Brother, can you spare two all-state linebackers and two all-state defensive ends?
That’s what coach John McKissick says he needs to stop Stratford quarterback Jacob Park, who leads the undefeated Stratford Knights into today’s 7:30 game at McKissick Field.
“Even if you have players like that, I still don’t know if you can stop him,” said McKissick, who is seeking his 597th career victory tonight. “Park is way above average, and is the best all-around quarterback I’ve seen in a long time. He throws the ball. He runs the ball. He doesn’t get rattled. He’s been playing since he’s a freshman.”
Park has had a big role in the Knights’ success and 5-0 record. The tall right-hander has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,048 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s tough to bring down and makes the plays in big games.
Stratford versus Summerville has been an intense rivalry for many years, but the showdown has lost some of its luster recently.
Stratford’s football fortunes dropped when Cane Bay High School opened five years ago, taking players that would have attended Stratford. The Knights had one of the best decades in state history from 1997 to 2006 when they posted a 118-18 record and won a state championship in 1999. But they went 41-47 from 2007-10.
Now, they have won 14 of their last 16 games.
Summerville was just as elite, playing in two state championship games in the first decade of the new millennium. The Wave went 90-22 in a nine-year stretch before posting an 8-5 record. The Green Wave (2-3) are trying to avoid only the third losing season in McKissick’s 61 years at the school.
Summerville snapped a two-game losing streak last week with a 45-33 win at West Ashley. Running backs Jerod Tucker and Davon Anderson both had their best games of the season, combining for five scores. Freshman quarterback Sawyer Bridges completed 8 of 13 pass attempts for 142 yards and a TD.
Summerville leads the series 20-10 with 10 consecutive victories over the Knights. The Knights’ last victory came in 2002 when they posted a 12-0 win.
Summerville beat Stratford two times in 2005, including a 10-6 victory that put the Green Wave in the Division I-AAAA state championship game.
Stratford had a chance to end the skid last year, but turnovers doomed the Knights. Summerville defensive back Ryan Fowler scooped up a fumble with two minutes left in the game and returned it 26 yards for the winning touchdown as the Green Wave knocked off the previously unbeaten Knights 14-10. Summerville scored both of its touchdowns on defense and limited Stratford to 34 yards of offense in the second half.