Sertoma kicks off high school football season
The pomp and pageantry of high school football filled the air Thursday with the 42nd annual Sertoma Football Classic, the kickoff to the season in The Lowcountry.
The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium was the venue where 14 teams battled on the field on Day 1. There was a different battle in the stands as schools hoped to capture the overall school spirit award.
The award is based on five categories: dress, banners, performance, pre-sale of tickets and publicity.
The heat index was close to 100 degrees when action began, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm as cheerleaders and students posted banners spouting their loyalty and superiority while balloons were tied to the railings of the stadium.
Last year’s final night of Sertoma attracted 11,000 fans, the best turnout in five years.
“We were so excited about last year’s attendance,” Sertoma Classic official John Panagiotou said.
“There was a resurgence, a rejuvenation and we have set the bar even higher this year. We are making it more family friendly while improving the matchups.”
The night featured an intense match-up pitting defending Division II-AA state champ Bishop England against Class AAAA state power Stratford.
“Playing in the Sertoma is one of the highlights of the year,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said. “This year, we’re even more in the spotlight because of what we accomplished last year. It’s a great experience.”
Stratford had too much muscle for the Bishops and posted a 20-6 victory in a two-quarter scrimmage that was witnessed by about 6,500 fans.
In other action from Day 1:
Stratford 20, Bishop England 6
Stratford junior quarterback Jacob Park looked in postseason form as he completed pass after pass against a tough BE secondary.
“He’s pretty good,” Stratford coach Ray Stackley said. “Isn’t he? We have two good quarterbacks. Our strength coming in is our skill positions. Our line needs to come together.”
Jamar Stevens broke off a 78-yard run to set up Noah Shuler’s 1-yard TD run and the Knights’ Michael Simmons picked off a pass to set up the Knights’ next score. Park completed a 10-yard TD pass to Joe Cook.
West Ashley 16, Cane Bay 7
West Ashley was impressive on offense and defense as the Wildcats blanked Cane Bay in a two-quarter scrimmage.
Ernest Heyward opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown while Caroline Cashion kicked a 30-yard field goal.
The Wildcats’ other score came on a Mark Stembridge fumble recovery in the Cane Bay end zone.
The Wildcats are coming off of last year’s 6-6 record.
Wando 14, Scott’s Branch 0
Wando set up its first score by recovering a fumble on Scott’s Branch’s 4-yardline. Cameron Rouse scored on a 1-yard run with 9:21 left.
The Warriors, who went 7-6 last fall, scored another TD 75 seconds later when Kenny Waring hit paydirt from 10 yards out. Dalton Stubbs set up the score with a 50-yard run.
North Charleston 8, Palmetto Christian 2
DeAndre Gilmore scored on a 15-yard keeper to lift North Charleston past Palmetto Christian.
Palmetto Christian moved the ball well, but fumbled on the Cougar 1-yard line to end its most serious threat.
Quarterback J.T Waters had several impressive runs and completions.
James Island 10, Hanahan 7
James Island quarterback Tyler Stubbs threw a 15-yards touchdown pass to Tyler Wilder to give the Trojans the victory.
Hanahan’s Anthony Smalls threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Terrell Green for Hanahan’s only score. Smalls passed for more than 2,300 yards last fall to lead the Hawks to the Region 6-AA title.
This year, the Hawks move up to Region 8-AAA.
James Island’s Matt Tanner kicked a 35-yard field goal for the first score of the scrimmage.
St. John’s 14, Garrett Tech 0
St. John’s quarterback Brandon Dickerson hooked up with Dominique Robinson for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Islanders past Garrett Tech, The first touchdown covered 38 yards and the second went for 20 yards.
Baptist Hill 7, Military Magnet 0
Junior quarterback Troy Harrison scored on a 1-yard run with 7:01 left in the quarter to Baptist Hill the win.
The Bobcats went 6-5 last season and coach Marion Brown had several holes to fill. One of the team’s strengths this fall will be its offensive line. Three starters return: Leonard Brown, Williams Snipes and Kevin Smalls.
Stratford and Bishop England won the school spirit awards for the first night.
St. John’s Brandon Dickerson was the Roddy White Award winner for his outstanding play.