Remember the good old days when Goose Creek football wasn't so good?
It seems like an eternity ago that the Gators won only 11 games in a six-year stretch, including an 0-11 mark in 2001 B.C. -- Before Chuck.
Chuck Reedy took over the program in time for the 2002 season and has turned the program into one of the best in the state. The former Clemson assistant and Baylor University head coach has the respect of his players, the community and the recruiters who come calling to his office at Goose Creek High School.
The Gators are 12-1 heading into today's Division II-AAAA state semifinal against North Augusta and are loaded with talent, especially in the junior class. The Gators have five juniors who have the potential to play major college football and that includes Gerald Turner, a 6-2, 245-pound defensive end who already has offers from Clemson and South Carolina.
He just might be the poster boy of the Goose Creek football program. Turner started lifting weights in the seventh grade and makes an effort in the classroom, two requirements Reedy insists on from his players. He might not be as high profile as classmate Tramel Terry, a wide receiver/running back who is arguably the best junior in the state.
"But in athletic ability, they are very similar," Reedy said of Turner and Terry. "Tramel plays more of a glamour position. But for what position Gerald plays, he's just as good."
Turner bench presses 330 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He will only get stronger and faster. But he might not get taller. That might be the only knock.
"He could play linebacker at the next level," Reedy said. "Because he's not 6-4, people try to figure if he will play linebacker. He could put on a lot more weight and slide down to tackle. Either way, he's very strong and very explosive."
Turner has been on the varsity team since his freshman season and has experienced the two painful playoff losses. Two year ago, it was against Bruce Ellington and eventual state champion Berkeley. Last year, it was against Justin Worley and eventual state champ Northwestern. Today might be the charm, as the Yellow Jackets come to town for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.
"Two years ago, we just told ourselves to work harder," Turner said. "After last year, we just told ourselves to work harder. Now, we have to see how it pays off."
Turner has been a force at defensive end. He's recorded 49 tackles, including 36 solo stops. He has nine sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and has broken up a pass. He's caused four fumbles and has returned his only interception 80 yards for a score. He's blocked four punts on special teams.
"He plays tight end on offense," Reedy said. "He's caught three passes and one went for a touchdown. He can play anywhere."
And perhaps anywhere will include Clemson's Death Valley, the venue for the Division II-AAAA state championship next weekend.