The Passing of an Icon

Longtime coach Billy Joe "Bill" Saunders, who brought Savannah Country Day athletics to prominence, died Tuesday, February 8, 2011 in Slidell, LA.

Saunders, 85, worked at Country Day for 31 years, starting in 1958 until his retirement in 1989. He stopped coaching in 1981 but remained at the school as assistant to the headmaster.

"He is Country Day athletics," said SCD athletics director Lamar Kirkley of Saunders. "Without him, Country Day athletics would not be what it is today."

When Kirkley started at SCD, Saunders was financial manager, football coach, basketball coach "and starter on the track team," said Kirkley.

Saunders was a four-time Savannah Morning News coach of the year (1964, 1969, 1970 and '80), and was the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association state coach of the year in 1981.

His football record of 171-67-7 included the 1969 Class C Georgia High School Association state championship, the only GHSA state football title ever won by a Savannah team. His Hornets were state runners up the following year.

Saunders had seven region championship football teams, four area champions and seven of his football teams had undefeated regular seasons.

Kirkley was hired by Saunders in 1975 and coached with him until Saunders retired from coaching.

"He was able to get teams and coaches to reach their highest level without ever raising his voice," said Kirkley. "He was a person you wanted to play for."

Kirkley said parents were so impressed with Saunders that they raised funds in 1973 to build a football stadium for his teams. The facility still bears his name, Saunders Field.

A gym was named in honor of his wife, Charlene Orr Saunders, and although a new gym was built, it has a photo of Saunders and his wife prominently displayed.

"Other than my father, he had by far the greatest influence on me," Kirkley said.

More impressive than the honors and awards was the effect Saunders had on other people, Kirkley said.

"I was assistant basketball coach for three years (with Saunders) and the worst thing I ever heard him say about an officials was 'That sorry so-and-so,'" Kirkley said.

"He was a great coach, a great person and a great mentor to a lot of other coaches.

"He was a genuine gentleman."

Ashley Barnwell, Savannah Christian upper school athletics director, played for two years for Saunders, including on his last team in 1981.

"He could get your attention without yelling," Barnwell said. "A look was enough. He would look at you, and you would know to go to the bench."

Barnwell said part of the secret to Saunders success was his ability to teach.

"He would call you over and outline what you were supposed to do, and then he would expect you to do it," he said. "He commanded that much respect; you didn't want to displease him."

Saunders was a U.S. Air Force veteran and served in World War II. He began his coaching career at McCallie in Chattanooga, Tenn., and then at St. John's in Houston.

He came to Savannah in 1959 to create an athletic program at the fledling Savannah Country Day School, which was changing from an historically female school, The Pape School, to a co-educational day school.

He left a lasting legacy.

"The word that comes to mind is integrity," Kirkley said. "He was one of the first coaches that stressed academics first. The rule that Country Day athletes had to make the highest grades is his rule and it still stands today."

He will be buried in his hometown, Murray, Ky. He had recently moved to Slidell, La.

Kirkley said a memorial is being planned at SCD and will be scheduled when Saunders' family can attend.

Remembrances are requested to be sent to the BJ and Charlene Saunders Scholarship Fund at Savannah Country Day School, 824 Stillwood Drive, Savannah, GA, 31419 or to the American Heart Association.

(The above text was taken from the Savannah Morning News article about Coach Saunders by Anthony Stastny)

2010 SCDS Hornet Season in Review (Final Record 6-4)

Friday, August 20, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Scrimmage - Windsor Forest High School (Home)

Friday, August 27, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Atkinson County (Home)--won 38-12

The Hornets won their season opener against the visiting Atkinson County Rebels 38-12 behind a strong performance from seniors Tate O'Connor, Kevin Blackburne, and Morris Watson.  The team cruised to a 38-6 lead midway through the third quarter and Coach Coyle rested the starters the remainder of the game.

The stats for the Hornets' senior stars were as follows:

-- Tate O'Connor, senior, quarterback: O'Connor was 8-of-10 passing for 182 yards, including touchdown passes of 52 and 44 yards, in the Hornets' 38-12 victory over Atkinson County. He threw a pass for a two-point conversion, and ran for 48 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown.

-- Kevin Blackburne, senior, wide receiver: Blackburne had six catches for 151 yards, including touchdowns of 52 and 44 yards. He caught a pass for a two-point conversion.

-- Morris Watson, senior, running back: Watson ran 13 times for 118 yards, including touchdowns of 12 and 3 yards.

Friday, September 3, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Treutlen County High School (Home)--won 48-17

Savannah Country Day senior running back Morris Watson ran for 224 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 75 yards and a touchdown to lead the Hornets to a 48-31 victory over Treutlen High School on Friday night.

The third quarter alone took nearly an hour to complete, as both teams combined to score 35 points in the Class A nonsubregion shootout at SCD's Saunders Field.

"The linemen were blocking great and, even after that, the wide receivers were blocking great downfield," said Watson, who ran for touchdowns of 68, 5 and 3 yards on 20 carries. "It made my job a lot easier. It was a long game. Treutlen's a great football team. It's the best feeling in the world. Putting up 48 points, that's what we aim to do every game."

Watson caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Tate O'Connor, who finished 10-of-13 passing for 179 yards and four touchdowns of 6, 69, 11 and 54 yards without an interception.

"We knew it was going to be a very physical football game," said SCD coach Dennis Coyle, whose Hornets improved to 2-0. "We knew they had a lot of athletes. We knew they could score some points."

