High School Football

Wade an unsung hero in Thomas Heyward's run to playoffs

mmccombs@beaufortgazette.comOctober 31, 2012 

There's no doubt in Thomas Heyward Academy football coach Nic Shuford's mind that Bryan Lee Wade doesn't get enough attention.

"He definitely doesn't get the credit he deserves," Shuford said of his wide receiver/safety. "... He is one of the best blockers we've got on the team. Those 30-, 40-, 50-yard runs, a lot of those are sprung by his blocks."

Wade and the Rebels host Oakbrook Prep at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of the SCISAA Class 2-A playoffs.

While Ryan Day put up the big rushing numbers -- 30 carries, 275 yards and five touchdowns -- in Friday's 60-28 win over Palmetto Christian, Wade made what may have been the decisive play.

Palmetto Christian scored with just seconds remaining in the first half to go up 28-16.

But Wade took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to bring the Rebels back to within a touchdown, 28-24, with just six seconds remaining in the first half.

"That was the turning point in the game right there," Shuford said.

Thomas Heyward outscored Palmetto Christian 36-0 in the second half, when Wade had two big interceptions for the second week in a row.

"He's a good defender," Shuford said. "He's playing free safety this year and he's just starting to get comfortable there."

The defensive captain, Wade knows what's going on with the opposing team's offense.

"He's been doing a great job of anticipating," Shuford said.

Anticipation could come in handy this week when the Rebels face the Knights. Oakbrook Prep runs an offense with an unbalanced line and three players in the backfield -- but no quarterback.

"Three guys in a semicircle behind the center, any one of them can take the snap," Shuford said. "You've definitely got to be disciplined and play your assignments. You don't want to overpenetrate because you're not really sure where it's going."

It's a good bet that Alex Hollis will see his share of touches for the Knights. The senior running back, a transfer from Dorman, has 2,104 yards and 32 touchdowns on 171 carries this season. He also has a touchdown pass and a kickoff return for a score in the past two games.

"That running back, he's the real deal," Shuford said. "He's got over 2,000 yards for a reason."

Shuford admitted he wasn't sure how the Rebels would practice for Oakbrook's offense, but the key was to stay focused.

"They'll lull you to sleep with the run, run it 15 times in a row," he said, "and it'll look like the same play and then he stops and hits the tight end on the fly."

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