The Green Wave Football team has some work to do but players and coaches alike are happy to be back on the practice field preparing for a new season.
Aug. 2 was the first day public schools in the state were allowed to have football practice and Summerville players stepped onto their practice field at 7:30 a.m.
“The first day of practice is kind of like Christmas morning for us,” Summerville coach Joe Call said. “The night before you don’t sleep much because you have a lot on your mind and have butterflies because it’s exciting. You’re starting a new season and these guys worked so hard in the offseason to get to this first day when we can actually put some helmets on and get out here and really get it started.”
Summerville finished with an 11-3 record last season after being eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to eventual state champion Dutch Fork in the Lower State championship game. However, several key players from that squad graduated so the Green Wave has some rebuilding to do.
“Those seniors kind of laid the groundwork for these guys coming up,” Call said. “This year we have a different group and a young group but they have also come through our program so it’s time to see if these guys are ready to step up and fill those roles.”
The Wave will have a new starting quarterback this season but Call is pleased with the potential his young QBs have shown. Rising sophomore Colby Shirey and rising junior Ryan Traylor both had a good showing during spring practice.
While the team lost one of its top receivers from last season, it does return a few experienced receivers and running backs. Brody Hopkins is a returning starter at the wideout position and K.J. Rollins and Derrion Larry are veteran running backs.
“We are working to mold these guys into (a system) that works best with their skill set and helps them be successful,” Call said. “It will look different because we are losing guys like Jonathan Bennett and Andre Banks who scored so many points for us, but we have guys this year who can certainly cut loose and get to the end zone. We just have to see how we can develop them and get our offensive and defensive lines going up front.”
Summerville is replacing a couple of starters on the offensive line, but still has strong experience and leadership up front. Adam McKanna is a three-year starter returning on the line. Call said he and the other linemen not only trained together this summer, they also hung out together.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Luke Taylor and lineman Xavier Davis will be counted on to anchor a group of less experienced defenders.
Getting some of the less experience players game-like reps will be key for Summerville as the season approaches but Call is confident coaches can address that during practices and scrimmages.
Summerville will host Conway for a scrimmage at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at Memorial Stadium. The Green Wave will travel to Hartsville for a scrimmage scheduled for 5 p.m. Aug. 12.
Summerville will participate in the Dorchester County Showdown jamboree the evening of Aug. 16. The Green Wave is scheduled to open its 2019 season at Woodland at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23.