Treutlen (0-2) was led by senior quarterback R.J. Dennard, who finished 17-of-28 passing for 256 yards and four touchdowns of 32, 10, 38 and 1 yards. He threw one interception. Vikings senior wide receiver Devonte Pierce caught seven passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

"The same thing that plagued us last week: turnovers and tackling," Treutlen coach Britt Ingle said. "That's it. Turnovers and tackling. You can't take anything away from (SCD)."

Treutlen lost two of its three fumbles, including during a third-quarter kickoff, and SCD senior defensive back Kevin Blackburne picked off Dennard with 8:01 to play and the Hornets leading, 41-31.

"We threw the pick down there. We probably got a little impatient," Ingle said. "We were kind of rocking and rolling, and had a couple of quick scores but, like I said, turnovers and tackling."

SCD's Blackburne, also a wide receiver, caught three passes for 67 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown that gave the Hornets a 48-31 lead with 6:02 to play. Sophomore kicker Harley Lichtenberg was 6-of-6 on extra-point attempts.

"People warn us that they're going to take away Kevin Blackburne," Coyle said, referring to opposing defenses. "Kevin's a great football player, but I feel real comfortable with Morris Watson and our other group of receivers."

SCD's defense limited the Vikings to 78 yards rushing on 23 carries. Hornets senior Jennings Hughes registered a critical sack three plays before Blackburne picked off Dennard. Hughes also recovered a fumble during the game's second play.

Treutlen took a 3-0 lead thanks to Michael Grimes' 16-yard field goal, which capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with 4 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first quarter.

SCD responded with a nine-play, 45-yard drive that was capped with O'Connor's 6-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Alex Sovchen. Lichtenberg kicked the extra point to give the Hornets a 7-3 lead.

Treutlen took a 9-7 lead with 2:55 remaining before halftime when Dennard connected with Pierce for a 32-yard touchdown.

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THS 3 14 14 0 -31

SCD 7 6 21 14 -48

THS-Michael Grimes 16 FG

SCD-Alex Sovchen 6 pass from Tate O'Connor (Harley Lichtenberg kick)

THS-Devonte Pierce 32 pass from R.J. Dennard (kick failed)

SCD-Morris Watson 69 pass from O'Connor (pass failed)

THS-Marquis Carvin 10 pass from Dennard (Pierce run)

SCD-Watson 68 run (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Watson 5 run (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Jimmy Brawner 11 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

THS-Blake Rosen 38 pass from Dennard (Grimes kick)

THS-Pierce 1 pass from Dennard (Grimes kick)

SCD-Watson 3 run (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Kevin Blackburne 54 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

                               THS                                       SCD

First Downs             16                                           19

Rushing                 78                                          260

Passing                  256                                        179

Comp-Att-Int        18-29-1                                 10-13-0

Fumbles-Lost           3-2                                     2-1

Punts                     3-50.3                                2-27.0

Penalties                 7-60                                   6-40

Friday, September 10, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Wheeler County High School (Away)--won 48-17

ALAMO - Morris Watson rushed for 100 yards and accounted for four touchdowns - three rushing and one receiving - as Savannah Country Day defeated Wheeler, 48-17, on Friday night.

The undefeated Hornets scored in every quarter, including a big three-touchdown period in the third.

Watson opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 5-yard run. He added scoring runs of 21 and 12 yards, and caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Tate O'Connor.

O'Connor had a big night, passing for 302 yards on 21 completions, two for touchdowns, and scoring on a 1-yard run.

Kevin Blackburne had a 20-yard touchdown catch, and Cole Skinner scored on an 8-yard fumble recovery return.

SCD 14 7 21 6- 48

Wheeler 7 3 0 7- 17

SCD-Morris Watson 5 run (Harley Lichtenberg kick)

W-Butler 17 run (kick failed)

SCS-Watson 28 pass from Tate O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

W-Moore 34 FG

SCD-Watson 21 run (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Watson 12 run (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Kevin Blackburn 20 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Cole Skinner 8 fumble recovery return (Lichtenberg kick)

W-Oliver 13 run.

SCD-O'Connor 1 run. (kick failed)

Thursday, September 16, 2010, 7:30 P.M.
Groves High School (Home)--lost 26-28

The football game between Class AAAAA Groves High School and Class A Savannah Country Day was action-packed from the start Thursday night.

SCD senior Morris Watson returned the opening kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown, but visiting Groves emerged from Saunders Field with a 28-26 victory.

"That was a deflator," Groves coach Greg Hunter said of Watson's touchdown. "We knew they could hit us hard. And they did. We tried to stay on an even keel so our kids could stay focused on what they had to do instead of going into the tank like we do from time to time."

SCD (3-1) took a 13-0 lead with 9:08 left before halftime thanks to sophomore Harley Lichtenberg's field goals of 32 and 46 yards.

Late in the second quarter, SCD's Watson caught a pass from senior Tate O'Connor for a 14-yard gain, but Watson fumbled and Groves (2-1) recovered.

On the ensuing play, Groves senior running back Elijah Turner scampered for a 44-yard touchdown. He finished with 15 carries for 167 yards. Sophomore Ashton Wilson kicked the extra point to cut the score to 13-7 with 4:28 left before halftime.

Groves' Wilson booted the kickoff 59 yards to pin SCD at its 1-yard line. Three plays later, SCD's O'Connor accidentally stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Groves trimmed the score to 13-9, and SCD kicked off to the Rebels.

On the ensuing play, Groves senior quarterback Chris Cutter rifled a pass 50 yards to junior Juwan Johnson, who beat double coverage and caught the ball in the end zone. The extra-point kick failed, but the Rebels had a 15-13 lead that stood at halftime.

"They forced us into making mistakes," SCD coach Dennis Coyle said. "We had a great game plan but we didn't execute. I think our kids played hard. I don't know that we were prepared for some of the things (Groves) did. I don't know what to adjust. I'll have to watch the film.

