GOOSE CREEK - The Goose Creek Gators completed a perfect run through the Region 7-AAAAA slate and picked up an additional piece of hardware Friday in their regular-season finale.
One week after wrapping up the region championship, the Gators became the first winner of the Golden Goose trophy in their city rivalry with Stratford, taking a 27-7 victory at John Fulmer Field.
Goose Creek mayor Greg Habib introduced the Golden Goose trophy this week and it will be presented to the winner of the rivalry game moving forward.
“I’m proud of how they responded in the fourth quarter,” Gators coach Jason Winstead said. “I told them at halftime the offense kept us in it against Berkeley and the defense kept us in it tonight. That’s just football. We really played poorly on offense for three quarters but played well when it mattered.”
The Gators (7-2, 5-0 region) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away and snapped a two-game skid in the series. They begin the Class AAAAA playoffs at home Friday against South Florence, the fourth-place team from Region 6-AAAAA. Goose Creek will be making its first playoff appearance since 2016.
“This is our first time but luckily our coaches have been in a lot of playoff games,” said Winstead, the second-year Gators coach. “We’ll try to reset them. We’ve always told them it’s three seasons: five non-region games, five region games and hopefully five playoff games.”
Stratford finished the season 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the region.
The Gators scored a touchdown in the first and second quarters, but turnovers derailed what could have been a much more productive half.
Malachi Taylor’s 16-yard touchdown reception from Emmanuel Mukuamu with 8:36 gave the Gators a 7-0 lead.
Mukuamu’s 25-yard touchdown run right up the middle with 9:38 remaining in the first half was followed by a missed extra point.
Stratford started drives at its own 1, 6 and 11 after Goose Creek turnovers.
More points eluded the Gators after Devante Pryor returned the opening kick of the second half 90 yards to Stratford’s 5. The possession ended with a missed 21-yard field goal.
Hanging around, the Knights closed within 13-7 on Damaris Anderson’s 2-yard run around the left side with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter. One play earlier, Anderson leapt up to grab a 36-yard pass from quarterback Josh Davis on fourth and 8.
Stratford went for it on fourth down at Goose Creek’s 38 on its next drive but Gators defensive back Darryl Capleton made an interception at the 6.
The Gators followed with their best drive, going 94 yards for some insurance. Mukuamu converted a third-and-2 with a 26-yard run to Stratford’s 40 then connected with Damon Mouzon two plays later on a 35-yard scoring strike with 7:33 left.
David Canady’s extra point made it 20-7.
Nine high school football players from the Lowcountry have been selected to play in the Touchstone Energy North-South Game in Myrtle Beach on Dec. 14.
Stratford didn’t go away, driving to Goose Creek’s 20, but the Gators made another fourth-down stand.
Gators running back Demetri Simmons finished off the Knights with a winding 66-yard touchdown run with 2:27 remaining.
Berkeley 47, Cane Bay 7
Berkeley quarterback Willie Chisolm passed for 324 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Berkeley (7-2, 4-1) past Cane Bay (5-5, 2-3) in Region 7-AAAAA.
Solomon Butler caught two TD passes and Ha Keem Meggett one for the Stags.
Wando 18, James Island 0
Jaden Singleton ran for a 7-yard touchdown and caught a 16-yard TD pass from Braden Pritchard to lead Wando (6-3, 3-2) past James Island (2-8, 0-5) in Region 7-AAAAA.
Arthur Rocha added a 19-yard field goal for Wando.
Stall 35, Ashley Ridge 28
Stall quarterback Corey Speights ran for a 15-yard TD, and the Warriors rallied for their first Region 8-AAAAA victory with a 35-28 win over Ashley Ridge.
Stall ends the regular season at 3-7 overall and 1-3 in 8-AAAAA. Ashley Ridge, which got a 52-yard TD run from Troy Grant, is 3-6 and 1-3.
Timberland 42, North Charleston 0
Matt Williamson ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns to lead Timberland (6-2, 3-1) past North Charleston (2-7, 0-4) in Region 6-AA.
Jamari Nelson added 57 yards and two TDs, and Jaleen Richardson and James Alston each scored for the Wolves.
Baptist Hill 49, St. John's 13
St. John’s suffered a 49-13 loss at Baptist Hill, despite a stellar performance from quarterback Jordan Brown.
The sophomore passer rushed for 157 yards and two scores, while tossing in five tackles on defense.
Overall, the Islanders rushed for 235 yards. The loss puts them at 3-6 on the year, while Baptist Hill moved to 7-3.
Waccamaw 36, Hanahan 11
Hanahan ended its regular season with a 36-11 loss at Waccamaw. Quarterback Jonathan Shelton had 138 passing yards, including a 60-yard TD to Chevy Campbell, who caught seven passes for 74 yards.
Josh Shaw added 43 rushing yards for the Hawks (1-8, 1-4 in Region 7-AAA).
Palmetto Christian 42, Northside 28
Palmetto Christian (7-2) closed out the regular season with a 42-28 win over Northside Christian.
Connor Rourk ran for 261 yards and three touchdowns, and also went 6-12 passing for 116 yards and a touchdown. Carson Rourk caught four of those passes for 86 yards and a TD.
Wyatt Shogren had a sack and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Kendall Chakeris had three tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. Ethan Lowther made 11 tackles, with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Carson Rourk had 13 tackles.