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Gray Collegiate War Eagles in 2021 football state championship: How they got there

·5 min read

A look at how Gray Collegiate got to this week’s Class 2A S.C. high school football state championship game. The War Eagles will play Silver Bluff in the title game at 7 p.m. Friday at Benedict College’s Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

TEAM HISTORY

Gray Collegiate doesn’t have the history or tradition yet of the other schools playing for championships this weekend. The school was founded in 2010 as Gray Military Academy and was renamed Gray Collegiate in 2014. The school wasn’t eligible for the playoffs until 2016 after a two-year waiting period from the S.C. High School League. Gray is one of 11 public charter and four private schools that compete in the SCHSL, which is largely made up of traditional public schools. Gray won its first region title in 2018 and advanced to state semifinals twice before advancing to its first state championship this season.

STAR FOOTBALL ALUMS

In its short period, Gray has produced some Division I talent, including quarterback Hunter Helms (Clemson), Omarion Dollison (South Florida), Chris Rhone (Coastal Carolina) and Dallaz Corbitt (Central Florida).

HEAD COACH

Adams Holmes was hired in 2014 and is the only coach in school history. Prior to coming to Gray, he coached at Orangeburg Prep from 2008-13 and is 96-65 during his 14 years as a head coach. Holmes also was an assistant coach at Hammond from 2003-07. He played college football at South Carolina from 1997-2001 and was a member of Gamecocks’ two Outback Bowl championship teams.

THIS YEAR’S TOP WAR EAGLES

QB Tre Robinson: Two-year starter has thrown for 811 yards and rushed for 444 with 15 total touchdowns

RB KZ Adams: Four-year starter, Mr. Football finalist and Georgia State commit has put together one of the greatest seasons in state history. Has rushed for what is believed to be a state record 3,035 yards and 39 total touchdowns. He also is a starter at defensive back.

WR/DB Devin Johnson: Leads the team with 42 catches for 607 yards and five touchdowns. He also is tops on the team with five interceptions.

LB Zach Glenn: Leads the War Eagles with 157 tackles.

LB/S Tory Kelly: Third on the team with 123 tackles.

DE Savien Jones: Leads team with eight sacks.

THE 2021 SEASON

Aug. 20: Gray Collegiate 26, Camden 6: KZ Adams ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns as Gray defeated the defending Class 3A Lower State champions.

Aug. 27: Gray Collegiate 33, Oceanside Collegiate 22: Tre Robinson threw two touchdowns as the War Eagles defeated their sister school for the third straight year.

Sept. 2: Gray Collegiate 42, Legion Collegiate 0: KZ Adams rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns as the War Eagles won the game played in Gastonia, North Carolina.

Sept. 10: Gray Collegiate 28, Ridge View 18: KZ Adams ran for three touchdowns and caught another as the War Eagles notched one of the biggest wins in school history. It was Gray’s first win over a Class 5A program. Ridge View came into the game ranked No. 5 in the state’s largest classification.

Sept. 24: Gray Collegiate 38, Gaffney 35: The War Eagles nearly notched their second straight win over a ranked Class 5A opponent. Gray missed a game-tying 47-yard field goal with two seconds left. Gray trailed 38-21 with seven minutes before scoring twice to pull within 38-35. Tre Robinson had a TD run and pass in that stretch. KZ Adams ran it 41 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns.

Oct. 1: Gray Collegiate 42, Batesburg-Leesville 0: KZ Adams rushed for 270 yards, two touchdowns and also had a 75-yard punt return as the War Eagles won their region opener. Quarterback Tre Robinson added two TD passes and Caleb Ford also rushed for a TD.

Oct 8: Gray Collegiate 50, Columbia 0: Quarterback Riley Staton threw for 223 yards and three TDs in place of starting quarterback Tre Robinson. KZ Adams finished with 153 yards and Caleb Ford had 130 and the two combined for four touchdowns.

Oct. 15: Gray Collegiate 20, Saluda 6: KZ Adams rushed for 220 yards and a TD as the War Eagles won the battle of Region 3-2A leaders. Tre Robinson ran for 108 yards and two scores.

Oct. 22: Gray Collegiate wins by forfeit over Eau Claire: The War Eagles picked up a region win when the Shamrocks didn’t have enough players available for the game.

Oct. 29: Gray Collegiate 56, Newberry 29: KZ Adams rushed for 316 yards and six touchdowns as the War Eagles won the Region 3-2A championship.

Nov. 5 Gray Collegiate 63, North Central 0: KZ Adams rushed for 254 yards and five touchdowns in the first half as the War Eagles won their playoff opener. Riley Staton threw two touchdowns and Devin Johnson also had two TDs.

Nov. 12: Gray Collegiate 58, Crescent 0: KZ Adams rushed for 247 yards and four touchdowns and Gray’s defense held Crescent to less than 100 yards. Riley Staton threw for two touchdowns and Tre Robinson had one for the War Eagles.

Nov. 19: Gray Collegiate 31, Abbeville 15: KZ Adams rushed for 322 yards and three touchdowns as Gray won the battle of top ranked teams in Class 2A. Abbeville was the defending state champion and came into the game ranked No. 1 and Gray was No. 2. Tre Robinson had 131 yards on seven carries, including a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Nov. 26: Gray Collegiate 35, Newberry 28: KZ Adams rushed for 260 yards and two touchdowns as Gray earned a trip to its first state championship game. Devin Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Tre Robinson had two TD runs.

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