John McKissick is averaging seven victories a year since he was born.
McKissick, the 86-year-old head football coach at Summerville High School, has won 602 games.
But if McKissick’s 62nd season isn’t better than last year’s 7-5 record, the 2013 season will go down as a disappointment for the Green Wave.
With 67 seniors and juniors on this year’s squad, Summerville could be poised to roll in Region 8-AAAA, where several teams are rebuilding. Bluffton also should challenge for the region title, having averaged 12.6 wins over the last three seasons under coach Ken Cribb.
Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester and Beaufort have to replace their main offensive producers, and Colleton County seeks — again — to snap a losing streak that’s reached 34 straight.
ASHLEY RIDGE SWAMP FOXES
2012 RECORD: 4-8
COACH: Kenny Walker (fourth year)
RETURNING STARTERS: 13 (6 offense, 7 defense)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Sean White, WR Donavon Thompson, S Kendall Felder, DT Josh Spigner, DE Kadarius Anderson, LB Tyler Moore, OLB Tyquan Tucker.
NOTES: The Swamp Foxes face a rebuilding job on offense after losing running back Romelo Doctor, who signed with Newberry after leading the team in rushing the last three seasons. Also gone are players who scored 31 of Ashley Ridge’s 33 touchdowns last year. One key question is at quarterback, where juniors David Turner and Chandler Avenel are battling. All-region safety Kendall Felder is back to lead the defense. “Defense is where our biggest improvement needs to be made,” Walker said. “Defense has let us down the last couple of years. Offensively, we’ve got to work the clock and sustain drives, and we’ve got to cut down on penalties. We had so many big plays called back on penalties last year, it cost us games.”
2012 RECORD: 4-7
COACH: Mark Clifford (10th year)
RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (4 offense, 6 defense)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: TE Stephen Baggett, OL Mike Rentz, OLB Mitchell Nestler, RB Josh Roberts, DL Kentrell Seabrook, LB T.J. Watts, DE Jonathan Hill.
NOTES: Coming off a 4-7 season, the Eagles seek a return to the form that led to a region title in 2010. Tight end Stephen Baggett accepted an offer from East Carolina; the 6-5, 225-pounder caught 18 passes for 372 yards and five TDs last year, and also had offers from App State and Charlotte. Quarterback Ben Vaigneur returns after throwing for 838 yards and six touchdowns last year, and looks to run more in a shotgun offense this season. Senior Mike Rentz leads the offensive line, and the linebacker corps is experienced with seniors Mitchell Nestler, T.J. Watts and Cooper McCormick. The Eagles need senior Josh Roberts to step up at running back in place of all-state RB Jaclay Mixon. “We’ve got about 46 to 48 players, so our numbers are a little down,” Clifford said. “But our defense is getting better, and our offense is going to look a little different this year and that will help us. We’ve just got to run faster and play harder than we did last year.”
2012 RECORD: 12-2
COACH: Ken Cribb (fourth year)
RETURNING STARTERS: 7
PLAYERS TO WATCH: DL Shameik Blackshear, WR/DB B.J. Hill, OL Josh Darrell, DE K.J. Ford, RB Gerald Roberson.
NOTES: Bluffton lost 21 seniors from last year’s squad, which went 12-2 and made the Division II-AAAA semifinals thanks to a forfeit win over Goose Creek in the playoffs. But the Bobcats return seven starters and about 20 seniors, not to mention USC commitment Shameik Blackshear (6-4, 235) at defensive end. Record-setting quarterback C.J. Frazier is gone, but sophomore Alex Davis is ready to step in to what Cribb anticipates will be a balanced offense. “The seniors are our first group of four-year players,” said Cribb, whose teams have gone 12-2, 14-1 and 12-2 in the last three years. “They’ve got four years of experience in three years because we’ve played so many games. I think that’s an advantage for us, and our team speed is probably at an all-time high.”
COLLETON COUNTY COUGARS
2012 RECORD: 0-11
COACH: Chris Collins (second year)
RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (7 offense, 3 defense)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Ramon Hall, FS Kelson Crosby, RB Tyler Williams, NG Shamar Simmons.
NOTES: Chris Collins took over for longtime coach Leroy Riley last year, but had little success in immediately turning things around. The Cougars went 0-11 to extend their losing streak to 34 straight games. Colleton County came close a couple of times, losing 8-6 to West Ashley, 29-28 to Beaufort and 26-21 to Cane Bay. Much will depend on the health of QB Ramon Hall, who suffered a knee injury in last year’s final game. If he’s 100 percent and if Collins can find some help on the offensive line to open holes for Diquan Crosby, the Cougars could end that losing streak. “When we came in last year, we were just very weak physically,” Collins said. “The guys have done an excellent job in the weight room and as a result we are a lot stronger this year. We just need some positive momentum, to get that first positive experience so we can build on that.”
FORT DORCHESTER PATRIOTS
2012 RECORD: 5-6
COACH: Steve LaPrad (11th season)
RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: DL Eurndaus Bryant, DL Myles White, OL Nick Tononi, OL Tyese McDonald, LB Kevyn Flores, LB David Govan.
NOTES: The Fort has a solid foundation in returning linemen Nick Tononi, Tyese McDonald and Cody Meree, but must replace its starting quarterback, top two running backs and leading receiver. Junior Kobe Garrett has won the QB job, and Matt Murray is hoping for a healthy senior season at running back, where he’s paired with Nashon Cyrus. The defense is anchored by senior linebackers Kevyn Flores and David Govan, and juniors Eurndraus Bryant and Myles White are back up front. “We were young last year, and we’ve grown up a little bit,” LaPrad said. “We’ve just got to be a lot more physical and aggressive than we were last year.”
SUMMERVILLE GREEN WAVE
2012 RECORD: 7-5
COACH: John McKissick (62nd season)
RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5 offense, 5 defense).
PLAYERS TO WATCH: DB Darin Smalls, LB Mac McCurry, QB Sawyer Bridges, OL Zack Bailey, TE Sean Smith.
NOTES: The amazing John McKissick has 602 victories entering his 62nd season, and might improve that total by double digits this year. With 67 seniors and juniors on the squad, the Green Wave looks poised to improve on last year’s 7-5 record. USC commitment Darin Smalls is a fourth-year starter and leads the defense; sophomore quarterback Sawyer Bridges, a Clemson baseball commitment, has junior lineman Zack Bailey (6-5, 315) and tight end Sean Smith (6-6, 212) at his disposal. “We need to replace our fullback and fill in some holes on the line,” McKissick said. “We’ve got the bodies, we’ve just got to get them right. Our quarterback played as a ninth-grader last year and got better and better every game. He’s a real smart guy and doesn’t get shook up. Whatever happened on the last play, he can forget and move on. He’ll be an outstanding quarterback, I think.”