"But I'm always proud of our kids," Coyle continued. "Since I've been here, they always play hard and they put their heart into it. I think they did again tonight but, unfortunately, Groves played a better football game."

Groves had SCD senior wide receiver Kevin Blackburne double-covered for the majority of the game, denying him a catch until there was 6:28 left in the third quarter. O'Connor had completed 14 passes to five receivers before connecting with Blackburne.

Blackburne's second catch was for a 48-yard touchdown with 4:45 left. The Hornets' two-point conversion pass failed, but SCD led, 19-15.

Groves' next possession ended when Cutter was intercepted by Blackburne, who also plays at defensive back.

But three plays later, SCD's O'Connor was intercepted by Groves senior defensive back Marlon O'Neal. The Rebels took a 21-19 lead with 11:53 left in the game when Cutter ran for a 3-yard touchdown.

Three plays later, SCD's O'Connor was intercepted by Groves senior defensive back Deshone Travis.

Eight plays later, Groves senior running back Sam Lowe bulled in for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Rebels a 28-19 lead with 6:39 to play.

SCD responded when O'Connor spotted Blackburne in single coverage and connected with him for a 32-yard touchdown. Lichtenberg's kick cut it to 28-26 with 4:06 remaining.

"(All of) last year, Tate only threw four interceptions," Coyle said. "We had two tonight. Coach Hunter did a great job. They had a great game plan and their defense played very well."

O'Connor was 19-of-22 passing for 234 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Cutter was 6-of-16 passing for 102 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

GHS 0 15 0 13 -28

SCD 10 3 6 7 -26

SCD-Morris Watson 90 kickoff return (Harley Lichtenberg kick)

SCD-Lichtenberg 32 FG

SCD-Lichtenberg 46 FG

GHS-Elijah Turner 44 run (Ashton Wilson kick)


GHS-Juwan Johnson 50 pass from Chris Cutter (kick failed)

SCD-Kevin Blackburne 48 pass from Tate O'Connor (pass failed)

GHS-Cutter 3 run (pass failed)

GHS-Sam Lowe 1 run (Wilson kick)

SCD-Blackburne 32 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

                                                    GHS         SCD

First downs                                     19          12

Rushing                                         304         44

Passing                                          102        234

Comp-Att-Int                                6-16-1   19-22-2

Fumbles-Lost                                   4-1        3-1

Punts                                             4-33.2   2-38.0

Penalties                                       17-160    5-50

Friday, September 23, 2010 BYE

Friday, October 1, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Bryan County High School (Away)--Won 35-7

PEMBROKE-Morris Watson rushed for 122 yards and scored three touchdowns as Savannah Country Day defeated Bryan County, 35-7, in a Region 3-A game Friday. The win avenged an upset loss suffered by the Hornets at Bryan County last season.  Country Day took a 35-0 halftime lead and rested the starters for much of the second half.

Watson scored on runs on 6 and 13 yards and hauled in a 43-yard pass from Tate O'Connor (13-of-16, 2 TDS, 217 yards).  Watson leads the city in scoring with 14 TDs and has rushed for 608 yards so far this year.  Including kickoff returns, punt returns and reception yardage, he has 1111 yards of  total offense so far this year.  Senior QB O'Connor has completed 72 of 94 passes (76.6%) for 1,114 yards, 13 TDs and 3 interceptions in five games so far this season.  He is now Country Day's all-time leading career passer.

SCD is 4-1, 1-0 in 3-A.

SCD 21 14  0  0-35

BC     0  0   0  7-7

S-Kevin Blackburne 9 INT return (Harley Litchenberg kick)

S-Blackburne 28 pass from Tate O'Connor (Litchenberg kick)

S-Morris Watson 6 run (Litchenberg kick)

S-Watson 13 run (Litchenberg kick)

S-Watson 43 pass from O'Connor (Litchenberg kick)

B-Albert Chavis 15 run (Ty Wilson kick)

                                  SCD         BC

First downs                  15           7

Rushing                      218         66

Passing                       217         45

Att.-Comp-Int.          13-16-1  3-10-2

Fumbles-lost                1-1         1-0

Punts                           0-0         5-31

Friday, October 8, 2010, 7:30 P.M.
Savannah Christian (Home)-lost 27-12

Despite a game defensive effort that kept the Hornets within striking distance throughout the game, Country Day fell to the Red Raiders of Savannah Christian before a packed house at home by a  27-12 score.

Andrew Moore, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound Savannah Christian senior, ran 39 times for 211 yards to lead Savannah Christian to a 27-12 victory over Savannah Country Day in a Region 3-A (East) showdown at SCD's Saunders Field.

It was close throughout the first half.

Savannah Christian took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when senior quarterback Harrison Curry ran for a 9-yard touchdown and Miller kicked the extra point. The score was set up by Moore's 56-yard run.

Savannah Country Day cut the score to 7-6 on its ensuing drive when senior quarterback Tate O'Connor threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Morris Watson. The point-after kick was blocked.

Savannah Christian answered on its ensuing possession with a 12-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by senior Kenny Katzman's 32-yard TD run with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Miller kicked the extra point to put the Raiders up 14-6. Moore ran eight times for 32 yards and three first downs during the drive.

After Savannah Country Day's next drive ended with a punt, SCPS appeared poised to distance itself with another score early in the second quarter. But the Raiders' Moore ran 7 yards and fumbled. Savannah Country Day senior defensive back Kevin Blackburne scooped up the ball and raced untouched for a 58-yard TD. The Hornets' two-point conversion pass failed and the Raiders maintained a 14-12 lead that stood at halftime.

