Jul. 18—Brunswick High repeated as champions in the Warren McClendon Lineman Challenge, but a new team hoisted the 7-on-7 trophy at BHS' Ball at the Beach event last Thursday to wind down the summer.
The Pirates welcomed seven programs — Islands, Johnson, Lanier County, Liberty County, McIntosh County Academy, Savannah, and Windsor Forest — to campus to for the rare competition that engages the entire team.
While the skill players participated in five games of pool play in the 7-on-7 competition, each program's hog mollies got the opportunity to get in on the fun with a unique event.
Each team of linemen took turns competing in various events from a farmers run relay and tire flip to an obstacle course and truck push.
"It's been good, especially if you have 7-on-7s all for the skill guys and everything, you've got to have something for the big guys as well," said Brunswick head coach Garrett Grady, a former offensive lineman himself. "To get out there and compete against some the surrounding counties, Lanier County traveled over here, Liberty County traveled over here, a lot of schools from Savannah as well, I was very impressed with the talent.
"It was great competition out here all day, just trying to give the big guys a chance to compete."
Host of the event and seemingly a collegiate lineman factory over the past several years, winning the lineman challenge is a point of pride for Brunswick, but the program would have to defend its title without the services of its most recent Division I signee in Kanaya Charlton, who signed with Florida State in December.
Despite being down a 6-foot-5, 355-pound mountain, the Pirates still had plenty of heft to throw around, led by rising senior defensive tackle, and Wake Forest commit, KaShawn Thomas.
Thomas, along with offensive linemen Joshua Walker and University of Florida commit Jamal Merriweather, defensive tackle Jordan Jimmerson and the rest of Brunswick's projected starters in the trenches, advanced to the finals, where the champion would be decided in a tug-of-war against Lanier County.
The Bulldogs had an admirable run in securing a spot opposite from the Pirates in the finals, but the Class A-Public had no shot against Brunswick in a contest of strength.
After a little trash talking between the teams heading into the matchup, Brunswick delivered consecutive decisive victories in the tug-of-war.
"It means a lot to us, coming here, grind, show what we worked on during summer, show everybody," Thomas said. "Warren McClendon, we're doing this for him."
Brunswick looked as if it would defend its crown as the 7-on-7 champions as well as its A team cruised through pool play, going 4-0 and outscoring its opponents by 64 points en route to the top seed in the tournament round.