Gators Get Physical

Goose Creek's Caleb Kinlaw runs the ball against Summerville during their game Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Summerville. Paul Zoeller/Staff

Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy will probably fret about some sloppy tackling and breakdowns on special teams. But when he loads up the video and watches his offense, he’ll feel just fine.

Goose Creek had three masterful drives in the first half of Friday night’s showdown at Summerville, and that helped the Gators roll to a 34-17 victory in front of about 8,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.

The Gators had scoring drives of 80, 80 and 94 yards in the first 24 minutes, running 44 plays in the first half.

The final drive of the half proved big. The Gators’ 94-yard drive culminated with Dantez Bennamon hooking up with Jordan Barnes for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left in the half to make it 21-7.

“We tried to be physical and run the football,” said Reedy, whose team picked up 366 of its 490 yards on the ground. “We tried to wear them down. Our tailbacks made some big plays and our quarterback was exceptional.”

Goose Creek, the No. 3 team in the state’s Class AAAA rankings, upped its record to 3-0. Summerville fell to 2-1.

Goose Creek scored 133 points in its first two games, but Reedy admitted his team wasn’t tested until Friday night.

“I feel a lot better about our team than I did four or five hours ago,” he said. “We beat a very good football team.”

The Gators had numerous weapons Friday night. Caleb Kinlaw carried 21 times for 182 yards and scored two touchdowns to push his total to 10 for the season. Another talented running back, Tyrik Johnson, carried eight times for 76 yards. His 25-yard score settled the issue.

Bennamon was also very effective. He completed 8 of 12 passes in the first half for 117 yards. He finished 9 of 16 for 124 yards.

Summerville lost more than a game. All-state cornerback Darin Smalls went down with an injury when he was tackled on a punt return midway through the second quarter. He was helped to the bench and did not return to action.

“We don’t know how serious it is,” Summerville coach John McKissick said of Smalls’ injury. “I will have to talk to our trainer.”

Summerville cut the Gators’ lead to 21-17 on Sawyer Bridge’s 22-yard TD pass to William Luck and David Kennedy’s 41-yard field goal with 6:03 left in the third quarter. Bridges was 19 of 27 passing for 212 yards.

But the Gators managed one more drive. They set up shop at their 12-yard line to begin the fourth quarter and marched 88 yards for a score.

The Gators went for it twice on fourth down on the drive. Johnson, who entered the game with a 17.5-yard per carry average, broke loose for a 25-yard TD run on the second fourth-down play with 6:04 left in the game. He appeared to be stopped by a Green Wave defender, but he kept his legs moving and raced into the end zone.

“That kind of deflated them when we came up with the fourth-down conversions,” Reedy said. “It sort of demoralizes a team when they think they’ve forced a punt. But we don’t punt.”

Kinlaw raced 81 yards for the final score of the game in the final minutes.

Goose Creek 7 14 0 13—34

Summerville 7 0 10 0—17

GC — Dantez Bennamon 5 run (Alex Jacobus kick)

S — David Coccoli 8 run (David Kennedy kick)

GC — Caleb Kinlaw 1 run (Jacobus kick)

GC — Jordan Barnes 17 pass from Bennamon (Jacobus kick)

S — William Luck 22 pass from Sawyer Bridges (Kennedy kick)

S — Kennedy 41 FG

GC —Tyrik Johnson 25 run (Jacobus kick)

GC — Kinlaw 81 run (kick failed)