The Raiders kicked off to Savannah Country Day to open the second half, but the Hornets' drive stalled after four plays. Country Day punted and Savannah Christian took over at its own 42-yard line.

From there, the Raiders produced a 12-play, 58-yard drive that was capped by junior Will Austin's 11-yard touchdown run for a 20-12 lead.

Moore carried 10 times for 45 yards and three first-downs during the pivotal drive. He carried nine consecutive times during the drive. In the huddle between plays, he said his teammates continually asked him if he was OK.

"I kept saying, 'I'm fine. I'm fine.' We've got to do what we've got to do," Moore said. "We were all dying. We were tired, definitely, but we knew it would be worth it if we stuck it out and stuck with it."

Savannah Christian ran 54 times for 310 yards. The Raiders had no passing yards.

"We just couldn't stop the dive," said Savannah Country Day coach Dennis Coyle, whose Hornets fell to 4-2, 1-1. "They did a great job. We knew that's what they were going to do. That's their strength. They just put a great drive together."

Said Savannah Country Day coach Donald Chumley: "That's us. That's what we do. You've got to keep that bunch (Savannah Country Day's offense) off the field. They're dangerous. ... We were very fortunate for our O-line to take over in the third quarter like they did."

Savannah Christian took a 27-12 lead with 10:01 left in the fourth quarter when junior Nardo Govan ran for a 29-yard TD. Junior Mac Miller kicked the extra point. The eight-play (all runs), 57-yard drive again featured Moore, who ran seven times for 28 yards and two first downs.

"Our offensive line is great," said Moore, who has college baseball scholarship offers as a catcher and shortstop. "They're the hardest-working people at practice and it shows. They're a great offensive line. Some of it's me, but a lot of it's the team. It feels good. It's awesome."

Country Day had two drives into the red zone in the fourth quarter, but could not come away with a touchdown.  The game ended when Country Day's O'Connor was sacked on fourth down with less than a minute to play at the Raider 20.  From there, Savannah Christian ran out the clock to end the contest.

SCD QB Tate O'Connor finished 14-of-35 passing for 133 yards and a TD without an interception. Watson had nine catches for 93 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown.

But Savannah Christian's defense limited SCD's star receiver Kevin Blackburne to one catch for 10 yards, which he made with 6:43 to play.  An earlier TD catch by Blackburne was called back on a penalty.  Blackburne did score a defensive touchdown and had a key interception to kill a Savannah Christian drive late in the first half.

"Savannah Christian did a great job of jamming our receivers and keeping them out of their routes," Coyle said. "We were worried about (quarterback) protection. We did a decent job of protection, but they did such a great job with coverage, of jamming our receivers, that it really kept us out of rhythm sometimes."

SCPS 14 0 6 7 -27

SCD 6 6 0 0 -12

SCPS-Harrison Curry 9 run (Mac Miller kick)

SCD-Morris Watson 23 pass from Tate O'Connor (kick blocked)

SCPS-Kenny Katzman 32 run (Miller kick)

SCD-Kevin Blackburne 58 fumble return (pass failed)

SCPS-Will Austin 11 run (kick failed)

SCPS-Nardo Govan 29 run (Miller kick)

                                    SCPS       SCD

First downs                      17        11

Rushing                           310      27

Passing                              0        133

Comp.-Att.-Int.               0-5-1   14-35-0

Fumbles-Lost                    1-1       1-0

Punts                            3-29.6    6-27.1

Penalties                      11-100     5-25

Friday, October 15, 2010 7:30 P.M.
Claxton High School (Home)--won 37-14

Quarterback Tate O'Connor passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more as Savannah Country Day defeated Claxton, 37-14, in a Region 3-A game Friday night. He was named the Savannah Morning News Player of the Week for his efforts on the field.

SCD led 21-6 at the half.

Catching TD passes for the Hornets were Alex Sovchen (3 yards), Ben Johnson (20 yards) and Kevin Blackburne (25 yards).

O'Connor scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards. Blackburne had 113 yards on eight receptions and Morris Watson rushed for 161 yards on 15 carries.

The Hornets improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the region. Claxton is 3-4, 1-2.

Claxton 6 0 0 8 - 14

SCD 14 7 10 6 - 37

S - Alex Sovchen 3 pass from Tate O'Connor (Harley Lichtenberg kick)

C - Mincey 1 run (kick failed)

S - O'Connor 2 run (Lichtenberg kick)

S - O'Connor 1 run (Lichtenberg kick)

S - Ben Johnson 20 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

S - Lichtenberg 31 FG

S - Kevin Blackburne 25 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

C - Gaiter 35 run (Gaiter run)

                                             Claxton                  SCD

First downs                               13                        18

Rushing                                   272                      180

Passing                                    12                        258

Comp.-Att.-Int.                       1-7-1                   17-26-1

Punting                                   3-33                     2-39

Penalties                                 5-50                     4-25

O'Connor Chosen as Player of the Week

The individual effort by Savannah Country Day's Tate O'Connor was outstanding, but the senior quarterback was quick to credit his teammates in a 37-14 win over Claxton in a Region 3-A game Friday night.

O'Connor lit it up through the air by completing 17 of 26 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, and he also rushed for a pair of short touchdowns - earning selection as the Savannah Morning News' high school football player of the week.

It was the first time O'Connor had ever combined for five touchdowns in one game, he said, although he did throw for four touchdowns in a win over Treutlen earlier this season.

For the year, over seven games, O'Connor has completed 103 of 156 passes (66 percent) for 1,556 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.

"I'm a dropback, pro-style quarterback and I don't run unless I have to," said O'Connor, an all-region selection last season. "My line gave me stellar protection Friday night. I had all the time in the world and we had a balanced offensive attack.

