There was an undeniable community feel on Tuesday afternoon at St. Andrew’s. Coaches and players from four different teams joined administrators in talking about Lions athletics at the school’s annual Fall Sports Media Day. St. Andrew’s Head of School Dr. Kelley Waldron, Director of Public Relations Scott Searcy and interim Athletic Director Jeff Gonzalez led things off with brief comments before the SAS volleyball, cross country, football and cheerleading teams were previewed.
Prep Sports Report attended and below is a summary of the media day. Also listed is the sport’s coach and pair of players representing the four fall teams on Tuesday.
NOTE: The Lions are part of the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) and they compete in the Georgia Independent Athletics Association (GIAA). SAS is a member of the GIAA’s Class 3A playing in District Two.
Head Coach: Kevin Prisant
Player Reps: Ethan Wilkins (Sr), Zayden Edwards (So)
The football Lions finished the season with a 5-5 record in 2021 under former coach Blake Henry. Prisant was hired from Benedictine in the spring and the first-year head coach says his team has “a core of sophomores and juniors” anchoring the 25-man team.
Six seniors and four freshmen are listed on the roster distributed to the media on Tuesday.
“They’ve had to deal with a lot of things,” Prisant said of his players, citing participation numbers and two head coaching changes among other things. “Football is great and wonderful and we’re going to try to win games and score more points and all of that. But we’re trying to get these guys to (realize) that one day they’ll take their pads off for the last time. You just don’t know when that’s going to be. So we’re trying to prepare them for life too.”
Wilkins is a senior tight end and linebacker while Edwards is a sophomore southpaw quarterback. A star on the basketball court – SAS won the state championship last season thanks in large part to his heroics – Zyere Edwards is a senior receiver and Zayden’s older brother. He was considering not playing football this year, but his younger brother wasn’t going to let that happen.
“It took a lot to get (Zyere) to come out this (football) season,” said Zayden before being asked what it took to get his older brother to play this season. “I begged him. It took a lot. I’ll just say that.”
It was probably worth the trouble. Zyere Edwards scored four touchdowns in the team’s first scrimmage (August 5) versus Robert Toombs. St. Andrew’s plays its final scrimmage at back-to-back state champion Hilton Head Christian (SC) on August 13 before opening its regular season versus Thomas Jefferson, at home on August 19.
Head Coach: Bobbi Mock (Assistant Dave Hanak was there Tuesday)
Player Reps: Isabelle Booth (Sr), Lizzy Lank (Sr)
Mock is in her first season as the SAS volleyball coach, but she’s no stranger to the coaching world.
The Lions played versus George Walton Academy on August 5 to open the 2022 season and had a Tuesday night contest with Frederica Academy. SAS was 9-11 last season, but with nine seniors on the roster including Booth and Lank, assistant coach Dave Hanak says expectations are justifiably high this year.
“I’ve been watching these girls grow as a team since they were in middle school,” he said. “We have nine seniors and three juniors who have been playing together for a really long time. It has been amazing to watch what they’ve become.”
Head Coach: Tricia Sherman
Player Reps: Nick Sherman (Sr), Sarah Koegler (Sr)
“We have a lot of new faces this year and we’re still trying to rebuild from having full rosters on our (boys and girls) teams a couple of years ago,” said Sherman.
“We have a couple of people who we think and hope are running this year, but we’re still trying to get them (to commit). We’re going to use seniors (like Nick Sherman and Sarah Koegler) to help bring along our younger runners (like freshman Ryder Small) and just to teach them how we do things. So we have good leadership and some strong young runners we think will help us.”
The first scheduled meet is August 29 at Bulloch Academy.
Head Coach: Tiffany Phillips
Player Reps: Lauren Hylan (Sr), Ella McWhorter (Jr)
“We have a smaller team than we’ve had in recent years just because we graduated eight seniors from last year,” said Phillips. “Our focus is on sideline and community support for the most part.”
Phillips and attending player reps Lauren Hylan and Ella McWhorter said trying to provide “pep” in the pep rallies was difficult, if not impossible, during COVID-19 restrictions. Trying to get students excited and pepped up isn’t easy when everyone is spread out by six feet apiece in an open field as opposed to a loud, crowded gymnasium. And the Zoom Video pep rally was short lived. But now that restrictions are largely lifted, the cheerleading team can excite the students, fans and fellow athletes for what’s to come.
“It’s great for us to be able to start thinking about and planning these things we’ve had to severely modify over the past couple of years,” said Phillips. “We’re excited about this in terms of what it means for school spirit and an overall community effort.”
For more information about SAS athletics, including rosters, schedules, results and more, visit: www.GoSASLions.com and follow the Lions on Twitter, @SASathletics_.
FOLLOW Travis Jaudon on Twitter/Instagram @JaudonSports. Email him at travisLjaudon@gmail.com.