The 44th annual Sertoma Football Classic kicked off on Thursday night with four one-quarter scrimmages and two scrimmages of two quarters each.
The featured matchup of the evening involved two of the area's top programs as Stratford and Timberland played for a half. After falling behind, 9-0, Timberland rallied for two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the second quarter to pull out a 13-9 victory.
Senior quarterback Ryan Hood connected with Daniel Robinson on a 24-yard scoring pass with less than a minute remaining for the game-winner. Stratford had three snaps from near midfield but failed to score, setting off a wild celebration on the Timberland sideline.
"It's pretty exciting for our kids because we don't get to play the bigger schools like Goose Creek and Stratford in our county," said Timberland head coach Art Craig. "It's only a half, but it's something we can build on."
Stratford linebacker TJ Deveaux blocked a punt after Timberland's first possession, setting up the Knights' offense at the nine-yard line. On Stratford's first offensive snap, quarterback Jamison Mobbs hit Kemp Shider with a touchdown pass for a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the first quarter.
Stratford's Griffin Martin added a 31-yard field goal to open the second quarter to stretch the margin to 9-0.
"It didn't look good there at the start, but I'm real proud of the way our kids battled," said Craig, whose team opens the regular season next Friday against Hanahan. "We played with great effort, which is something we preach. We have some kids out there with inexperience, so tonight was a big thing for them."
Hood tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Shamel Williams with 4:23 left in the second quarter to trim the margin to 9-7. After forcing a Stratford punt, the Wolves were able to move downfield, aided by a pass interference penalty, to set up the winning score.
The Cyclones clicked on all cylinders in the opening quarter of the night. The offense had three impressive drives, two that led to touchdowns and another that ended on a fumble at the Lincoln two-yard line.
After the fumble, Porter-Gaud's defense recorded a sack in the end zone for a safety as Jeremy Hunt recorded the finishing hit.
Cyclones' quarterback Kris Johnson scored on a five-yard run with 6:16 left in the quarter, and Hunt followed with an 11-yard run with 1:53 remaining.
Johnson, a first-year starter at quarterback, finished with 62 yards rushing and 85 yards passing as the Cyclones rolled up more than 200 total yards in the quarter.
With a week zero game against Colleton County on Friday night, Cane Bay head coach Russell Zehr used Sertoma to get some backups some field time. Freshman running back Kris Copeland made quite the statement, scoring on a 36-yard run and catching a 34-yard touchdown pass from freshman Ronald Roderick as the Cobras beat Baptist Hill, 13-6.
The Bobcats scored a late touchdown on a six-yard pass from Corey Fields to Dajon Gadsden. Baptist Hill, which also plays on Friday night at Allendale-Fairfax, threatened to score early but fumbled a pass reception at the one-yard line. The loose ball was recovered by Cane Bay in the end zone for a touchback.
Copeland was named the Roddy White Award winner for the Most Outstanding Player on the first night of action.
With a game in Charlotte on Friday night, Summerville head coach John McKissick sent a mixture of junior varsity and B-team players for the one-quarter scrimmage with Hanahan.
Hanahan, which also plays Friday against James Island, used mostly backups as well. Neither team threatened to score though Hanahan had the biggest play of the quarter on a 56-yard pass connection from Christian Leakey to Jamie Watson.
Senior running back Taiwan Green rumbled in from 26 yards to lift the Islanders to a 6-0 one-quarter victory over James Island.
The Islanders enter this season as the defending Region 6-AA champions under second-year head coach Brad Bowles.
James Island, which plays Friday night at Hanahan, is under new head coach Ike Allred.
In the finale of the first night, Region 7-AAAA foes West Ashley and Goose Creek battled for two quarters with the Gators looking every bit the state title contender.
A 50-yard run by Goose Creek senior tailback Ty'rik Johnson set the Gators up at the West Ashley 14-yard line, but the Gators fumbled on the next play and West Ashley recovered the loose ball at the 12.
Goose Creek mounted another threat on its second possession and Johnson finished the drive with a tackle-breaking 14-yard scoring run with 6:45 left in the quarter.
The Gators continued to grind it out on their next possession with fullback Robert Matthews capping a drive with a three-yard run with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter.
The first-teamers put another scoring drive together before the quarter was complete as Matthews rumbled in from 29 yards out, giving the Gators a 20-0 lead with :25 left.
Goose Creek's Dekao Singleton returned an interception 50 yards early in the second quarter to set up Todd McCoy's two-yard run to up the advantage to 27-0.
The Wildcats got on the board late in the second quarter when Marquize Jenkins scored on a 21-yard run with 2:08 to play.