It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Georgetown Bulldogs. After reaching the second round of the AAA state tournament last season, head coach Ken Cribb resigned to take the head coaching job at Johnsonville.
“I was a little shocked, I ain’t gonna lie,” linebacker and wide receiver Melquan Cromedy said.
After conducting a search for a new head coach, the Bulldogs hired Kelvin Roller, the offensive coordinator from rival Dillon High School. A week before spring practice was set to start, Roller resigned.
“We had to do damage control,” current head coach Jordan Ward said. “Of course the kids were hurt. They were devastated.”
The day Roller resigned, Ward was hired to replace him. Ward was the JV coach in 2017 and an assistant coach for the Bulldogs the past two years.
“I’m very excited,” Ward said. “I’ve always wanted to be head coach of Georgetown High School, I just thought it would be 10 years from now.”
With Ward settled in, the focus was solely on football when the Bulldogs began their midnight madness practice on July 27. Soggy field conditions forced Georgetown into the middle school gym, but it didn’t stop practice from continuing well into the morning hours.
The Bulldogs finished last season 7-6 with a 4-1 record in the region. After starting the season 0-3, Georgetown won six of their last seven games to propel them into the state tournament.
“We won five games back to back because we didn’t go down when something went bad,” Cromedy said. “Sometimes something bad or something good will happen during a game, you gotta fight through it.”
After beating Swansea 28-0 in the first round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs fell to Timberland 28-6 the next round.
Georgetown has 18 seniors listed on the roster and a core of returning starters, including starting quarterback Bret Kirtley, running back Paul Lance and Cromedy. Lance also plays cornerback and anchors a secondary that Ward believes is the best in the county.
“We have a great group of guys,” Ward said. “There is a great group of leaders here. This is the highest intensity I’ve ever seen at Georgetown High School.”
Cromedy was the team’s leading tackler in 2017 and a threat on the offensive side of the ball. He hopes the team can reach at least the third round of the playoffs in his final season as a Bulldog.
“This is my last year, my last ride. I’m going to put everything on the field and my boys will put everything on the field,” Cromedy said.
Even with a talented group of seniors, Ward said the teams biggest weakness currently is depth.
“We lost a lot of talented players from last year, but we have the most heart and the most hardworking team that’s been in Georgetown in at least three years,” Ward said. “We have a lot of young, green kids. That’s what we’ve been pushing all summer; building that depth, getting those young guys in and getting them reps.”
The offensive line will also be something to watch for the Bulldogs this season. While senior Ryan Drayton returns as the left tackle, three members of the offensive line played JV last season.
“We have the guys there, some of the guys are just a little bit new for us,” Ward said.
Player to watch
Ward is looking for Lance to have a big season for the Bulldogs this season.
“He had a real good year last year,” Ward said. “He’s worked hard in the weight room and he’s set himself up for a good year. And I think you’ll see him finish that.”
While he doesn’t have any offers, Lance said he has interest from several schools including Savannah State, Limestone College and Benedict College. The senior running back said he wants to rush for 1,200 yards this season and secure an offer from one of those colleges.
While his goal is to make it to the playoffs, Lance believes this team is strong enough to win a state championship.
“I feel like this team can win a state championship. I feel we can do anything if we work hard for it,” Lance said.
Aug. 24 vs. Phillip Simmons
Aug. 31 vs. Carvers Bay
Sept. 7 at Andrews
Sept. 14 at St. James
Sept. 21 vs. Socastee
Sept. 28 at Waccamaw
Oct. 5 at Manning
Oct. 12 vs. Hanahan
Oct. 19 vs. Bishop England
Oct. 26 at Academic Magnet