to name a few.


As far as the 2013 schedule, the Patriots will have their hands full with a relatively tough schedule on their quest for greatness. The Patriots tallied an impressive 5-1 record in their region and look to build on that for the upcoming season.


Wilcox County’s natural rival is Turner County, which the Patriots edged 27-26 last season. Another region rival is Charlton County. The Pats have not forgotten about last season’s loss to the Indians and look forward to redemption.


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