Rusty Charpia is no stranger to being around winning football programs.
Charpia played for and was an assistant for father Reed Charpia, who won more than 200 games in his career.
Now with the roles reversed, the younger Charpia is trying to resurrect the Brookland-Cayce program. The Bearcats won two games the season before he took over in 2010, but are having a breakout year in his sixth year with the school.
Brookland-Cayce defeated previously unbeaten Gilbert, 35-18, on Friday to win the school’s first region title since 2003. The Bearcats moved up to No. 4 in this week’s SC Sportswriters poll and were named The State’s Team of the Week.
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“I am still trying to come down from (Friday’s win),” Rusty Charpia said before Monday’s practice. “I’d be lying if I would say I wasn’t happy to come out on top. Our guys played hard. We are excited and just happy to have some more games and get the program to something where we can do it quite often. That’s the goal.”
B-C has been building to this moment with a pair of six-win seasons under Charpia. Last year, the Bearcats won their first playoff game since 2004 when they upset Hanahan on the road in the first round.
Brookland-Cayce (8-1) has one more regular-season game on Friday at Edisto before opening the playoffs at home Nov. 18. The Bearcats haven’t won nine games in a season since 2004, and have only one 10-win season (1966).
“I came from a losing school and I am surrounded by winners. I never thought we’d do it,” said receiver Marquis McCoy, a transfer from Columbia High. “I love this team. I am surrounded by a bunch of ballers. It is a bond and we are a family and we ready to hunt on the field.”
McCoy has been one of the sparks on offense and is the team’s leading receiver. He had a 45-yard TD pass last week. Quarterback Reed Charpia is in his second year as starter and has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,490 yards. He also makes his share of plays in the running game, along with leading rusher Rasheed Taylor.
Defensively, the Bearcats are strong up front, led by Shrine Bowler and Coastal Carolina commit Tay Pringle at defensive tackle, and have done a great job creating turnovers for the offense. B-C has forced 34 turnovers and has a plus-20 turnover margin this season. The Bearcats scored eight defensive touchdowns this season, including returning two interceptions for scores last week against Gilbert.
“It was incredible.” said defensive back Dominick Perry, who leads the team with six interceptions and returned one for a TD last week. “Everyone was in their spots and doing what they were supposed to do. Everybody was doubting us that we weren’t going to beat Gilbert. We just pulled it out.”