"Morris Watson (15 rushes for 161 yards) had a great game, and the wide receivers blocked downfield and ran great routes," O'Connor added.

O'Connor has excellent chemistry with his star receiver Kevin Blackburne, who has 42 receptions for 716 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

"Kevin runs some of the best routes I have ever seen," said O'Connor, also a basketball and baseball standout. "His yards after the catch are incredible. I don't have to throw it perfectly to him; every time he touches the ball he makes a big play."

SCD's Dennis Coyle says O'Connor is a joy to coach.

"Tate has great arm strength for a high school quarterback," the Hornets' head coach said. "He's a student of the game who also cares about being a leader and his teammates look up to him. He makes all the right reads and plays well in the system."

Friday, October 22, 2010, 7:30 P.M.
Metter High School (Away)--won 49-28

The game started out close, and Metter even took an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but the SCDS Hornets rallied from a precarious 14-12 halftime lead to score 35 second-half points and win handily against the resurgent Tigers, 49-28.  Four interceptions by the opportunistic Hornet defense helped lead the charge.

The Hornets last defeated the Tigers 16-12 in 2005, the last meeting between the two schools.  Metter leads the overall series 22-11 and had won 20 of the previous 22 meetings until this game.

Senior wide receiver Kevin Blackburne caught eight passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns  to lead the Hornets.  His receiving totals of 51 catches for 952 yards and 10 TDs lead the Coastal Empire by a large margin.  Blackburne, a First Team Class A All-State player last season, is Country Day's all-time leading career receiver with 2620 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns so far in his career.

Blackburne had touchdown catches of 6 and 75 yards against Metter.

Quarterback Tate O'Connor threw for 318 yards on a 13 of 19 night, with three touchdowns and no interceptions.  O'Connor has passed for 1874 yards and 20 touchdowns in only eight games so far this season to lead the Coastal Empire in passing.  He is Country Day's all-time leading passer with 4573 yards to go along with 42 passing touchdowns.

Morris Watson rushed for 134 yards on 14 carries and scored on runs of 32 and 3 yards. He has 941 yards rushing and 17 TDs on the season (12 rushing, 4 receiving, 1 kickoff return) to lead the Hornets in scoring with 102 points.  With 198 career points tallied (33 TDs),  Watson is currently in second place all-time in scoring at SCDS behind Joey Bell, who scored 266 points during his career.

Also scoring for the Hornets were Alex Sovchen on an 8-yard pass from O'Connor, and Jennings Hughes (tallying his first career high school TD) on an 8-yard run.

The win sets up a pivotal region 3A matchup next week against crosstown rival Calvary Day School (6-2), who upset the previously unbeaten Savannah Christian Raiders 6-0 on the same evening.  A win against the Cavaliers would make the Hornets a #2 seed in the subregion, allowing the Hornets to stay at home for a region crossover rematch against Montgomery County.  A loss would drop the Hornets to third, likely meaning a challenging trip to Twin City to face the once-beaten ECI Bulldogs in the region crossover game.  Although the Hornets lead the series against ECI by a 15-9 margin, Country Day has not beaten ECI since 2005, losing four consecutive times to the Bulldogs during that span.

SCD 7 7 14 21 - 49

Metter 6 6 0 16 - 28

M-Claytt 2 run (kick failed)

S-Morris Watson 32 run (Harley Lichtenberg kick)

M-Eason 3 run (run failed)

S-Kevin Blackburne 6 pass from Tate O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

S-Blackburne 75 pass from O'Connor (Lichtenberg kick)

S-Alex Sovchen 8 pass from O'Conner ( Lichtenberg kick)

M-Eason 17 pass from Claytt (Eason from Claytt)

M-Kennedy 28 pass from Claytt (run good).

S-Jennings Hughes 8 run (Anderson Kemp kick)

S-Morris Watson 3 run (Kemp kick)

SCD          Metter

First downs                                        14               13

Rushing                                            153             198

Passing                                             318              220

Att.-Com. Int.                                 13-19-0        12-24-4

Fumbles-Lost                                     1-0               2-0

Punts                                                 3-39           2-34

Penalties                                            7-35           4-40

Friday, October 29, 2010, 7:30 P.M.
Calvary High School (Away)--lost 35-21

Savannah Country Day struck quickly with its prolific aerial attack to score on its first two possessions Friday night, forcing Calvary Day to play from behind.

But the host Cavaliers never veered from their game plan to pound the ball behind star running back Stephen Williams, and it paid off as Calvary stormed back to beat the Hornets, 35-21, in an important Region 3-A (East) game.

Williams was a force with his speed and brute strength as he rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries to lead Calvary (7-2, 4-1 region) to victory.

"Coach told us our game plan was to play more physical than them," said Williams, who has 1,458 rushing yards and 17 scoring runs this season. "We felt like we could eventually wear them down with the run."

SCD (6-3, 3-2) forced a three-and-out on Calvary's first possession and then took advantage of a shanked 12-yard punt. Senior quarterback Tate O'Connor immediately went to work. All-state receiver Kevin Blackburne ran a streak down the left sideline and beat two defenders to catch the perfectly thrown 39-yard scoring pass.

After another three-and-out, the Hornets put together a 10-play, 57-yard drive. The key moment came on a fourth and 7 at the Calvary 38-yard line when O'Connor threw a precise pass to the left sideline that was hauled in by Chris Geralds for 21 yards. Three plays later, O'Connor took it in on a keeper for a 5-yard touchdown.

But Blackburne never returned to the game after that second possession. He suffered an injury to his hamstring and said it looked bruised at halftime.

