Pigskin Preview: Defense key to Tigers’ turnaround

ccufoot-jordanWhen legendary Summerville football coach John McKissick retired this summer after a record-setting 63-year career, Conway coach Chuck Jordan inherited his title as the longest tenured active coach in South Carolina at the same school- albeit with half the seasons under his belt.

Entering his 32nd season, Jordan is more concerned about the number 32 for a different reason, as in the points per game allowed by the Tigers last season. If Conway is to avoid another disastrous 2-9 campaign like their last two, the defense must step up.

“Defensively we should be much better with a much improved defensive line and lineback corp led by defensive lineman Garland Hanton and linebacker Austin Manchester,” Jordan said. “Our secondary will be similar to our offensive line in that they are talented but still puppies.”

The Tigers return zero starters on the offensive line, but they are joined by a wealth of talent. South Carolina commitment Bryan Edwards leads an impressive wide receiving corp, and running back Jah’Maine Martin is back to carry the bulk of the ground work.

The onus will fall on senior quarterback Peyton Derrick to move the Tigers in their spread attack, although dual threat sophomore QB D’Wuan Grainger could see some snaps. How well Conway plays could determine how much longer Jordan retains his new title.

Conway opens the season Friday night at Georgetown and faces a critical September stretch against Class 3A powers Hartsville, Marlboro County and Myrtle Beach before entering the tough Region 6-4A schedule. The Tigers need to gel before league play.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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