McKissick goes after milestone victory against Warriors
As originally published in the September 12, 2003 edition of the Journal Scene
Tonight’s the night: The legendary John McKissick goes after career victory 500. Coach McKissick and the Green Wave play their first home game of the season against the Wando Warriors at 8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
It’s taken McKissick 52 years to reach 499 wins, and shortly after 10 p.m. he hopes to clinch 500. Coincidentally, the Warriors are the same team Summerville defeated 42-0 in October 1993 for McKissick to become the all-time winningest football coach at any level with 406 wins.
On that cool Friday night when Summerville scalped the Warriors, former Green Wave offensive lineman Ian Rafferty was a senior. He remembers the triumphant occasion. There were about 10,000 fans in the stands at Wando and tons of media on hand. The Warriors had stickers posted everywhere saying “405” and it was a zoo, Rafferty said.
Two weeks before Summerville had lost to Stratford to tie the record at 405. The following week they bounced back against the Stags. There was a lot of pressure to win.
“There was such a buildup every night that week, all the news people were coming around,” he said. “Being a captain, I had to talk to the reporters and it was a hassle, but a good one.
“It was an exciting night when we defeated them. It’s something I will never forget because Holland Postell and I got to carry Coach off the field.”
Rafferty went on to play college football for North Carolina State and played a couple of years in the NFL with the New York Jets under coach Bill Parcells. Now he’s the offensive line coach at Fort Dorchester.
Again this year there will be a lot pressure on this Green Wave team to win.
“Wando isn’t going to just to roll over,” Rafferty said. “They are going to do everything they can to keep from being No. 500.”
Last year, Summerville almost lost to Wando, but won 24-23. This year Wando still has the same running back that hurt them last year, Michael Jefferies. The Wave gave up two big plays to him. The Wave must stop the run.
As for McKissick, he’s more nervous than a hippie in a barbershop.
“I got a lot of butterflies,” McKissick said. “I think I am more nervous than I was when I went for 406. It’s exciting, I would feel better if I already had it, though.”