The Greenville Christian School football team has answered all the challenges it has faced for over a year now, but Friday night the Saints will have their toughest test yet.
The Saints will drive to Georgia to take on Collins Hill High School. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be played at Milton High School in Georgia as part of the Freedom Bowl Championship Series.
On paper, despite all the accolades earned by GCS, Collins Hill looks to be the favorite.
Collins Hill plays in the highest level of Georgia football (Class 7A) and is the No. 1 ranked team in the Atlanta Journal Constitution rankings.
“We are going across state lines, and all we really know is that Georgia football is good and this is probably the best team in the state of Georgia. It’s hard to know what is going to happen,” GCS coach Jon Reed McLendon said. “They are ranked No. 1 in Georgia, and we have been ranked No. 1 in Mississippi.”
The Eagles are loaded with Division 1 level talent, and they have one of the top ranked players in the country in wide receiver Travis Hunter, a Florida State commit. Hunter is 247Sports.com’s No. 1 ranked recruit nationally in the Class of 2022. Last year, he broke Gwinnett County high school record when he caught 137 catches for 1,746 yards and 24 touchdowns.
“I think with a kid like Travis Hunter that our best shot is just for our kids to do our best,” Greenville Christian coach Jon Reed McLendon said. “He is super good, and our game plan is to hopefully score enough so he can not win the game by himself.”
Despite the tough task in front of them, Coach McLendon expects his Saints to maintain the same swagger they have started with this season. The Saints (3-0) began the season by soundly knocking off two of the biggest programs in the state of Mississippi. On Aug. 13, they defeated Madison-Ridgeland 64-32. On Aug. 20, they defeated Jackson Prep. 48-13
“Our players are confident, and we always bring a swagger into each game. I expect us to maintain that confidence when we play Friday,” McLendon said.
The Saints are playing Friday night’s game not just to see how they stack up against the best, but they also want to play on this stage so college coaches can see just how good they are.
Greenville Christian Saints DJ Smith, JD Stewart, Jaterrious Elam, Marlon Palmer, Vaheim Grant, Vamario McGee, Chris Bell, Daishun Scott and Octavius Robinson have all already received scholarship offers.
“One of the reasons we are absolutely playing this game is to give our kids unbelievable exposure,” McLendon said. “No matter what, it is going to be a great experience.”