Sports Year in Review
This year certainly had its share of memorable sports moments, but some stick out more than the rest.
On Oct. 26, Summerville High School football coach John McKissick earned the 600th career-coaching win, a 37–21 victory over Ashley Ridge.
It is a feat no other football coach at any level has ever done. Many believe it is a benchmark that will never again be met.
“I knew it was a lot of wins,” McKissick said. “If it totals up to 600 that’s great. It feels good and I’m glad for the kids. Now they can tell everybody they were part of this win and be proud of it.”
Making the accomplishment that much more impressive is the 86-year-old earned all 600 as the Green Wave coach. McKissick recently completed his 61st season with the school, where he has compiled a record of 601-148-13.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ High School Sports Record Book, the coach closest to McKissick in terms of wins is J.T. Curtis, the head coach of John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, La. Curtis, who recently completed his 44th season, earned his 500th win in October of last year.
The win left the team only one win shy of a complete sweep of Region 8-AAAA and the region championship, which it clinched the next week with a win over undefeated Bluffton.
The Ashley Ridge High School Baseball team defeated Byrnes 4-3 on May 20 in the 2012 Class AAAA baseball championship game.
The win is memorable not only because it marks the first state championship Ashley Ridge has earned in any sport, but also because of the adversity the team had to overcome to achieve the feat.
The Swamp Foxes had a ton of momentum built up as they were set to carry the Lower State championship and a 29-1 record into the state-title series. However, the Sunday night prior to the Monday the series was slated to begin two AR starters were arrested for trespassing.
A Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office report shows the two teenagers were arrested after what seems to be a prank at the high school. The players were suspended from the team and missed the entire championship series.
The Swamp Foxes lost the first game of the series, but pulled together to win the last two. Players who replaced the two suspended players in the lineup played major roles in both victories, as of course did others.
In the third and final game of the series, Ashley Ridge (31-2) rode a gutsy performance by pitcher Austin Livingston to the 4-3 victory.
“Byrnes is a great baseball team and their pitcher just kept coming and coming,” Ashley Ridge coach BJ Bellush said. “But credit to our guys, we have preached mental toughness for the past four years and they just kept digging at it and eventually it paid off.”
Livingston gave up nine hits during nine innings on the mound, but kept his composure the entire game. He struck out eight batters while walking only three, one of which was walked intentionally. He also hit one batter.
Ashley Ridge left three base runners stranded in three different innings, including the seventh. In the bottom of the ninth, the Swamp Foxes again loaded the bases off two Byrnes’ errors and an intentional walk.
Then sophomore Jason Miller stepped to the plate and connected with a pitch to send a fly ball into the outfield and courtesy runner Jacob Thompson tagged at third and came home for the game-winning run.
Former Summerville High School standout A.J. Green ended his NFL rookie season in January by playing in the Pro Bowl.
Green, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, was the first rookie receiver in the league to be named to the Pro Bowel since Arizona’s Anquan Boldin achieved the feat in 2003. He is the first Bengals rookie to make the Pro Bowl since fellow wide receiver Cris Collinsworth made it in 1981, seven years before Green was born. The selection came just three days after Green broke Collinsworth’s club record for receiving yards with 1,031.
Pro Bowl spots are determined on voting by players, coaches and fans, with each group’s vote having equal weight. Green was third in fan voting.
Last season, Green became the first rookie with 1,000 receiving yards since the Saints’ Marques Colston in 2006.
Last Spring, Pinewood senior Courtney Angotti-Smith became the new career-scoring leader for South Carolina girls’ high school soccer.
Angotti-Smith scored two goals against Northwood Academy on March 27 to bring her career total to 222 goals. That broke the standing record for career goals in the state of 220 that was set by Bryn Post, who played for Richland Northeast High School.
Angotti-Smith finished her high-school career with 235 goals. According to the National High School Sports Record Book published by the National Federation of State High School Associations, only two female players have ever scored more goals in a high school career.
Erin Martin of Temple City, Calf. has the record of 286 goals and Rachel Alexander finished her career with 242 goals.
Angotti-Smith joined the Pinewood team as an eighth-grader. She now plays for the University of South Carolina.
For more memorable moments from 2012, see the Summerville Journal Scene’s Sports Year in Review Part 2 in the Jan. 2 issue.