By Thomas Grant Jr.
The “official” first half of the regular season is over for Gray Collegiate football.
The War Eagles closed out the non-region portion of their schedule with a 30-12 win over Camden. With the victory, Gray Collegiate moved into the top position of the Class 2A rankings of the South Carolina Prep Media Poll.
Now comes the “uncertain” portion of Gray Collegiate’s schedule. Originally, the War Eagles were scheduled to face Eau Claire in their Region 4-2A opener.
Instead, Gray Collegiate finds itself heading on the road to the nation’s capital. Instead of speaking before Congress, the War Eagles will face the St. John’s Cadets in Washington DC this Friday.
The game was made possible after Eau Claire joined five other region teams in agreeing to forfeit to Gray Collegiate. The schools are protesting against what they believe has been an unfair advantage the charter school has enjoyed in enrolling student-athletes which has allowed it to win state titles in various sports.
Gray Collegiate won the Class 2A title in football and softball in 2021, swept boys and girls basketball and took competitive cheer last season. The War Eagles also faced sister school Oceanside Collegiate for the 2022 baseball title.
While the forfeits give Gray Collegiate a region title, it was initially left with the scenario of no games until the playoffs. The S.C. High School League executive committee then voted 10-2 in favor of allowing any team facing a region-game forfeiture in any sport to replace it with another opponent — if one could be found — and without penalty.
This allowed setting up a matchup with the Cadets. Amember of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, St. John’s has won league titles in 2017 and 2021 and are 1-1 this season.
The Cadets are coming off a 37-0 win over Roosevelt this past Friday.
“It is a challenging football game and a challenging football team,” Holmes said. “It is going to be a great trip for our guys. We’ve got a lot of things planned for them. “We are just taking our next step. We had four really good football games (so far on the schedule) and now we will probably play the best team out of all of them. Our guys will be tested, playing a team on a national level. We are excited about it.”
Gray Collegiate has also scheduled games against Portal High School on Sept. 29 for Homecoming and an unnamed team in Clearwater, Fla.
A meeting with parents was scheduled for Tuesday to explain the schedule changes.
Williamsburg Academy at Northside Christian
The Crusaders (2-2) re seeking to snap a two-game losing streak in which it has been held without a touchdown.
Against Camden Military, Northside Christian was stopped at the goal line late in a 6-0 loss. This comes after a 15-3 defeat to Orangeburg Prep.
South Carolina Prep Football Media Poll
1. Gray Collegiate (16) (4-0)
3. Oceanside Collegiate (1) (3-1)
2. Abbeville (3)
4. Marion (4-0)
5. Hampton County (4-0)
6. Saluda (3-0)
7. Fairfield Central (3-1)
9. Silver Bluff (2-1)
9. (tie) Strom Thurmond (2-1)
10. Woodland (2-0)
Others receiving votes: Andrews, Ninety-Six, Chesnee