"Kevin is our playmaker and losing him took a huge aspect out of our offense. We sure missed him" said O'Connor, who finished 22-of-36 for 249 yards passing with a pair of interceptions and the touchdown. He also rushed for two scores.

Calvary came alive on its next possession as Williams began to dominate with his physical style of running. He picked up 35 yards on the drive, which spanned the first and second quarters. Dominique Henfield finished it off by plunging into the end zone from a yard out.

On its next possession, SCD was threatening at the Cavalier 31 when Dom DeMasi made his first of two interceptions. DeMasi ran back the interception 43 yards to the Hornets' 43.

Five plays later, Williams came barreling around the left end and picked up steam as he reached the secondary, punishing a pair of defenders as he made his way to the left pylon for an 18-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14.

That was the score at halftime, then the teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter.

But Williams got better as the game went on. He cut back to the left after a run up the middle and showed his speed on a 55-yard scoring run with 11:47 left in the game. He later iced it with a 15-yard touchdown with 5:18 left.

The Hornets never gave up. Running back Morris Watson had a great game. The shifty senior ran for 97 yards in 17 carries and also caught six passes out of the backfield for 70 yards. But without Blackburne, the Hornets couldn't keep pace with the Cavaliers.

"When they lost Blackburne, that allowed us to focus on everyone else instead of keying on one guy," said Cavaliers linebacker Henfield. "Our defensive line did a good job stopping the run, and we stayed with our offensive game plan."

Stroud said the win should give the Cavaliers the subregion title, after beating Savannah Christian last week. The teams each finished with 4-1 region records, but Calvary gets the tiebreaker with the head-to-head victory and will host a regional playoff next week.

 "I'm so proud of these kids, they deserve it. Savannah Country Day is a great team. Their offense is so potent that we thought we had to control the clock with the running game to keep the ball out of their hands."

The Hornets will travel to Twin City next week to play a tough 8-1 ECI Bulldogs squad

SCD 14 0 7 0 - 21

CDS 0 14 7 14 - 35

SCD - Kevin Blackburne 39 pass from Tate O'Connor (Harley Lichtenberg)

SCD - O'Connor 5 run (Lichtenberg kick)

CDS - Dominique Henfield 1 run (Luke Stroud kick)

CDS - Stephen Williams 18 run (Stroud kick)

CDS - Henfield 1 run (Stroud kick)

SCD - O'Connor 2 run (Lichtenberg kick)

CD - Williams 55 run (Stroud kick)

CD - Williams 15 run (Stroud kick)

                                       SCD           CDS

First downs                       16             14

Rushing                           106           266

Passing                            249             70

Comp.-Att.-Int.              23-36-2       5-8-0

Fumbles-Lost                    0-0             1-0

Punts                              5-31.0        3-29.0

Penalties                          3-30            7-70

Friday, November 5, 2010, 7:30 P.M.
Region Playoff Game--ECI  (Twin City, GA)--lost 48-15

Country Day's season ended with a 48-15 loss to the powerful ECI Bulldogs of Twin City.  The Hornets, minus star receiver Kevin Blackburne, only trailed 15-7 at halftime.  However, the ECI running game wore down the Hornets as the game progressed.  Chris Geralds did return a kickoff for a late touchdown, and several opportunities were missed in the end zone, but ultimately it was the Hornets' inability to stop the ECI running game which cost them the victory.  The loss ended the season for Country Day at 6-4.  It was the first time the Hornets have missed the playoffs since the 2001 season.

SCDS 2009 Season in review (Final record 5-6)

Friday, August 21, 2009: Scrimmage vs Windsor Forest (Home) - won 22-21

Mallery Pindar hit a game-winning 44-yard field goal as time expired to steal a victory from the "other" Saunders Field home team. Other game highlights included a one-handed catch by Josh Murphy for a first down and Julian Dunston's strip of a Windsor receiver at the goal line, causing a fumble which Josh Murphy recovered to save a touchdown.

Friday, August 28, 2010 ECI (Home) - lost 14-10

Playing against the defending region 3A champs and the 2008 state runners-up, the Hornets took a 10-0 halftime lead behind the precision passing of Tate O'Connor (17 of 23 for 188 yards, one TD) and a 37-yard field goal by Mallery Pindar. Stellar defensive play by the Hornets, led by a one-man wrecking crew in linebacker Mac Viers, kept the Hornets in the game when the Bulldogs rallied in the second half. ECI recovered a fumbled punt late in the fourth quarter and scored a TD with 50 seconds left to take their first lead of the game. The Hornets responded with a frantic rally to the Bulldogs' 30 yard line, but ran out of time and lost a heartbreaker by four points.

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Friday, September 4, 2009 Tattnall County (away) - lost 34-8

The Hornets lost to AA Playoff team Tattnall County on the road despite another solid performance by QB Tate O'Connor. One clear-cut touchdown was waved off by the officials despite photographic evidence to the contrary which was graciously provided to the referees by team photographer Lee Hughes. Josh Murphy did manage to block a Tattnall County punt during the game.

