JACK BRITT BUCCANEERS
Since the creation of the Sandhills Conference two years ago, perhaps no program has been as consistently surprising as Jack Britt.
Coach Brian Randolph’s first season at the helm in 2017 coincided with the league’s creation. A team with question marks all over the field stunned Richmond Senior that year and was in the mix for second place until the final weeks.
Last year’s team parlayed that growth into a second campaign in which the Buccaneers terrorized the league until back-to-back narrow losses against Seventy-First and Scotland and a second razor-thin defeat to the Falcons in the playoffs. It’s worth noting those two opponents reached the state’s final four, with Scotland reaching the state championship game.
Just when the Bucs appeared to have answered everyone’s questions, Randolph finds himself back at the drawing board as the 2019 season gets underway.
About the Buccaneers ...
Top returning players: Kevin Sentell, QB, Sr.; Anthony Fiffie, WR, Sr.; Mason Walker, RB, Sr.; Denzel Carrucini-Baez, RB/LB, Sr.
Potential breakout players: Karnell Leavell, DL, Sr.; Jacob Copeland, RB, Jr.
Coach's outlook: "It’s going to be (a) struggle to find guys to fill some of these spots. That’s our biggest thing right now — who wants to fill those spots. Somebody’s going to step up but figuring out who those people are and getting them in the correct spot is everything. You only have what you have. We can’t go out and recruit or draft people, so the people who come in the building, it's about making them prepared for those challenges."
910Preps.com evaluation: The bill came due for the overachieving Buccaneers this summer with heavy graduation losses claiming critical positions all over the field. On defense, Jack Britt will have to find playmakers to surround Karnell Leavell in a hurry. In a lot of ways, the 2019 team reminds one of the 2017 squad, though this year’s team boasts more size and strength. Expect the Bucs to shock someone (they seem to do that every year), but find themselves scurrying to avoid losing streaks.
Conference: Sandhills (4-A)
Coach: Brian Randolph
2018 record: 5-7, 4-3
5-year record: 31-29, 19-13
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23 — at South View
Aug. 30 — Terry Sanford
Sept. 6 — Pine Forest
Sept. 13 — Open
Sept. 20 — at New Hanover
Sept. 27 — Scotland*
Oct. 4 — at Lumberton*
Oct. 11 — Richmond Senior*
Oct. 18 — at Purnell Swett*
Oct. 25 — Hoke County*
Nov. 1 — Pinecrest*
Nov. 8 — at Seventy-First*
On offense, Jack Britt will attempt to spread defenses and force them to defend the entire field so quarterback Kevin Sentell can make some connections with a receiver core that lacks blazing speed but runs routes well. Defensively, the Bucs will throw multiple fronts at offenses to get their playmakers in advantageous positions.
Mason Walker is a standout lacrosse player who had only 40 touches a year ago on the football field. While Jack Britt will be using a committee approach at running back this season, Walker could surprise.
FANTASY DRAFT PICK
Somebody has to go and get the ball from the quarterback this season, and Anthony Fiffie is the best bet to do just that. While he lacks elite speed, Fiffie does boast enough size (6-0, 170 pounds) to make opponents pay via his excellent route-running.
Jack Britt at New Hanover (Sept. 20): There’s not a single week off on the Bucs’ schedule this season, beginning with the opener at South View and continuing through this final nonconference contest. New Hanover, of course, is a perennial football power and will be favored, but if you’re looking for an upset a la the Richmond Senior surprise in 2017, this could be it.
Aug. 17 — L, at South View, 24-14
Aug. 24 — L, Terry Sanford, 29-15
Aug. 31 — L, at Gray's Creek, 25-22
Sept. 7 — W, at Southern Lee, 23-0
Sept. 28 — W, Lumberton, 15-14*
Oct. 5 — L, at Richmond Senior, 31-9*
Oct. 12 — W, Purnell Swett, 20-19*
Oct. 19 — W, at Hoke County, 23-13*
Oct. 25 — L, Pinecrest, 34-14*
Nov. 2 — W, Seventy-First, 23-21*
Nov. 9 — L, at Scotland, 20-7*
Nov. 16 — L, at Seventy-First, 21-14**
**NCHSAA playoff game