The Goose Creek Gators have gone from the bottom to the top.
The Gators are the No. 15 football team in the country in the latest USA Today Super 25 poll and they will showcase their immense skills when they host Cane Bay at 6 p.m. today in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Chuck Reedy hoped for this type of success 11 years ago when he was named coach of the struggling program. But, deep down, he probably never expected it.
“Our principal, Mr. (Jimmy) Huskey talked to the (assistant) principals the other day about what it was like here 13 years ago,” Reedy said. “He told them we had the worst football team in the state. We were as bad as bad could be.”
That was then, and this is now. The Gators are No. 2 in the latest statewide poll and enter today’s Region 7-AAAA clash with 37 victories against South Carolina teams in their last 39 games.
The Gators’ two losses were in the playoffs. They dropped a 38-35 decision to Berkeley in 2009 when the Stags went on to win the Division II-AAAA state title. And, the Gators let a big lead get away in a 41-34 loss to Northwestern in 2010, and the Trojans went on to win the state title.
Goose Creek won its first state title last December, and the Gators have made it clear they plan to repeat.
But first, they want to win the region. They are 7-0 overall, 1-0 in 7-AAAA. Cane Bay is 5-2, 0-1. Reedy knows his team can’t be distracted by the bright lights and cameras ESPN brought to town.
“Cane Bay is an excellent team,” Reedy said. “They are well-coached. Russell Zehr has taken that team far in just a short time. They are not the type of team that will go out and do a lot of crazy stuff to beat themselves. We have to play well.”
Cane Bay opened five years ago, and Zehr took over in time for the 2010 season. The Cobras went 9-4 last year.
Zehr is glad most of the hype about tonight’s game has been focused on the Gators.
“We’re under the radar,” he said. “Goose Creek is not worried about us, so maybe we can sneak up on them.”
The Cobras played on local television earlier this year, and Zehr said that was a distraction.
“We never could get focused that night,” he said of his team’s 26-21 victory over Colleton County.
“It will be the same situation, and the game time has been changed from 7:30 to 6 o’clock. Any time you’re dealing with teenagers, a little distraction can be a big distraction.”