Two longtime Berkeley County rivals battled on the Lowcountry’s version of Monday night football as Goose Creek visited Berkeley in a game postponed due to inclement weather on Friday night.
Goose Creek got nearly 150 yards rushing from Demetri Simmons and sophomore quarterback Drew Moore threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Gators to a 28-26 win.
The game also marked the season opener for both teams, and more importantly, the first of four Region 7-AAAAA contests.
“We won, and it wasn’t the prettiest game,” Goose Creek coach Jason Winstead said. “We kind of lost some composure in the second half, but we were able to make some plays when we had to. Real proud of them. We had chances to put them away and had some issues, but to win a game like that, we found a way.”
It took most of the first quarter to get any kind of offense going, but once both teams got going, they combined for three scores in the last four minutes of the opening period.
The Gators struck first when Simmons capped a 70-yard drive with a 1-yard run with 3:21 left in the quarter. Berkeley needed a little more than a minute to tie the game as Moore hit Solomon Butler over the middle and the Western Carolina commit raced untouched to the end zone with 1:53 remaining.
With 22 seconds left in the quarter, Moore hit Khyon Smith for a 36-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 lead heading into the second.
The teams traded interceptions in the first four minutes of the second quarter, but Goose Creek went to the run game with Simmons with great success. Simmons capped a long drive with a 5-yard run for a 21-7 lead at the 3:21 mark of the second quarter. Simmons finished the half with more than 100 yards rushing.
“Simmons is going to be sore in the morning,” Winstead said.
The Stags opened the third quarter with a six-minute drive, reaching the Goose Creek 2 before three consecutive minus yardage plays. Roy Brown got points out of the drive with a 33-yard field goal with 5:45 left in the period.
A bad punt snap sailed into the end zone, resulting in a safety for Berkeley, cutting the lead to 21-12 with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter. Berkeley got a good return on the ensuing kick to the Goose Creek 40 but gained only five yards on four downs.
Soon after, however, Berkeley senior corner Myles Walker stepped in front of a Moore pass and returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown.
“He made a couple of bad plays, but he also made some big throws,” Winstead said of Moore. “He’s a 10th-grader, but he’s going to be OK for us. He’s going to learn.”
Goose Creek answered quickly, fueled by Simmons’ 30-yard run to the Berkeley 35. Moore then found Malachi Taylor on a 35-yard pass connection and Goose Creek entered the fourth quarter with a 28-19 lead.
It appeared Goose Creek was on its way to an easier win, but the Stags made things interesting after recovering a fumble on their own 1-yard line.
Later in the drive, Moore found Troy Reed on a 66-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 28-26 with 2:43 remaining. The Gators were able to gain two first downs on their next possession and Berkeley was left with one Hail Mary pass attempt in the final seconds.
“They controlled the line of scrimmage on the offensive line and they ran the football. That’s the difference in the game,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said.
Berkeley will travel to Wando for another key Region 7-AAAAA game, while Goose Creek takes on Fort Dorchester in a non-region contest.