Originally created 06/26/04

Satcher recovers after senior slump



North Augusta's Brandon Satcher deserves acclaim for what he accomplished off the field this month. It's more impressive than the two-sport excellence he attained by playing in the South Carolina All-Star baseball game earlier this month.

Satcher, also named to the football version of that event, did something even the athletically challenged can appreciate.

The senior, who accepted a scholarship to play football for Hawaii in February, faced adversity that probably every football coach he's had told him the game was good preparation for.

Life hit the young man in the mouth like a determined linebacker. Satcher, an academic standout during his elementary school days, let his grades lapse.

It was too much senior year, too much hanging out and too everything else besides studying. It was to the degree that the scholarship to Hawaii was in jeopardy.

"I don't know why he let it slide over the last part of his senior year," said Buddy Satcher, Brandon's father. "It's really kind of embarrassing to talk about. I bet the jaws of all of his middle school teachers would hit the floor to know he got himself into a mess he had to dig out of."

Satcher responded with the greatest comeback the quarterback ever authored. He re-earned his athletic scholarship with classroom sweat.

"It was touch-and-go and tense for a while," North Augusta coach Joe Long said. "We're happy that Brandon was able to come through and take advantage of his scholarship offer."

Satcher buckled down over the last weeks of the spring and met every academic requirement for Hawaii.

"He should never have gotten himself in the mess in the first place," Buddy Satcher said. "But he finally did start locating his books and coming home with good grades."

Brandon, away at church camp, was unavailable.

OVERSIGHT: The announcement of the All-Area Private School soccer team earlier this month unfortunately included one unplanned omission.

Augusta Prep's Patrick Welch was left off the list of top soccer players in the area. Welch, a team captain, earned all-state honors from the Georgia Independent School Association.

"He's a magical ball-handler in the midfield," Augusta Prep coach Doug Williamson said. "He's a team leader that scored several game-winning goals."

COMINGS AND GOINGS: Richmond Academy baseball coach Jamie Epps recently accepted an offer to lead the Greenbrier Wolfpack junior varsity team.

"He'd done the best job of any area coach over the last three years," Aquinas coach Mike Laney said. "Jamie really turned that program around."

Epps will also serve as an assistant on the football team.

"It's a great place to be with some great kids," Epps said. "This way, I kind of put my name in the mix for anything that might come up around Columbia County."

Epps made a point to mention the impact Westside coach Gerald Barnes had on him, both as a player and as a young coach.

"He's been like a second father to me," Epps said. "I really owe Gerald a lot."

CONGRATULATIONS: Westside standout Austin Ducey took advantage of a scholarship offer from Savannah-based Armstrong Atlantic State to play baseball next season. Ducey will face both Augusta State and USC Aiken in the Peach Belt Conference.

The offer supersedes an earlier commitment Ducey had made to Chattahoochee Valley Junior College earlier this spring.

"This is just more convenient for me, my parents and all my friends in every way," Ducey said.

Hephzibah's Robert Hannah recently parlayed his vast athleticism into a scholarship from Spartanburg Methodist College. Hannah hit .368 with four home runs and 22 RBI this spring.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.