Thursday, September 12, 2013
Could this be the week the mighty Gators are finally taken down?
On Friday Summerville hosts Goose Creek, a team that has triumphed the last 28 times it has taken the field.
The Gators had to forfeit most of their 2012 season due to dressing out and playing an ineligible player, but that doesn’t change the fact that they dominated on the gridiron the past two years. What has changed is that some, yet not all, of the players who made Goose Creek such a force in the past have moved on.
Receiver/running back Tramel Terry, who was arguably the Gators’ top offensive weapon last season, is gone. The three starters who anchored Goose Creek’s powerful defensive line have also moved on.
Without them, the Gators did not look as sharp in their 2013 season opener. But Goose Creek did still win by a comfortable 56-28 margin over Ashley Ridge.
Last week, Georgia Tech bound running back Caleb Kinlaw rushed for 478 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Gators to a 77-30 win over Colleton County. Kinlaw now has eight TDs and nearly 600 rushing yards just two game into the season.
The Gators also have a returning starter at quarterback and he has been efficient and productive early this season.
Defensively, the Gators only return one starter up front. However, the team has considerable experience at its other defensive positions. Among the returners with experience are four linebackers, including the Gators’ 2012 tackles leader, and cornerback Omar McRae, who had 11 interceptions last fall.
“We will have to play error free in order to win,” Summerville coach John McKissick said. “Right now they are just wearing everyone out. Their skllls players are all good and they may have the best running back in the state. Last year Terry really hurt us, but Kinlaw is trouble so we will have to manage him. We will have to play better defense this week than we did last week or they will eat us up.”
Summerville is hoping this will be the year it turns things around with the Gators. After all, not that long ago it was the Green Wave that typically carried the momentum into the game.
Summerville has gained experience at several offensive positions since the teams met last fall and Goose Creek earned a 49-14 win. In the Green Wave’s first two games of 2013 that experience has shown.
Like the Gators, Summerville enters this week’s contest with a 2-0 record. Summerville cruised to a win over Cane Bay in Week 1 and used big plays to beat Berkeley last week.
Sophomore quarterback Sawyer Bridges has completed 26 passes this season. He threw for more than 170 yards against both the Cobras and Stags. The Wave also rushed for more than 170 yards in both games.
The Wave defense has several of its top play makers back from last season including its leading tackler, Mac McCurry, and top coverage guy, Darin Smalls. Summerville only gave up two touchdowns in its first two games.
Summerville held the Cobras to just more than 100 yards of offense. The Wave wasn’t as tough against Berkeley, but only allowed the Stags to reach the end zone twice and limited the team to 87 passing yards.
Summerville holds a 37-8 (forfeits not included) advantage in the series, but Goose Creek has now won three straight. A 28-17 win in 2009 marks the last time the Wave defeated the Gators.
The series has featured some real fan pleasers as of late. In 2010 Summerville took the Gators into triple overtime before falling 64-57. In 2011, Summerville hosted a defensive battle that it eventually lost 19-7.
Goose Creek enters the game as the third-ranked Class AAAA team in the state coaches poll. Summerville received votes, but has not cracked the Top 10.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Summerville’s Memorial Stadium.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or email@example.com