By Thomas Grant Jr.
The “buzz” is back at Irmo High School.
Under head coach Aaron Brand, the Yellow Jackets have worked diligently to revive the team’s proud football legacy.
In Year Three, the team is truly ready to hit the “Gas” on achieving success beyond a region title.
“We do have an impressive team coming back, but this is kind of what we’ve waited on,” Irmo head coach Aaron Brand said. “When we first moved down here four years ago, this was the undefeated middle school group. The group that’s coming up that’s going to be seniors now. So, we’re super-excited about it.”
Brand’s son and quarterback A.J. Brand is back for his second full season as a starter. As he mulled over several college offers, including the University of South Carolina, the younger Brand spent the summer adding muscle and becoming more proficient in his passing.
He received an early gift with the arrival of sophomore wide receiver Donovan Murph. A transfer from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., he possesses the breakaway speed and deep threat missing from the offense since the graduation of Class 4A All-State wide receiver DeAree Rogers.
Senior wide receiver Telvin Smith and tight end Caleb Alexander will also provide targets for Brand. In the backfield, the Yellow Jackets will have another highly touted transfer in running back Jaden Allen-Hendrix.
The former Gilbert standout rushed for over 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. The offensive line has a pair of college prospects in Bryant Hamm and six-foot-six Elijah Williams. Mal Clay and Xavier Montgomery will anchor the defensive line, Jylil Favor has moved to inside linebacker, DeMarkio Campbell will play at free safety and Malachi Smith will pair with Isaiah McCrary at cornerback.
Irmo will take part in the Aun and McKay Classic at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro. It’s scheduled to open the season against Lexington-Richland District Five rival Chapin on Aug. 18 on the road but could end up as the home team depending on ongoing renovations at Cecil Woolbright Field Stadium.
IRMO 2023 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(All Games at 7:30 p.m.)
Aug. 18 – at Chapin
Aug. 25 – LANCASTER
Sept. 1 – RIVER BLUFF
Sept. 8 – Bye
Sept. 15 – at Hartsville
Sept. 22 – AIRPORT
Sept. 29 – RICHLAND NORTHEAST
Oct. 6 – at Ridge View
Oct. 13 – AC FLORA
Oct. 20 – at Westwood
Oct. 27 – at Lugoff-Elgin
(Photo by Thomas Grant Jr.)
Irmo’s Jylil Favor and A.J. Brand at last year’s Aun and McKay Kickoff Classic