John McKissick’s coaching philosophy has remained the same throughout his 62 years at Summerville High School.
“I have always told my players we take them one game at a time,” said McKissick, whose team hosts Beaufort at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Region 8-AAAA showdown. “We don’t look forward and we don’t look back. We don’t say we’re worried about the rest of the games. We only worry about the game at hand.”
McKissick doesn’t want to hear about how a victory Friday will be huge step toward the Green Wave’s 36th region title. He knows there still is a lot of football to be played and that an injury, a turnover or an off-night can change everything. He also remembers 1952, his first year at the school. His team went 8-1-2 with its only loss coming against Beaufort (20-14).
Summerville enters Friday’s game 5-2 overall and 1-0 in the region. Beaufort is 6-1, 1-0.
Two week ago, Summerville lost a 28-26 heartbreaker to Stratford, letting a 20-7 lead slip away. The Green Wave recovered last week with a 24-7 victory over rival Fort Dorchester. Summerville forced four turnovers and had three impressive goal line stands to beat the Patriots for the 21st time in 23 games.
Leading the Green Wave on offense was running back Jacerie Ponder, who rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns against Fort Dorchester.
“We’re a much better team when we run the football,” said McKissick, who is seeking his 608th career victory. “Jacerie had two touchdowns and another called back because of a penalty. He’s got more speed than any of our other backs.”
Beaufort posted a 34-27 victory over Bluffton last week to grab a share of the region lead.
Like Summerville, Beaufort managed the victory with a potent running game. Eric Blakeley led the way with 16 carries for 122 yards.
“They have good speed in the backfield,” McKissick said. “They are strong too. We have to lock up when we tackle them.”