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KERSHAW – When Andrew Jackson faces Region IV-AA foe Central High School tonight in the Class AA Div. II Upper State football playoffs, Volunteers’ coach David Moore said AJ’s chances will be enhanced by solid play from the offense and defense.
If so, look no further than the AJ trenches where senior Gervais Canty will be performing. Canty is a key performer in the Vols defensive line and the offensive front at tackle.
“He plays both ways for us and we look for Gervais to play well each time he’s out there. We depend on him as a veteran player,” Moore said. “On offense, we look for him to make blocks, and on defense, he makes tackles.
“He stays busy for us, and he’s been a consistent performer,” Moore said. “No matter which side of the ball he’s on, Gervais is going to give us his best effort.”
Canty noted he likes helping the team no matter where he’s playing, but given the choice he prefers the AJ defense.
“I like to hit and the contact,” Canty said. “I like hitting and making stops, especially when it’s down to third down.”
Canty, a 6-2, 220-pounder, has racked up his share of hits this season.
He has 43 total tackles with three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a caused fumble.
“Gervais has been a very productive player for us on defense,” AJ defensive coordinator Danny Wright said. “He has played very strong at defensive end and at defensive tackle this season.
“He has improved greatly with his quickness and toughness on the defensive line which has been a plus for us,” Canty said. “I have been very pleased to see Gervais grow as a player and as a young man.”
Canty credits Wright with his development.
“Coach Wright is like a father figure to me,” Canty said. “He pushes you to be the best.”
One of Canty’s sacks came in the Vols’ 16-7 home win over rival Buford last month when he nailed the Jackets’ quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
“That was one of my highlights this season,” Canty said. “It was a big play.”
A week ago in the opening round of the Class AA Div. II Upper State playoffs, AJ downed Buford again in a 36-20 win at Volunteer Stadium.
The win was the Vols’ first home playoff victory since the 1990 season and the team’s first home playoff game since 1996.
“The win over Buford was a milestone victory and guys like Gervais can appreciate it since they have stuck with us,” Moore said. “I’m happy for him and the rest of our seniors to see the fruits of their labors. I hope it keeps going.”
Canty said the Vols need a team effort tonight at Central.
“Last week in our win over Buford, our offense played well and our defense played well and we have to do that again,” Canty said. “We have to play as a team and play together as a team. We have to come out and play hard and play together.
“If the offense and defense clicks, we’re unstoppable,” he said. “The sky is the limit.”
For Canty, it all starts in the trenches.