The Summerville football team can make history tonight, but it’s history the Green Wave would like to avoid.
Summerville has never started a season with an 0-2 record in coach John McKissick’s 61 years as coach. The Green Wave lost a 10-3 decision to Cane Bay in the season opener and faces a tough test against Berkeley in a 7:30 p.m. showdown at McKissick Field.
It’s rare for the Green Wave to have a slow start. The 1957 team tied James Island in the opener and then lost the next two games. The next year, the Green Wave started with two ties and lost the third game of the season. In 1965, Summerville lost the season opener, tied St. Andrews the next week and lost to Georgetown to start 0-2-1. Other than that, Summerville starts have been fast.
Berkeley also lost its season opener, a 21-0 decision to Stratford. It marked the Stags’ eighth loss in their last 12 game heading into today’s game, which is one of the longest and most intense rivalries in the state.
“I think you have two teams that are struggling,” Berkeley coach Jeff Cruce said. “Both teams had their chances last week, but turnovers killed them. Both teams need a win. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”
Summerville outgained Cane Bay, 264 to 240 yards, but three fumbles and an interception decided the contest.
“We had a first down and fumbled the dang football on the 1-foot line,” McKissick said. “And we fumbled it on the 3-yard line. We had too many turnovers and penalties. On offense, our left tackle, right guard, tight end and fullback are our only returning starters. We’re just as young on defense. We’re what you call a green Green Wave.”
Berkeley was 4-7 last year, its first losing record in 19 years. The team was young with numerous sophomores in the starting lineup.
Last year, Parker Cleveland kicked two field goals and Dalton Saunders threw a 65-yard touchdown pass as Summerville broke open a scoreless battle for a 13-0 victory over Berkeley.
The Stags, who last week wore gold jerseys for the first time in a decade, were blanked by the Knights for the second straight year. Down 14-0 in the third quarter, Berkeley moved the ball to the Stratford 11, but a pair of sacks and a fumble pushed the Stags back to the 29-yard line where they turned the ball over on downs.
“Mistakes killed us,” Cruce said. “No one stopped us. We stopped ourselves, especially inside the 20s I’ve never had a situation like this in all my days as a coach. We worked hard to correct our mistakes. It should be a good game. It should be a fun game.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil.