The Chiefs returned two seniors — Austin Brown and Bobby Flanagan — with a lot of varsity experience, and Riley Davenport rejoined the program after spending his junior year in private school.
That combination of experience showed itself right from the start when Sequoyah defeated Region 5AAAAA champion Lassiter in the second match of the year and won Creekview’s tournament on the first Saturday in March. The Chiefs also rallied to win its first Cherokee County championship since Williams took over the program in 2003.
For an overall successful season, Williams is the 2012 Cherokee Tribune Boys Golf Coach of the Year.
“Experience was the biggest difference for us this year
compared to other years,” Williams said. “Austin Brown has been a four-year starter for us. One of our juniors, Nick Vogel, has been a three-year starter for us. Riley wasn’t with us last year, but he was all-county as a freshman, and having him back surely helped us.
“We expected to have some success this season and to be competitive. We knew we would have a chance at county. We didn’t play a lot of tournaments, but we thought we had a chance at the Creekview tournament, and it was one of the better rounds we shot all year on that day. I think we shot 308 as a team, which is really good.”
The Chiefs’ performance in those tournaments was redeeming for Williams and his players.
“It was exciting to win the Creekview and county tournaments,” Williams said. “I think we were down four strokes after the first day of the county tournament and came back and won, so I was proud for our guys. It was a reflection of their hard work and the quality season we had.”
Joining Davenport, Flanagan, Brown and Vogel as part of the starting unit were junior Connor Deihl and sophomore Lex Lauletta — also the quarterback of the Sequoyah football team.
As a member of a competitive Region 7AAAA field, the Chiefs couldn’t overcome the strength of their opponents at the region tournament. The season ended there with a fourth-place showing of 323.
“Finishing fourth at region was a bit of a disappointment,” Williams said, “but we’re probably in one of the strongest regions in the state. Johns Creek certainly is a really strong team. They and South Forsyth had everybody back, so we knew it would be an uphill climb going into it.
“I was really disappointed for Riley because he missed out by one stroke on getting into the playoffs for low scorer. You can go back and rethink all 18 holes on where you left one stroke out there, so I felt bad for him. Other than that, it was a great season.”
Though Sequoyah will lose its seniors, including UNC Charlotte signee Davenport, Williams was proud of the work the veteran unit put in.
“These guys have been fun to work with for the years they’ve been here,” Williams said. “They come to work every day, and they work to get better every day, which is what we set out to do when the season began. I’ll have a couple of guys back next year who were starters for us and, hopefully, we’ll build around that.”