SUMMERVILLE – Thank goodness for grandmothers.
Every pass, every completion, every run and every touchdown that Summerville’s Johnathan Bennett makes this season can be directly traced back to his grandmother, Gwendolyn Bennett, who got the senior quarterback out of bed for his first high school football practice four years ago when he was just a freshman.
Summerville coach Joe Call and the Green Wave have been the beneficiaries ever since.
Bennett had 202 yards of total offense and threw for three touchdowns to lead Summerville (1-1) past Wando 34-8 at John McKissick Field Friday night.
Bennett, who has verbally committed to play football at Liberty University next fall, almost didn’t play football, but did at the insistence of his grandmother, who got him out of bed that morning and onto the football field.
“She knows best, she is the best, I thank her every day,” Bennett said.
And so does Call, who watched his senior quarterback complete 15 of 22 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns and rush for 45 more yards on the ground.
“Johnathan has seen just about everything on the field in the last four years,” Call said. “Because of his experience and his athletic ability, there are times when he thinks he can make a play big, but it might not be there. I think he’s started to mature and realizes now that he needs to back down a little bit and just run the offense. I thought he did that tonight, especially in the second half with those two long scoring drives.”
A week ago, the Green Wave offense was almost nonexistent in a 21-7 loss to perennial Georgia power Cedar Grove High School. With Bennett and wide receiver Andre Banks, who caught two TD passes against Wando (0-1), making plays in the passing game, the Green Wave were able to move the ball consistently against the Warriors defense.
“We only were able to get in one scrimmage in the preseason, so our offense has struggled here a little bit,” Call said. “Cedar Grove has a great defense, a bunch of Division I prospects all over the field, and we were a little shellshocked. We needed to find a rhythm, and I thought we did in the second half.”
Despite scoring 34 points, Bennett said the offense has a long way to go.
“I think we left 21 points out there,” Bennett said. “We can do better. This is better than we did last week, but we can improve.”
Summerville’s defense smothered the Warriors offense all game. The Warriors finished with just one net-yard rushing, and Wando quarterback Reed Garris was sacked five times and intercepted twice.
“Our defensive coaches do a great job of game-planning,” Call said. “They put our guys in great position to make plays, and that’s really the key at the high school level. They’re putting them in position to make plays and that’s what they’re doing, making plays.”
Summerville running back K.J. Rollins, who finished with 68 yards on 13 attempts, gave the Green Wave a 7-0 lead with a 37-yard TD run on Summerville’s second offensive possession.
Leading 14-0 at halftime, Summerville extended its lead to 20-0 on Bennett’s beautiful over-the-shoulder TD pass to Brody Hopkins, who has committed to play baseball at College of Charleston, midway through the third quarter.
Garris threw a 51-yard TD pass to Jahmal Haynes on the first play of the fourth quarter for the Warriors’ only points of the game. Garries was 12 of 26 for 134 yards and two interceptions.
Two long scoring drives in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach for the Green Wave.