Dennie McDaniel Stratford

Dennie McDaniel takes over as Stratford's coach this season. Rob Gantt/ourgazette.com

GOOSE CREEK — The Dennie McDaniel era at Stratford High School began with a rousing ovation  before sunset, and the former Knights player capped the night wearing the remnants of an ice bucket.

Senior running back Mario Anderson rushed for 146 yards in the first half, setting up two scores and plunging ahead for another to stake McDaniel's Knights to a three-touchdown lead en route to a 21-6 victory over Timberland at Ray Stackley Field on Friday night.

“It’s just amazing,” said McDaniel, a 1995 Stratford alum who took the reins after serving the last two years as an assistant to Joe Marion. “It’s proof all the hard work pays off. I’m so happy for our players and coaching staff. They busted their tails all summer."

Stratford had won just three games total the last two seasons and was up against one of the Lowcountry's marquee programs out of the gate in 2018.

In addition to Stratford's big numbers advantage due to a three-classification size gap, Anderson was the difference between the two teams, pounding the ball ahead and breaking some runs. It looked like Stratford of old.

“When you’ve got a workhorse back there like Mario, that’s what we’re going to do,” McDaniel said. “Until those young ones back there grow up, he knows we’re going to lean on him.”

Anderson’s first big burst, a 33-yard run, set up quarterback Travis Lott’s 1-yard plunge with 1:18 left in the opening quarter. Timberland blocked the extra point to keep it 6-0.

On the Knights’ next drive, Anderson got loose around the outside for a 59-yard run and went straight ahead from the 1 on the next play to make it 12-0. Walter Williams bulled ahead on the 2-point try, giving Stratford a 14-0 lead with 9:25 left in the half.

Stratford scored on its third straight drive after forcing a Wolves punt, again converting a fourth down along way.

Williams capped the 54-yard drive with a 5-yard run and the Knights led 21-0 with 3:50 left in the half after Charles Morgan’s extra point.

“We got our fannies handed to us in the first half,” Timberland coach Art Craig said. “We’ve got to understand it doesn’t matter whether it’s Stratford or Cross, people are going to come after us … I thought our kids fought hard in the second half but we can’t dig ourselves a hole like that.”

Timberland got on the board by scoring on its opening drive of the second half. Emanuel Moultrie scored on a 12-yard run less than three minutes into the third quarter but the extra point was blocked.

Stratford travels to Stall High School on Friday while Timberland hosts Charlotte Latin.

Other games:

Fort Dorchester 37, Glynn Academy 21

Fort Dorchester traveled to Brunswick, Ga. for its 2018 season opener and knocked off Glynn Academy, 37-21.

Junior quarterback De'Andrae Sabb passed for 142 yards and two touchdowns while adding 64 yards and two more scores to pace the offense. Junior running back Khalil Jenkins added 108 yards rushing and a touchdown. Chaz Jones had two catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Fort Dorchester led the game 28-0 after three quarters. The Patriots will host Cane Bay next Friday.

Berkeley 69, Stall 12

The Berkeley Stags rolled up more than 500 yards in total offense in a 69-12 win over the Stall High Warriors. Stags quarterback Eric Tuttle threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns while Keshawn Wicks added 143 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Dervon Pesnell also contributed for the Stags, with four receptions for 81 yards.

Stall will host Stratford High next week, while Berkeley will play host to Ashley Ridge.

Academic Magnet 35, Northwood Academy 7

Academic Magnet won its first game of the season in a 35-7 rout of Northwood Academy.

Raptors quarterback Steve Schlosser threw for 117 yards, and rushed for 152 yards on 16 attempts and three touchdowns. Running back Will Shnell chipped in 86 rushing yards and two scores.

The defense was equally impressive, led by Chris Littlejohn, who posted two sacks and three forced fumbles.

St. John's 39, Philip Simmons 6

The St. John’s Islanders won in a convincing 39-6 victory over the Philip Simmons in the Iron Horses' varsity debut.

The star of the night was Islanders rusher Tyrus Richardson, who found the end zone three times while running for 82 yards and collecting 21 receiving yards. Richardson also scored on an 85-yard kickoff return.

Quarterback Tyler Durham steered the offense, netting 64 passing yards and running for another 62. And Tyrone Hicks added another 20 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

The Islanders play next week against Andrew Jackson High.

Oceanside Collegiate 17, Baptist Hill 8

The Oceanside Landsharks opened their 2018 season with a closely contested win over the Baptist Hill Bobcats.

Baptist Hill opened the scoring with a 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Darrell McKinley to Terrence Brown. McKinley passed for 169 yards and also contributed 69 yards through the run game as well.

Oceanside responded in the second half with two rushing touchdowns, both by Zion Coker. Coker led Oceanside’s offense with 17 attempts for 173 yards rushing. Quarterback Richard Hurteau put in a solid performance going 11 for 19 with 74 yards passing while targeting six different receivers.

The Landsharks are home to Savannah Christian next week, while the Bobcats are at Garrett.

Ashley Ridge 30, Goose Creek 13

Ashley Ridge scored in all three facets of the game during a 30-13 win over Goose Creek.

The Swamp Foxes kicked a field goal, rushed for two touchdowns, returned an interception for a TD and returned a kickoff for a TD to top the Gators in the season opener for both teams.

Ashley Ridge QB Matt Duncan completed a 30-yard pass to De’Marr Proctor-Floyd for a first and goal and then the quarterback swept right for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 10-0 lead. Ashley Ridge drove 74 yards on its first possession of the third quarter to score on a 7-yard run by Nick Cunningham.

Ashley Ridge linebacker Oz Smith returned a fumble 40 yards for a TD and a 23-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, AR's Chris Yates returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to ice the game.

“It’s always good to win the first game of the year so we will definitely try to enjoy it, but I wasn’t pleased with how we executed,” Ashely Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “Also we had opportunities and let them pass in the game offensively in the first half and defensively we made too many mental mistakes. We did make a big defensive stop right before the half to maintain the lead.”