Whale Branch running back Joseph Hicks, center, scored four touchdowns against the Calhoun County Saints in a come-from-behind 54-50 early in the season. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Wilson, Hicks, Chaplin named to All-State football team

By Wes Kerr


Whale Branch’s Joseph Hicks and Xavier Chaplin and Beaufort High’s Alvin Wilson were among seven Lowcountry standouts selected to the 2021 South Carolina Football Coaches Association All-State first team on Monday.

Hicks delivered a monster year in the backfield for Whale Branch, racking up 1,129 yards and 19 touchdowns. The senior back was the catalyst of the Warriors’ high-powered offense and showcased his stellar power and elusiveness with a whopping 11.64 yards per carry. Hicks’ speed and strength was also on display for Jerry Hatcher’s defense, adding 47 tackles with 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage, one sack, and two interceptions.

Whale Branch defensive tackle Xavier Chaplin drags down a Calhoun County ball carrier early in the season. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Hicks’ dominant season may not have been possible if it wasn’t for the outstanding blocking from Chaplin. After committing to Virginia Tech in the summer, Chaplin showed out on both sides of the ball this season, paving the way for a dominant run game while making 52 tackles including 11 stops for loss. His phenomenal motor and strength on the line made a major difference on the defensive side, punishing opposing quarterbacks with five sacks on the year.

A phenom on the defensive line for Beaufort High, Wilson helped lead the Eagles to a 2021 Lower State Championship. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior was a monster in the trenches for Bryce Lybrand’s group, feasting all season long with 80 tackles and a Lowco-leading 28 tackles for loss. Wilson had a knack for making game-changing plays, picking up 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries alongside 19 quarterback pressures. His power and determination on the line helped stuff the run and force mistakes in the passing game as the Eagles soared to the state championship game for the first time since 2007.

Beaufort’s Alvin Wilson overpowers Hilton Head Island quarterback Jaylen Sneed in the Eagles’ 38-14 win in October. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Beaufort High quarterback Tyler Haley and defensive lineman Eamon Smalls were named to the honorable-mention team.

Other Beaufort County players honored on their classifications’ first teams were May River’s Garvin Douglas and Jaeon Allen, Hilton Head High’s Jaylen Sneed and Bluffton’s Camauri Simmons.

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