Ellis football goes back to back
Published 10:21 am Wednesday, November 9, 2022
By Brian Pitts
The Ellis football team was going to put its perfect record on the line at Oak Grove in a tantalizing matchup between two unbeatens in the final game of the season. It could have been epic.
But it wasn’t meant to be. About half of the Ellis team came down with the flu and the Nov. 2 showdown between two teams that were undefeated for two seasons was canceled.
That was a letdown for players, coaches and fans, but you still have to salute what the Jaguars did across 2021-22. They went 8-0 last year and 7-0 this year to become the 11th and 12th football teams in the county’s 30-year middle school history to finish undefeated.
How dominant were the Jags? They won all 15 games by double figures, the closest margin being 16-6 over North Davie in the final game of 2021.
In 2021, they outscored opponents 202-48. The scores: 14-0 over North Davie, 28-8 over Forbush, 14-0 over South Davie, 38-20 over Summit, 28-0 over South Davie, 36-0 over Forbush, 28-14 over Oakwood and 16-6 over North Davie.
Coming into 2022, everyone expected the Jaguars to run the table. They lived up to their advanced billing and bludgeoned opponents. The scores: 40-6 over North Davie, 40-0 over South Davie, 35-8 over Ledford, 28-6 over South Davie, 34-0 over Forbush, 48-0 over Millennium Charter and 36-0 over North Davie. That’s a running score of 261-20.
They were challenged twice. In the season opener at North Davie, it was 6-6 at halftime. No problem. Ellis flexed its muscles with 34 second-half points. In the only other game that wasn’t a laugher, Ellis had an 8-6 halftime lead in the rematch with South Davie. But Ellis proved to be too good, scoring all 20 points in the second half.
This marked the fourth perfect season in Ellis’ 16-year history. The 2011 and 2014 squads went 8-0.
As far as the county’s middle-school history in football, Ellis did the back-to-back thing for the fifth time. South Davie achieved the first four back-to-back undefeated seasons back when North and South each had two teams. South’s seventh-grade team went 7-0 in 1996, and its eighth-grade team went 7-0 in 1997. The Tigers did the same thing in 1999-2000, 2003-04 and 2005-06.
Ellis’ fourth-year head coach is Joe Brunelli. He was assisted by Kendall Chaffin, Neil Cornatzer, Mike Dinkins, Mike Morgan and Earl Forrest.
The eighth graders on the team were Landon Hughes, Max Cornatzer, Tate Helton, Jackson Meadwell, Braxton Bowling, Dashel Desnoyers, Elijah Chaffin, Octavian Settecasi, Justice Little, Easton Sanders, J’seire Arnold, Colt Hankins, Xzavaier Simmons, Evan Helms, Taylor Kimrey, Sammy Angell, Jonathan Hanes, Caleb Speer and Braylon Arnold.
The seventh graders were Brandon Forrest, Cannon Smith, Jackson Strader, Garrett Whitaker, Ayden Chilton, Emily Hernandez, Brady Hall, Zaheim Reese, Travis Andrews, Finley Sink, Levi Block, Carter Hoots, Randy Hackett, Aiddan Potts, Parker Johnson, Bradley Shrewsbury, George Crowley and Allen Moxley.