Brian Stone knew what his senior year meant to the Augusta Prep football program.
Stone was one of 10 seniors to rise through the program from fifth and sixth grades, all under coach Harry Bacheller, and help establish the Augusta Prep name as one to watch in the GISA ranks.
The talented running back and all-around athlete was also the face of that class and emodied what the program and school represent.
For his efforts on and off the field in leading the Cavaliers, Stone is The Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area Independent Player of the Year.
“Every season he’s been in the program from middle school on up, he’s been a representative of our team and what we’re about,” Bacheller said.
Bacheller’s thoughts have become common talk surrounding Stone. He developed early into a quiet leader and leading producer for Augusta Prep, putting up eye-popping numbers throughout his career at the running back and defensive back positions.
He also grew to impact the program and school in other ways by becoming an example for the younger players. He hit the weight room hard and dedicated himself to becoming the best player he could be while making a positive influence along the way, including for his younger brother, Darius, who is following in his footsteps as a potential standout.
“He’s a great student and great kid,” Bacheller said. “I know every coach says that, but he truly is. He’s been a quiet leader. He’s led in the weight room, in the classroom, in the community, great role model for his brother. His family is a great family.”
This year more than ever, Augusta Prep relied on Stone’s production because of multiple injuries that hindered the season.
While learning a new offense that resulted in more plays but more pass attempts, as well as being keyed on by opposing defenses, Stone rushed for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was 8 for 9 passing for 151 yards and added two interceptions on defense.
“It was fun playing with my boys,” Stone said. “The line did a great job allowing me to do what I did. It was really fun being the guy that the team would call on when they needed a big play or extra yards or whatever.”
Augusta Prep entered the season with high hopes because of the large senior class, but things didn’t break as planned based on injuries. By the first round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs, the Cavaliers were turning to Stone for what seemed like every play, and Bacheller quipped that Heritage must have had 14 defenders keyed on Stone each play.
A 42-24 loss to Heritage ended the season and the careers of Augusta Prep’s influential class. Bacheller called it the end of a chapter for the program, and he would miss Stone and his senior teammates.
After growing up on the field alongside those teammates, Stone refers to them as family. He’s now set to embark on the next chapter of his life and career with hopes of walking on for a college program, but he leaves behind the influence that comes from being the team’s true star and role model.
“Every day after practice we would break it down on family,” Stone said. “That’s really what it was this year, because we’ve been together for so long. We really were a family.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.