To say the 2020 Greenbrier East Spartans football season was a strange one would be an understatement.
The Spartans were all geared up to face Lincoln County on Nov. 6 when the announcement came that a Panthers player tested positive for COVID-19, and the game was canceled and the season was over. The playoff hopes East had ended that afternoon as well.
East accomplished a lot for such an unbalanced season. At one point, they scored at least 55 points in three consecutive games, which were all wins. Colby Piner became the 15th player in school history to run for at least 1,000 yards in a season. And the team did it all without the benefit of a single bye week.
Their final record was 5-4.
Speaking of Piner, he led the team on the offensive side of the ball. He ran for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 26 catches for 453 yards and four more TD’s, and to top it all off he ran back four kickoffs for scores for a season total of 22 touchdowns.
Joining him in the backfield was Quentin Wilson. Wilson was the thunder runner to Piner’s more lightning style and he played the role exceptionally well. The senior ran for 795 yards on 90 carries and had seven TD’s. He led the team with 8.8 yards per carry.
Quarterback Monquelle Davis rushed for 682 yards and nine scores. Nate Baker ran for 164 yards and four touchdowns. Levi Wagner (149 yards, TD) and Kaiden Huffman (104 yards) also contributed out of the backfield.
Davis threw for 770 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Davis’ favorite target was Piner, but he also found Christian McNeely 12 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. Baker caught seven passes for 98 yards and two scores. Trey Pondexter caught just four passes on the year for 82 yards, but he found the end zone on three of those receptions.
In total, East averaged 422 yards of total offense. They ran for an average of 328 per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans began the season playing well. However, as the year kept going, the defense suffered as well. Whether it was due to the lack of practice time afforded to the team the last few weeks or just the schedule being tougher, it is up for debate.
East allowed 377 yards per game.
Baker was the leading tackler for the team with 74 stops. He also led the squad in tackles for loss with three. JT Spencer completed 65 tackles (second on the team) and tied for the team lead with five sacks. Kamon Anderson registered 57 tackles and three sacks. Garrett Bennett got 55 tackles and five sacks. Ian Cline (40 tackles) Jarrett McHale (38) and Braden Bragg (29) round out the top seven tacklers on the team.
Sophomore Lucas McCallister led the squad in interceptions with three. He also had 20 tackles. Piner and Cline picked off two passes apiece.
Bennett and Jared Shoffner had defensive touchdowns.
Noah Dotson handled the place kicking and connected on 30-of-38 extra points and made two of his three field goals.
Bragg punted for 734 yards.
The Spartans hope to return to the field in a more normal capacity next August or September of 2021.