Friday, September 11, 2009 Jenkins County (away) - won 37-18

Running back Morris "The Workhorse" Watson had 361 all-purpose yards (21 rushes for 204 yards rushing, 49 yards receiving, 108 yards in returns) to lead the Hornets to their first win of the season and earn Savannah Morning News "Player of the Week" honors. Tate O'Connor had 205 yards passing in the contest.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 Wilkinson County (away) - won 29-22

The Hornets traveled to Irwinton, Georgia to play the #2-ranked Class A team, unbeaten Wilkinson County, which was coming off of an upset win the previous week over eventual state champion Wilcox County. Wilkinson was a Final Four team from the season before with 18 returning starters and a legitimate Division 1 linebacking prospect in Quayshon Simmons. Tate O'Connor and Kevin Blackburne put on a show to score the 29-22 upset. O'Connor completed 16 of 23 passes for 278 yards while Blackburne hauled in 9 of those passes for 191 yards and one TD, highlighted by a 91-yard TD catch-and-run. Morris Watson also scored on a 54-yard screen pass, and Josh Murphy scored the first TD of his career on a 5-yard power run up the middle. O'Connor and Blackburne were the co-Savannah Morning News Players of the Week. Defensive stalwarts included Cord Glaize and Jennings Hughes, with three sacks each, and Mac Viers, with two sacks and multiple QB pressures. The Hornet defense stuffed Wilkinson on 5 of 6 fourth down conversion attempts, with four of these stops in the Red Zone and one after Wilkinson had second-and-goal at the one-yard line in the fourth quarter.

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Friday, October 2, 2009 Portal High School (home) - won 42-29

Overcoming a sloppy four-turnover performance with yet another offensive outburst, the Hornets hammered the Portal Panthers 42-29 at Saunders Field. Tate O'Connor was 16 of 24 with three TDs, Julian Dunston had 7 receptions for 75 yards and two TDs, and Morris Watson had 157 yards rushing and two TDs on 24 carries. The final score was closer than the actual game as the starters did not play in the fourth quarter after the score had ballooned to 42-15. Prior to the fourth quarter, the Hornets had held the Panthers to under 90 yards total offense. Josh Murphy scored a TD rushing and recovered a fumble to set up the Hornets' first score.

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Friday, October 9, 2009 Calvary Baptist (away) - won 31-13

The Hornets, on a roll, thrashed the rival Cavaliers on their home field behind another offensive outburst (362 total yards) and a defense that completely shut down the Cavalier passing game, holding the Cavs to 2 of 10 passing for 14 yards and two interceptions (and 180 yards total offense). Tate O'Connor was 16 of 22 passing for 240 yards passing. In the first half, Josh Murphy scored on a twisting 17-yard TD run and Mallery Pindar hit a 44-yard field goal after Julian Dunston picked off the Cavaliers' attempted first down play with seconds to go in the first half. Dunston also led all receivers with 90 yards on 9 catches in the first half. Jimmy Brawner electrified the crowd with a 58-yard reception for his first TD of the season during the third quarter to ice the game at 31-7. Jennings Hughes turned in another defensive gem with double digit tackle totals. Massive tackle Morgan Clemm, at defensive tackle, made quite an impression on Calvary running back Stephen Williams with a devastating hit in the fourth quarter. The end of the game was tainted by season-ending injuries to starting linebackers Mac Viers and Zach Crute and backup linebacker Brooks Goode.

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Friday, October 16, 2009 Savannah Christian (home) - lost 55-14

The Hornets looked to end a three-year losing streak against the unbeaten and second-ranked SCPS Raiders, who would eventually go on to the Georgia Dome as the state title runner-up. On the first play of the game, Tate O'Connor hooked up with Kevin Blackburne for a 64-yard pass down the right sideline to the one-yard-line, but the Hornets fumbled on the ensuing play and failed to score. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie. O'Connor and Blackburne hooked up on a 56-yard TD early in the second quarter to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead. However, the Raiders scored on the next possession after a long drive and recovered an onside kick to set up another touchdown to take the lead at 14-7. The Hornets then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Raiders were in business again at the Hornet 33 yard line. After Savannah Christian scored once again to make the tally 21-7, Hornet QB Tate O'Connor was sacked, fumbled, and SCPS linebacker Eric Wickham scooped up the loose ball and returned it for another TD. The Raiders scored again on a long drive right before halftime to make the score 35-7 at the intermission. The teams traded TDs in the third quarter to make the score 42-14. Late in the fourth quarter, with the SCDS starters on the bench, Raider All-State fullback Chris Barnwell injured his ankle on an out-of bounds play that would sideline him for nearly a month. The Raiders subsequently crossed the goal line twice more against the Hornet second string for the final score.

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Friday, October 23, 2009 Claxton (away) - lost 44-41

In a game which saw nearly a thousand yards of total offense between the two teams, the Hornets lost a close contest in the Pecan Grove to the Claxton Tigers. The Hornets struck first on a 65-yard pass from Tate O'Connor to Kevin Blackburn in the first quarter. However, relying primarily on a powerful running game, Claxton answered with an 11-yard TD run from senior running back Jamalcolm Morgan. The Hornets scored again in the second quarter on a TD pass from O'Connor to Julian Dunston, but O'Connor was lost for the season on the play after sustaining a knee injury on a late hit from a Claxton defensive player. Cord Glaize stepped in and completed 11 of 18 passes for 223 yards and two TDs, and Kevin Blackburne scored on an electrifying 85-yard kickoff return. Country Day fell short primarily due to its inability to stop the power running game of Claxton's Morgan, who had 275 yards rushing on 46 carries. The Hornets also were whistled for fourteen penalties during the contest, one of which wiped out a touchdown.

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Friday, October 30, 2009 Bryan County (away) - lost 23-21

The Hornets, reeling with injuries to key players, continued their slide with a rare loss to previously winless Bryan County. Country Day gave up 23 first-half points and had three first half turnovers to trail 23-7 at halftime. The defense tightened up in the third quarter, holding the Redskins scoreless, but the SCDS offense did not get untracked until the fourth quarter. A furious rally in that period pulled the Hornets to within two points, and Mallery Pindar booted a beautiful onside kick to give the Hornets a shot to win the game. Pindar's field goal attempt in the final seconds was wide, however, and Bryan County held on to upset the Hornets 23-21. It was the first win for Bryan County over Country Day since 2001. The Hornets outgained the Redskins 349 yards to 225 in a losing effort. Morris Watson scored two TDs rushing.

