Summer is coming to an end for thousands of high school football players across the state.
5 Stratford QB Jacob Park’s ranking at the national Elite 11 Quarterback Camp.
26 Victories for Bishop England the last two years, tops in Class AA.
34 Colleton County’s losing streak heading into 2013.
91 Timberland’s winning percentage over the last five years.
305 Weight of Wando’s Nolan Kelleher, one of the top linemen in the state.
601 Career victories for legendary Summerville coach John McKissick.
1,425 Points Bluffton has scored in its last 29 games.
1913 Year High School League was founded.
1982 Last time a Charleston County team won a HSL state championship.
3,021 Career rushing yards for Goose Creek’s Caleb Kinlaw.
20,519 High school football players in South Carolina last year.
3,500,000 Dollars raised by Sertoma Classic for local children’s charities.
Teams begin two-a-day workouts on Friday, the first day high schools can practice.
But to be the best, high school football players are preparing for the season long before August. There’s spring practice and then summer workouts that involve conditioning in the weight room, sprints on the field, camps and 7-on-7 contests. After the season ends in November, there’s a short break. But soon after, it’s time to get back in the weight room to start the cycle all over again.
All that hard work should pay dividends for Lowcountry teams in 2013. There are many intriguing story plots and impressive numbers to consider.
Start with Bishop England, where coach John Cantey’s team has won 26 games and two state titles in two years. The team lost numerous players to graduation, but interest in playing football at the school is at an all-time high.
Cross won a state title in Class A last fall and returns a group of talented players, including all-state running back Devontae Shepherd. However, the team suffered a blow earlier this week when affable assistant coach Antonio Simmons died of an apparent heart attack. He was only 34.
Jump up to the big boys in Class AAAA and there are three teams with the potential to win state titles.
Goose Creek was poised to win its second straight Division II-AAAA state title last fall. But the Gators’ 26-game winning streak and championship aspirations died when the High School League ruled the Gators used an ineligible player and had to forfeit every game he dressed for.
The Gators also took a big graduation hit, but running back Caleb Kinlaw, quarterback Dantez Bennamon and tight end Kalan Ritchie will make the Gators contenders.
Stratford will showcase arguably the top player in the state in quarterback Jacob Park. He’ll have some firepower around him, and coach Ray Stackley’s defense is as intimidating as usual.
Summerville was very young last year but returns a talented group of players with experience. Defensive back Darin Smalls is big-time and running back Davon Anderson has NCAA track speed. Keep an eye on quarterback Sawyer Bridges, who was the starter last year as a freshman. He’s already committed to play baseball at Clemson.
And, of course, Summerville has John McKissick, the winningest football coach in the nation. McKissick enters his 62nd season with 601 wins. He turns 87 in September.