PREVIEW: Blitz Border Bowl V matches Coastal Empire & Lowcountry with series tied at two wins apiece

(L-R) Coaches Ashe and Bonner

If you thought high school football was finished until the fall, think again. Blitz Border Bowl V is this Saturday in Savannah, and it’s your last chance to see the area’s brightest stars go head-to-head against one another in a showcase game set for a noon kickoff at Memorial Stadium.

The top seniors from South Carolina’s Lowcountry are playing Georgia’s Coastal Empire team in the fifth edition of the event, which can be seen live on WSAV-TV. Proceeds from the game benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased ahead of time, online by clicking HERE.

Each squad has two wins in four prior editions of the Blitz Border Bowl. Neither team has ever won two straight. The Lowcountry’s two wins have come by one point each. In last year’s Blitz Border Bowl IV, they edged the Coastal Empire, 14-13. In 2019, they won 35-34. Coast Empire won the first Blitz Border Bowl (15-3) and again in 2020 (38-17).

Team Coastal Empire is coached by Johnson’s Kenderrick Bonner and Team Lowcountry by Battery Creek’s Terrance Ashe.

The Coastal Empire’s roster is made up of Savannah area players and includes seniors from Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) programs as well as Savannah private schools like Calvary Day, Savannah Christian and Savannah Country Day. It also has players from Richmond Hill, Effingham County, Long County, Liberty County, South Effingham, Statesboro and McIntosh County Academy.

Team Lowcountry has South Carolina players from schools including: Hilton Head, Beaufort, Bluffton, Battery Creek, John Paul II, May River, Wade Hampton, Whale Branch, Woodland and Ridgeland.

Bonner was hired at Johnson in 2018 at the age of 28, and when he arrived, the Atom Smashers were coming off a three-season run where they compiled a dismal 1-28 record. In five seasons, Johnson is 17-31 (.354) with Bonner as the head man, but the record doesn’t quite tell the whole story. SCJ hasn’t had a winning season since 2000. Last year, Bonner’s squad finished at 5-5, the most wins for a Johnson team since 2012.

The Coastal Empire coaching staff is made up of head coaches from around the Savannah area. They include: John Ford (Effingham), Tony Welch (Jenkins), Kyle Hockman (New Hampstead), Mike Pfiester (Long), Nate Clark (Liberty), Michael Moore (Savannah High) and Calvin Wells (Groves).

Ashe was hired in 2020 to lead an also-struggling Battery Creek program, which hasn’t finished a season with a .500 record since 2012. The Dolphins are 7-18 (.280) in his three seasons at the helm after finishing 3-8 in 2022.

One of them will be coaching his side to its third win in the Blitz Border Bowl series. Those winning players – and that winning coaching staff – will have bragging rights in the area for the next 365 days.

You can find complete rosters for the 2023 Blitz Border Bowl as well as scores from previous Blitz Border Bowls below.


Blitz Border Bowl I (2018): Coastal Empire 15, Lowcountry 03

Blitz Border Bowl II (2019): Lowcountry 35, Coastal Empire 34

Blitz Border Bowl III (2020): Coastal Empire 38, Lowcountry 17

Blitz Border Bowl IV (2022): Lowcountry 14, Coastal Empire 13

Aggregate Score (4 games): Coastal Empire 100, Lowcountry 69



HEAD COACH: Terrance Ashe (Battery Creek)


Jack Sumner DL

Hart Cushman OL

Jack Troutman K

Colton Phares Ath

Kacey Fields RB

Adrian Lamb OL

Jamar Knight DB

Lamar Knight LB

Carter Bowersox DB

May River

Darrion Perry ATH

Jadien Jones RB

Elthon Reyes DL

Trevor Murdaugh OL

Baxter Anderson OL

Hilton Head

Carter Saleeby – LB

Riley McCracken – WR

Alex Rckno – LB

Chris Marable – DL

Chase Collins – OL


Chandler Lewis QB

Michael Barnett OL

Jailyn Ingram RB

Whale Branch

Jakhi Pusha ATH

Jadaris Garrett WR

Jaylen McVay DL

John Paul II

Jackson Ogden ATH


KJ Holland WR

Jaylin Linder WR

Max Vonhohenstraten QB

Tysen James DB

Jaquinn Williams LB

Battery Creek

Tanner McCracken OL/LS

Anthony Phelan DL

Devin Broaddus OL

Jakaree Evans TE


Orgurian Simmons  DL

Wade Hampton

Grayson Ferguson LB

Alijah Gordon TE

Austin McQuire DL

Nigel Solomon WR


HEAD COACH: Kenderrick Bonner (Johnson)

ASSISTANTS: John Ford (Effingham); Tony Welch (Jenkins); Kyle Hockman (New Hampstead); Nate Clark (Liberty); Michael Moore (Savannah High); Mike Pfiester (Long); Calvin Wells (Groves)

Ty Goldrick, QB, Richmond Hill

Troy Smith, QB/WR, Jenkins

Amarion Scott, RB, Johnson

Jareese Campbell, RB, McIntosh County Academy

Jordan Lovett, RB, Statesboro

Ravon Grant, WR, Richmond Hill

Ryan Lovett, WR, Beach

Javon Boast, WR/TE, Groves

Ja’quawn Singleton, WR, Groves

Samari Dowdy, RB/WR, Johnson

Elijah Walker, WR/TE, New Hampstead

Kahleel Polite, WR, Savannah High

Justin Martell, WR, South Effingham

Timothy Randolph, OL, Jenkins

Jalin Scott, OL/DL, Calvary Day

Joshua Gadson, OL/LS, Jenkins

David Petty, OL, Johnson

Danny Thomas, OL, McIntosh County Academy

Ryland Bartley, OL, Savannah High

Jep Hudspeth, OL, Savannah Christian

Phil Ajayi, OL, Savannah Country Day

Sam Whitley, OL, Windsor Forest

Keysean McCarr, DT, Effingham County

Tavion Gadson, DE, Jenkins

ShaRon McGert, DT, Islands

Jaden Boone, DE, Johnson

Demari Booker, DE, Liberty County

Noah Range, DT, Long County

Jondre Kinsey, DE, New Hampstead

Akeem Lane, DT, Savannah Christian

Terry Simmons, DT, Calvary Day

Troy Ford, MLB/DE, Calvary Day

Mi’Karee Stafford, OLB, Johnson

Lake Linton, MLB, McIntosh County Academy

Alijah Lacey, OLB, New Hampstead

Austin Saylor, MLB, Savannah Christian

Jah’tavion Weickerson, OLB, South Effingham

Keshon Leggett, FS, Jenkins

Michael Ellison III, CB, Johnson

James Summersett, SS, Liberty County

Jamar Joseph, CB, Liberty County

Kaleb Smith, CB, New Hampstead

Jayden Hester, CB/FS, Savannah Christian

John Seidensticker, PK/P, Jenkins

Travis Jaudon

Travis Jaudon is a general assignment reporter for Connect Savannah. He is a Savannah native and host of Hot Grits Podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram, @JaudonSports. [email protected]

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