Friday, November 15, 2013
If the regular-season game between Summerville and Ashley Ridge is any indication, fans can expect just about anything from this week’s rematch at Memorial Stadium.
Summerville (9-2) hosts Ashley Ridge (4-7) at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the opening round of the Class AAAA Division 1 playoffs. The winner advances to the second round while the season will end for the other team.
When the cross-town rivals met on Nov. 1 the game turned into a shootout that featured a safety, 99-yard kickoff return, three turnovers and three failed conversion plays. Summerville jumped ahead but had to withstand a fourth-quarter Ashley Ridge rally before pulling out a 39-33 victory.
Summerville coach John McKissick is expecting another gutsy performance from the Swamp Foxes this week.
“Ashley Ridge can be tough,” McKissick said. “They are a good offensive team and they are playing better defense than they did early in the season. Their running back is as good as any we have faced and they have some receivers with great speed who can also hurt you on special teams.”
Ashley Ridge tailback Tyler Garland gashed the Green Wave defense early in the first game and finished with a pair of touchdowns. He enters the rematch with 193 carries for 997 yards and 10 TDs.
Sean White is the other main rushing threat for the Swamp Foxes, but QB Chandler Avenel has had some big gains over the past three weeks. White currently has 317 rushing yards and four TDs on 60 carries.
Avenel has completed 102 of 192 pass attempts this season for 1,466 yards and nine TDs. He has multiple targets that have challenged defenses all season. Dashaun Santiago has 23 receptions on the year for 484 yards and five TDs and Donavan Thompson has 33 receptions for 455 yards and three TDs. White and Matt Linton have also been heavily involved with Ashley Ridge’s passing attack.
While the Swamp Foxes yielded a lot of points early in the season, their defense has improved. In a losing effort last week, Ashley Ridge held Fort Dorchester to two scores.
Tyler Moore was the heavy hitter for the Swamp Foxes in that game and finished with 18 tackles. Defensive back Kendall Felder had an interception in the game.
But the defense will have its hands full against Summerville.
The Green Wave also poses a dual threat. Wave QB Sawyer Bridges has completed 126 of 270 pass attempts for 1,782 yards and 16 TDs while his team has rushed for 2, 217 yards and 26 TDs.
Sophomore running back Chris Felder had a strong effort in the first game against Ashley Ridge, rushing for 167 yards and two TDs on 26 carries. With 454 yards and eight TDs on the ground, he is Summerville’s second leading rusher for the season. Jacerie Ponder has been injured the past couple of weeks, but has 783 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs on the year. Darrell Ford and David Coccoli are also productive rushers for the Wave.
Bridges has spread his passes around this season. Sean Smith, Johnston McCurry and Donnell Bryan all have more than 50 receptions. Senior William Luck and freshman Cameron Burnette haven’t received as many touches, but are capable receivers.
But the true challenge for Ashley Ridge this week may be contending with Summerville’s defense. The Green Wave has two shutouts this season and has held six other opponents to 21 points or less.
Junior linebacker Mac McCurry generally leads the charge on that side of the ball. He has 186 tackles on the season, including 110 solo. He and junior linemen Kawuan Cox and Dwayne Pierce have combined for 46 QB hurries and 11 sacks this season.
Summerville also has 12 interceptions this year. Kevin Dickinson has a team-high three while Chad Wood, Cody Soto and Joshua Orr all have two picks.