2023 Football Preview: Gaffney
The Gaffney Indians have treated their fans to a 2 year run that is what’s expected out of one of the top programs in South Carolina. A state championship in 2021 and a Region Title with a Upper State Championship appearance in 2022 have brought excitement and high expectations for 2023.
This season though will bring a new QB as Grayson Loftis, who threw for over 3000 yards in 2022, has graduated and now is a Duke Blue Devil. There was some concern about who would take the snaps for the Indians but a late transfer has calmed those nerves. Former Gray Collegiate QB Riley Staton has moved into the area and is QB1 following spring practice. The 6’3’’ 195 pound Senior threw for over 2100 yards and 24 TDs last season.
Staton won’t have Gaffney’s top WR from 2022 back as Shuga Jefferies and has graduated. Sr Drew Medley, Sr Emazon Littlejohn, who had 60 catches for 684 yards last season, and incoming transfer Stone Fuerry will be the top 3 targets. Another thing the Indians do have back is both their starting RBs, Sr Quashon Tate and Soph Jaiden McDowell. The 2 combined for over 1500 yards and McDowell had 7 TDs as a Freshman while Tate had 9 of his own.
The Indians will have to replace a lot on both lines of scrimmage. 3 starters each on the OL and DL have graduated including one of the top DEs in the state Nathan Johnson. Junior Josh Corry and Sr Caron Foster will start at DE for Gaffney. NT Sherman Tate who is close to 275 lbs is entering in his Junior year and started as a Sophomore.
The Indians lost one of the best players I saw all of last year, Sr OLB Brayshawn Littlejohn and while there’s questions at OLB, there’s not in the middle as rising Junior Clay Cook is back. Cook is extremely quick and has natural instincts in the middle of that Defense.
Gaffney lost both starting CBs in Tre Smith (4 Ints) and Tim McGill. Head Coach Dan Jones will put Sr Crystan Ellis and Jr Viable Robb in their spots. Starting Safety Kaliber Hoey has also graduated but Sr King Dowdle is back, he’s one of the best Safeties in the Upstate.
Another very challenging schedule awaits the Indians as they look to win the toughest Region in the State for the 2nd year in a row, but it’s Gaffney – expectations come with the job, and there’s always talent to choose from.