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Friday, November 6, 2009 Johnson County (away) - won 29-26

Hopes of a deep playoff run and a possible region title were long gone at this point of the season; the dominance that the Hornets had shown early on against teams like Calvary and Portal was a distant memory. Injuries had taken their toll on the Hornets. The final game of the regular season would be a challenge - a road region playoff game against the seventh-ranked Johnson County Trojans, who were 8-1 at the time and who had been to the playoffs for ten consecutive seasons. The stakes were high: a win would even the Hornets' record at 5-5 and would allow them to enter the state playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, a school record. A loss would drop SCDS to 4-6, and the playoff streak would end.

Coach Coyle asked the senior dads to speak to the team on the Thursday before the game, and Brad Glaize, Mark Dunston and Mark Murphy agreed to do so. Mark Dunston took the job so seriously that he brought a snake with him.

That snake may have been the charm.

Johnson County, playing at Herschel Walker Field in Wrightsville, sported a powerful offense with running back Larry Taylor, All-Region QB D.J. Rozier, and All-State wide receiver Zach Walker. The Trojans took an early lead on a Rozier run of eleven yards, but the extra point was no good. The Hornets answered with a drive of their own, capped by a 9-yard end-around TD run by Kevin Blackburne. That drive was kept alive by left offensive tackle Morgan Clemm, who literally threw running back Morris Watson forward for a key first down. The Pindar PAT gave the Hornets a 7-6 lead. Johnson County answered with yet another Rozier scramble, but the Hornets stuffed the two-point conversion to keep the margin at 12-7. Another Johnson County drive was stymied when SCDS safety Alex Sovchen laid a devastating hit on WR Zach Walker in the end zone, preventing a touchdown. Just when it seemed that the Trojans were about to put the game away, fate intervened: Kevin Blackburne intercepted Rozier at the Hornet 25 with under a minute to go in the first half. Cord Glaize engineered a brilliant drive, moving the Hornets 75 yards in 42 seconds as the Trojans seemingly could not cover WR Kevin Blackburne. Blackburne scored a TD with 17 seconds left in the half, and Glaize and Blackburne hooked up again for a two-point conversion that gave the Hornets a 15-12 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Hornets drove down the field on a series highlighted by a few key third down conversion runs by Josh Murphy. SCDS scored a TD in the third quarter on a Morris Watson run to take a 22-12 lead which held up until late in the third quarter. Larry Taylor of Johnson County then scored a TD to make it 22-18, but the two-point conversion pass was stopped by the Hornet defense. On the next possession, a shotgun snap sailed over QB Glaize's head out of the end zone, resulting in a safety and cutting the Hornet lead to 22-20. Johnson County then ground out a long drive that resulted in another Larry Taylor TD run, and the Trojans had their first lead of the second half at 26-22 with nine minutes left in the contest. The two point conversion was once again broken up by the Hornet defense.

The Hornets answered on the next possession.

On third down, Glaize hit Josh Murphy over the middle, and Murphy scorched the speedy Johnson County secondary with a 68-yard touchdown, escorted by blocker Kevin Blackburne the whole way. The Pindar PAT made the score 29-26, and the Hornets stopped the Trojans on the ensuing drive as Murphy intercepted Rozier's pass at the Johnson County 36-yard-line. SCDS then ran out the clock, stunning the Trojans and ending their decade-long playoff streak.

There were many individual heroes in this game. Cord Glaize was 13 of 15 for 169 yards and two TDs and was once again selected as the Savannah Morning News Player of the Week. Kevin Blackburne had 5 receptions for 38 yards to go over 1000 yards receiving for the season, and scored two TDs (one rushing, one receiving). Julian Dunston had a brilliant defensive game, as did Alex Sovchen and Ham Pirkle. SCD's Reid Wiliamson neutralized All-State wide receiver Zach Walker. Jennings Hughes pressured Rozier all night and blocked a Johnson County punt. Josh Murphy scored the game-winning TD, had a team-leading 17 tackles, tallied four third-down conversions and one fourth-down conversion on offense, and had the game-ending interception. Morgan Clemm had a tremendous night blocking as Glaize was able to stay in the pocket all night. Chris Owens, coming off of what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury, had a key reception on third down to keep a drive alive that eventually resulted in a touchdown.

It was the Hornets' second victory over a top-ten team this season. The Hornets made the playoffs yet again despite losing multiple starters to season-ending injury, finishing the year with only 27 total players, and playing what many felt was the toughest schedule in Class A (five teams ranked in the Class A top 10 and one AA playoff team; only three home games out of eleven).

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Friday, November 13, 2009 Twiggs County (away) - lost 43-14

The Hornets ended their season against the powerful Twiggs County Cobras, a 9-1 team unbeaten in its region. Twiggs County's only loss had been a season-opening defeat against Wilkinson County, a team the Hornets had upset earlier in the season.

The Cobras came out with a power running game led by All-State running back Earnest Butts, and the Hornets could not get untracked offensively. The first quarter saw SCDS on the short end of a 22-0 deficit, and the Hornets went into the locker room at halftime down 37-0, having given up 371 yards rushing. However, Country Day did not fold. The second half saw the Hornets open with a 79-yard drive capped by a Josh Murphy TD plunge. Mallery Pindar then successfully executed an onside kick, and a long screen pass to Josh Murphy set up a Cord Glaize touchdown run. The Hornet defense held the Cobras to only 60 yards total offense in the second half, but it was not enough as SCDS fell to 5-6 on the year.

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Reflections from SCDS parents on the season