MONCKS CORNER - While it may not have been the prettiest game for either team this season, Friday night’s Class AAAAA Lower State semi-final clash between long-time rivals Summerville and Berkeley had all of the drama and intensity of so many battles in the storied history of the series.
After a slow start, things heated up considerably in the fourth quarter and Summerville held on for a 21-19 victory. The Green Wave, now 11-2, advance to the Lower State finals next week and will host two-time defending state champion Dutch Fork for the right to play for the state title.
“The rivalry lived up to its name,” Summerville head coach Joe Call said. “It was a heckuva game. Great win to be able to play for a Lower State championship next week.
Running back Derrion Larry rushed for 135 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown run with 5:32 left in the game that proved to be the game-winner. Senior quarterback Johnathan Bennett added 80 yards on the ground, scoring once on a 2-yard run and tossing a 4-yard scoring pass to Andre Banks.
“Different kind of game this time,” Call said, referring to the earlier season meeting won by Berkeley, 34-30. “I think both teams were a little tentative early on and the kids were trying so hard not to make a mistake. We were a little conservative, little hesitant early. Once we got that first score, we settled in. We went to Derrion Larry, kind of our hammer back. We just decided to hammer it. He took it to them. He really carried the load for us tonight.”
Neither team mustered much in the way of offense in the early stages of the game. Summerville got the first break, a 16-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Berkeley 31-yard line. The Green Wave made it count, scoring on a two-yard run by Bennett with 6:34 left in the second quarter.
The half ended on a crazy play. Summerville lined up for a 36-yard field goal with two seconds left in the second quarter. Placekicker Wyatt Olsen slipped on his approach and barely made contact with the football. Berkeley’s Cam Myers scooped up the loose ball and raced untouched 75 yards for the tying touchdown as time expired.
“Our defense played great,” Call said. “Our defensive coaches work relentlessly. They put their whole life into preparing our kids to have the opportunity to win games like this. Berkeley has so much speed, so many playmakers. We did a great job.”
Berkeley got the offense untracked to open the third quarter, feeding running back Keshawn Wicks for 52 yards of an 80-yard drive. Quarterback Eric Tuttle capped the drive with a one-yard run for a 13-7 Stags’ lead.
The Green Wave answered on their first possession of the third quarter, using seven minutes off the clock with a 15-play drive. On fourth-and-one from the Berkeley four, Bennett tossed a quick pass to Banks for a touchdown. Olsen’s 35-yard extra point gave Summerville a 14-13 lead with 2:53 left in the period.
“We had to answer there. They had all the momentum,” Call said. “To be able to answer and go back and get the lead was huge for our kids.”
Kevon Gregory intercepted a pass with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Green Wave went 60 yards on six plays, taking a 21-13 lead on Larry’s 24-yard run. Gregory also had an interception to end the game.
Berkeley’s quick strike offense came alive, scoring on two plays. Wicks broke off a 32-yard run and Tuttle hit DJ Chisolm with a 25-yard strike in the end zone to cut the lead to 21-19. Berkeley appeared to tie the game on a two-point conversion, but the play was nullified due to penalty. The second attempt failed, leaving Summerville with the 2-point lead.
Tuttle threw for 163 yards in the game while Wicks finished with 121 yards rushing, 80 in the second half. Chisolm caught eight passes for 106 yards in his final game.
“We didn’t execute on offense. The first half was about as bad as we’ve ever played offensively, and they kind of wore us down in the fourth quarter up front,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said. “Our defense kept us in the game in the first half. We didn’t get it done offensively. Disappointed for our seniors. This is a tough one.”