Two programs with strong tradition met at McKissick Field Aug. 18 to kick off the football season.

Spartanburg, which has experienced a lot of success on the gridiron over the years, took on Summerville, a school that has received national acclaim for its football program. Both teams had aspirations for a deep playoff run so fans both near and far were anxious to see how the 2017 edition of the Green Wave would handle the Vikings. The two powerhouses didn’t disappoint as they battled for four quarters in a thrilling game that featured multiple lead changes and wasn’t decided until the closing minutes, which is why the Green Wave’s performance that evening is the Summerville Communications Team Performance of the Year.

Summerville and Spartanburg combined for 81 points as the Green Wave edged out the Vikings 41-40. The Wave leaned heavily on senior running back Darryl Hancock, who rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

“We are tough in the running game,” Summerville coach Joe Call said. “I thought we got a little heavy handed there, but we were wearing them out. If it’s working, keep doing it.”

As the two offenses exchanged blows early and often, it began to look like the team that had the ball last would win. The game also featured some blows after the whistle that led to ejections. After Spartanburg ran the ball into the end zone for the final score of the first half, there was a short brawl the led to players from both teams being ejected.

With 5:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, Hancock capped a 72-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown run to give Summerville a 41-34 lead with Garrett Quakenbush’s extra-point kick.

Spartanburg charged up field only to have a scoring attempt thwarted when Summerville defensive back Marquis Leslie made an interception. It seemed Summerville would just need to continue to rely on the legs of Hancock, Andre Banks and quarterback Jonathan Bennett to run out the clock, but a fumble gave the Vikings another chance.

Spartanburg recovered the loose ball at the Summerville 4 and scored on a run by tight end Tommy Washington, who entered the game at QB multiple times for key plays. The Vikings decided to go for a two-point conversion, but Washington was stopped short of the goal line to leave Summerville with a 41-40 lead with only 2:15 remaining.

“Well we never gave up, but I don’t like the way we responded in some really tough situations tonight,” Spartanburg coach Chris Miller said. “We missed a block on that (conversion play) and he still ran it down to the one-foot line.”

Banks secured the ensuing onside kick and Summerville then ran out the clock.

Spartanburg set the tone for the game when BJ Roseburgh received the opening kickoff and returned it down the left sideline into the end zone.

Summerville then mounted a 71-yard scoring drive that featured some key runs by Bennett and was capped by a 35-yard TD run by Hancock.

Linebacker Colby Taylor made an interception to set up the Wave’s next score, a 25-yard field goal from Quakenbush.

The Vikings regained the lead late in the first quarter on a 61-yard TD pass from Keonte Cartledge to Maurice Wedman. Summerville responded with a long drive capped by a 5-yard scoring run by Hancock.

After a 45-yard TD run by Spartanburg’s Damyjai Foster, Summerville took advantage of a short field it received when Karrson Limehouse secured a pooch kick. The Wave drove 57 yards to take a 24-20 lead on a one-yard TD run by Bennett.

But the lead didn’t hold as Washington set up a one-yard TD run by Foster with a 35-yard reception. As Foster crossed the goal line, there was a scrum in the end zone, which led to some pushing, pulling and a couple of helmets being pulled off. After the penalties were sorted out, the game continued and Spartanburg carried a 27-24 lead into the half.

The teams opened the third quarter by again swapping scores. Summerville put points on the board with a 27-yard field goal from Quakenbush and Spartanburg scored on a 12-yard run. After two possession changes, Summerville sustained a 71-yard scoring drive that featured three passes. Bennett’s final pass went to Olin McCurry, who had his helmet ripped off with a helmet to helmet blow after the catch. Spartanburg was penalized for the hit and received an unsportsmanlike penalty for something that happened after the tackle. That moved the ball inside the 10-yard line.

Hancock punched the ball in from the 3 and with the extra-point kick the team’s entered the final quarter knotted up 34-34.

Bennett completed nine of 16 pass attempts for 115 yards and rushed for 71 yards. Shaq Davis led the Green Wave receivers with three receptions for 58 yards and Banks had four catches for 42 yards. McCurry had 85 yards of kick returns.