WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Getting into position, Burke County’s Corey Mayton prepares to punt the ball.
The senior quarterback has been a weapon on both punts and fakes this season, a usefulness the Bears will use again as they face Gainesville in the Class AAA state semifinals Friday night.
“They don’t know if I’m going to pass it or punt it,” Mayton said. “It keeps them on their heels.”
Such was the case this past Friday against Allatoona in the Class AAA state quarterfinals.
Late in the second quarter, the Bears were faced with a fourth down at the 50 up 14-7.
Instead of punting, Mayton and the Bears called a fake, with a throw to Montres Kitchens ending with a 33-yard completion. It was Burke County’s longest gain of the night and led to a crucial three points before halftime. The field goal and a later two-point conversion made up the winning margin in the 32-28 victory.
Earlier in the season against Thomson, a game the Bears won 31-8 to take the Region 3-AAA championship, a few Bulldogs fans in the stands repeatedly yelled to Thomson players. They told the Bulldogs to be aware of the chance for a fake and compared Mayton to the Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow, a quarterback unafraid of powering forward against the defensive front, lowering his shoulder to earn every inch.
The concerns about this “Tebow” electing to run or throw on a fake are always there, but even when Burke County does punt, Mayton has success.
Against Allatoona, he pinned the Buccaneers at the 1-yard line early in the game and then inside their 15-yard line in the closing moments. That final punt meant the Buccaneers had to go 89 yards in nine seconds.
Two non-threatening completions later, and Burke County was in the state semifinals for the second year in a row.
Mayton has honed his punting skills in a couple of camps and also in the backyard, where he kicks the ball over trees. Bears coach Eric Parker believes Mayton can have a future in college as a punter if he wanted.
On offense, the ball is often in Mayton’s hands. Though he shares quarterbacking duties with Donquell Green, Mayton has rushed for about 1,000 yards this season, reaching the end zone 16 times on the ground. He’s also thrown for 1,197 yards and seven touchdowns.
When the Bears do go in punting formation, rare as that might be – Burke County averages 44.2 points per game – there’s Mayton getting ready, waiting to punt.
“You have to honor that,” Parker said. “When a quarterback is standing back there, you know there’s a possibility an offensive play is on.”