First Baptist’s Brown becomes youngest Player of the Week ever

Johnny Waters planned to bring Davian Brown along slowly. The eighth-grader just isn’t letting him.

Brown has been voted the South Atlantic Bank Player of the Week for his four-touchdown performance in First Baptist’s 56-16 win at Burke.

The 5-foot-5 running back rushed for a team-high 90 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs in his first career varsity start. He also recovered a blocked punt within a scrum and returned it 10 yards for another score.

“You can see his confidence growing each game,” said Waters, in his sixth season as the Hurricanes head coach. “He’s just playing so well right now. He’s a hardnosed kid. You can’t bring him down.”

Brown scored an 8-yard touchdown that all but sealed First Baptist’s season-opening win over Trinity-Byrnes three weeks ago. He followed that with 79 yards and the game-winning score in the final seconds of the Hurricanes’ 21-20 road win at North Florida Christian the following week.

Waters hoped to gradually acclimate Brown to varsity football but by the third week he knew his budding back needed more playing time. He started Brown against Burke, a game that meant something more to Brown as he has several ties within the Bulldogs community. Brown averaged 7.5 yards per carry, including a 49-yard score in which he broke three tackles and outran a fourth.

“It feels awesome,” Brown said when asked of the trust Waters has shown in him at such a young age.

“And I have my brothers to help and guide me,” he added. “It feels real good. I like it.”

His play stands out on film. His presence and maturity stand out on the sideline. Brown encouraged a teammate to get his “head in the game” following a botched play against Trinity-Byrnes. It was the eighth-grader’s first varsity football game. The teammate was a senior. He asked for the ball in the timeout before his game-winning score against North Florida. Waters was initially thinking pass but instead trusted Brown and he delivered.

“He’s way ahead of most kids his age. I mean way ahead,” Waters said. “Sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s only in the eighth grade.”

Brown garnered more votes in this week’s contest than any player ever from First Baptist, including Clemson freshman Michel Dukes, a high school star for the Hurricanes who Brown idolizes. He’s also the first eighth-grader to ever be voted Player of the Week in the contest’s eight-year history.

Bishop England linebacker Drew Owens finished second in fan voting, 13 votes ahead of Wando quarterback Braden Pritchard who was followed by Oceanside quarterback Sean Cooney.

Fans can cast their ballots at moultrienews.com/potw2019 each week to decide the best performance of the area’s local high school football games. Players from Academic Magnet, Bishop England, First Baptist, Oceanside, Palmetto Christian, Philip Simmons, Porter-Gaud and Wando will all be considered. Each week’s winners will earn an automatic bid into the South Atlantic Bank East Cooper Player of the Year contest at the end of the season.

Hurricane Dorian washed out the Week 2 local football schedule. The East Cooper Player of the Week contest will resume with four new standouts next week.