Name: Steve Sanders
Class of: 1999
Sports Played At MCHS: Varsity football QB, DB, PR, KR. Played under Dale Smallen in 1997. Won the Most Valuable Player in 1998 under Tom Hybl. Played Junior Varsity in 1995.
Sanders was a point guard on the Raider basketball team under Charles Wilkes in 1997-98. Played under Kenny Walker (1998-99), and played on the Junior Varsity squad in 1995-97.
Sanders was a member of the Raider golf team in 1997-1999 under coach Mark Turner.
After his Raider days: Received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in December of 2003. Sanders attended the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2008-2011 where he graduated cum laude. He was the editor for the South Carolina Law Review and president of the Law Republicans.
While at UGA, Sanders was a sports writer and sport editor for The Red & Black student newspaper. Following graduation from UGA Steve continued sports writing for several newspapers from 2004-2007. Those publications included the Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham, N.C., the Aiken Standard in Aiken, S.C., The Gainesville Times in Gainesville, Ga., and the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga.
Steve met his wife Anna, from Rock Hill, S.C., in 2006 and was married in 2008.
Raider Memories: “It’s fair to say I think I played football and basketball during what might have been the low points for both programs in recent memory,” said Sanders referring to the combined football record of 2-18 in 1997-98. As for basketball, Sanders recalls the Raiders finishing with a record of 6-18 in both years; with five of the wins all coming against Oglethorpe County. “I wouldn’t trade those times and experiences for any other. They still are some of my best memories,” said Sanders. “I like to think it all made me a better person, a tougher and more disciplined person.” Sanders continued. During those down times, Sanders learned a lot about character and heart and claims he has made a lifetime bond with those guys who went through it all with him. “Another good thing was that a guy like me, who probably wouldn’t be able to get on the field for most teams in our region, got to play almost every play. I was usually the smallest guy on the field, but I welcomed the challenge,” said Sanders who stood at 5’6” and 130 pounds.
Sanders said that he can remember how much better in football the Raiders were in 1998 compared to 97. The Raiders finished 0-10 in 1997. His Raiders squad had about 27 players with almost everyone having to play on both sides of the ball. “I remember the first game in 1997 against Commerce at home which was my first varsity action. I remember running through the cheerleaders and the banner and hearing the P.A. guy announcing here come the Raiders-in the country accent,” said Sanders. Commerce had a well known freshman that same year by the name of Monte Williams and Williams’ Tigers rolled to a 28-0 lead at halftime that night. “I started at free safety and led the team in tackles-not a good sign when a free safety leads the team in tackles,” said Sanders. During a later game against Habersham Central, Sanders remembers Coach Dale Smallen moving him along with Thomas Munro to defensive end on a night where Sanders finished with two quarterback sacks. “I played outside linebacker against a top 10 Stephens County team. We were down 38-0 going into the fourth quarter when Coach Randall Owens (then the offensive coordinator) put me at quarterback against their C-team and we scored three straight touchdowns,” Sanders recalled.
His final season on the gridiron Sanders recalls facing the Commerce again but this time the Tigers were ranked number one in Class A. Sanders recalls his Raiders leading in the fourth quarter before Monte Williams took control for Commerce. Later in the game Madison County fumbled and ended up losing a heartbreaker.
As for his time on the basketball court, Sanders played under Charles Wilkes and Kenny Walker. “I remember the road trips and playing cards on the bus while traveling to those old small gyms with the team more than anything,” Said Sanders. “I remember coming out of the tunnel during home games in the dark and having the spotlight on me for the first time. We weren’t very talented, but we had fun.”
Sanders’ days on the golf team consisted of playing side by side with guys like Jed McLuen and Ryan Hybl on a team that finished in the top 10 in the state in 1998-99.
Today, Sanders is employed at Fulcher Hagler LLP Law Firm in Augusta practicing business and corporate law, tax law, civil litigation and estate planning. Sanders passed the Georgia Bar exam this past summer.
As for his playing days at Madison County; “I hope people respected the way I played and I hope I inspired some undersized kid in the stands to play,” said Sanders.