THOMASVILLE — As the long football season has now come to a close, the football players and coaches of South Georgia are entering a time of tranquility filled with banquets and dinners as they reflect on the bruises, scrapes, triumphs and trophies they have so tirelessly worked for. That season of reflection and awards begins with the ITG-Next South Georgia Football banquet.
For Thomas County Central, it is the culmination of 15 consecutive wins and a state title. At the banquet, Trey Brenton and Caleb Anderson were honored as Central’s offensive and defensive Players of the Year.
Brenton had a monster senior year that was capped off with two excellent performances to help the Yellow Jackets capture their first state championship in 26 years. Taking the place of now Colorado Buffalo Adam Hopkins, Brenton had some big shoes to fill and he filled them excellently.
Taking on the weight of a run heavy offense, Brenton proved himself to be a hard-hitting running back capable of overpowering any defender. Head coach Justin Rogers spoke endlessly on Brenton getting “better as the game goes on” saying, “you’ll get tired of hitting him before he gets tired of hitting you.” Brenton proved himself to be an ironman and a work horse this season. Whatever word you want to use, Brenton never stopped and never settled.
Over the course of the season, the senior back racked up 265 carries for 1719 yards on the ground, accounting for well over half of the Yellow Jackets total rushing yards this season. He punched in 22 touchdowns and averaged 114.60 yards per game. He proved himself as a receiving threat as well, knotting 23 receptions for 187 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Caleb Anderson was a nightmare for opposing offenses. He proved himself a headhunter in the state title game with massive hits that put fear in the hearts of any Woodward player who saw number 20 in front of them. Anderson was one of the top tacklers this season for the Yellow Jackets. He racked up 48 solo tackles on the season and 54 assisted tackles. Anderson found himself in the backfield often, as he recorded ten tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 12 QB hurries, bringing him to a team second best of 106.5 total tackles. Add a forced fumble to that, and you have the makings of a truly remarkable defensive season.
Anderson proved his value to the team outside of his play as well with his boundless energy, flexing and hollering in triumph even when he wasn’t involved in the play. His celebrations not only lifted up his teammates, but got the fans riled up as well.
“You’re just so happy for them and the validation,” Rogers said. “Those two have been consistent for the last two years. I mean, Trey and Caleb were huge in this 27-1 record with the contributions that they had both at linebacker and running back and the consistency at which they play.”
Of course, a team doesn’t go 27-1 over two years, with back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, back-to-back region titles and a state championship without a remarkable head coach. In his second year with Central, head coach Justing Rogers was awarded coach of the year by ITG-Next. A truly remarkable feat given the competition.
Four other head coaches who were in contention for Coach of the year were at the banquet. Coaches from Perry, Pierce County, Coffee and Valwood were all up for the award, but it was Rogers who stood out among the impressive crowd.
“That was a huge honor and I really wasn’t expecting it. There’s a lot of good candidates out there,” Rogers said. “That was really special to be recognized with such a strong field. That was a huge honor for sure. Something that I wasn’t really prepared for and very grateful for.”