Goose Creek's Caleb Kinlaw follows family's Sertoma Classic footsteps

Rodney Kinlaw (back) and his sons Rodney Kinlaw Jr. (right) and Caleb Kinlaw have all played in the Sertoma Classic at Johnson Hagood. Buy this photo

The Sertoma Football Classic's past, present and future converged on the night of Aug. 22, 2002.

SERTOMA CLASSIC

Johnson Hagood Stadium

(Gates open at 4 p.m., games begin at 5 p.m.)

THURSDAY

Lincoln vs. Baptist Hill

North Charleston vs. Kingstree

Military Magnet vs. Academic Magnet

*Wando vs. Hanahan

Pinewood Prep vs. Burke

West Ashley vs. St. John's

*James Island vs. Stratford

FRIDAY

Palmetto Christian vs. Garrett Tech

Stall vs. Colleton County

Ashley Ridge vs. Woodland

*Summerville vs. Bishop England

Northwood vs. Porter-Gaud

Cane Bay vs. Fort Dorchester

*Berkeley vs. Goose Creek

*two quarters

Stratford running back Rodney Kinlaw took a pitchout and raced 70 yards for a touchdown against North Charleston in front of 9,500 fans at The Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium.

His father, Rodney Sr., was in attendance. The elder Kinlaw scored on a 38-yard touchdown run when he played for Macedonia in the 1983 Sertoma Classic. Also sitting in the stands was 7-year-old Caleb Kinlaw, who was there to cheer on big brother.

Kinlaw Sr. remembered two things about that night: Rodney's run and Caleb's words.

“He told me he was going to be better than Rodney. Caleb was saying that even back then,” he said.

Caleb, a senior running back for the Goose Creek Gators, will make his fourth and final appearance in this year's Sertoma Classic, which features games Thursday and Friday. He will showcase his skills during Day 2 of Sertoma when the Gators play Berkeley in a two-quarter scrimmage Friday.

Rodney Kinlaw remembers his 70-yards touchdown well. He used the Sertoma Classic as a springboard to a great senior season when he earned all-state honors and a scholarship to Penn State. He also remembers the pageantry of the event.

“It was a special feeling to walk out on that field,” Rodney Jr. said. “The field was manicured and there was a big crowd in the stands. Back then, it was on local television and it was the only way you could see the action if you stayed at home. It was before YouTube.”

Kinlaw Sr. said playing in the Sertoma Classic was special even if the action didn't count in the statistics or standings.

“I was a different person when I played in Sertoma,” he said. “I knew I was going to have some big plays. We had a good team and a solid line, which made my job a lot easier. I remember that Matthew Bradberry was one of our linemen. He went on to coach at Berkeley High School.”

Caleb, the youngest of the Kinlaw bunch, has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career and has earned a scholarship to play at Georgia Tech.

His memory of Rodney's touchdown run in 2002 is a bit hazy, but admits to making the statement about being better than his older brother.

“We're every competitive,” Caleb Kinlaw said. “We're competitive in everything we do. We don't like to lose or finish second. But I listen to him. He tells me to play every play at 110 percent and that's what I do. He tells me to approach football as if it were my job, and I do.”

Kinlaw has been part of a Goose Creek program that has won 40 of its last 42 games on the field.

“It's hard to believe this is my fourth Sertoma,” he said. “I'm just as excited for this year as I was when I was a freshman. It's a great way to start the season. Sertoma means football season is here.”

The Sertoma Classic is a charity event for the Sertoma Club of Charleston and sponsored by the CT Lowndes and Co.

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