Summerville football coach Joe Call has talked often about scheduling tough early season games to test his team’s mettle as his team seeks to return to a state championship level.
Call and his 2018 Green Wave got all they wanted, and then some, in Saturday night’s season opener against Cedar Grove High School of Atlanta.
The visiting team came in with a host of college prospects and looked every bit the part of a state championship team. Cedar Grove scored 14 first half points, and it could have been worse if not for a rash of penalties that negated scoring plays.
In the end, Cedar Grove left with a 21-7 win.
“They are so big and strong and athletic, and we knew that coming in,” Call said. “But, to be honest, we were shell-shocked a bit in the first half. We couldn’t get anything going offensively. We didn’t tackle well. They’re a really good football team and they have really done a good job in building that program.”
The Saints rolled up nearly 300 yards in total offense in the first half, ripping off 11 plays that went for more than 10 yards. They also hurt themselves with seven penalties, negating two touchdowns on consecutive plays.
Running back Robert Jones gained 91 of his 100 yards in the first half, scoring a touchdown on a 19-yard run for an early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Kendall Boney added a 9-yard run in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Summerville’s offense finished the half with just one first down and 43 total yards as it struggled to block Cedar Grove’s front, which includes Alabama commitment Rashad Cheney and Dante Walker, who has offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
Summerville’s defense was a different unit in the second half, yielding only 42 yards in the final two quarters. The offense, however, continued to struggle, committing turnovers on consecutive possessions near midfield.
Summerville did not reach 100 total yards until the fourth quarter and scored a late touchdown on a Johnathan Bennett to Andre Banks 22-yard pass. Bennett completed 9 of 20 passes for 84 yards, adding 50 yards rushing.
“We got in there at halftime and we challenged them” Call said. “The defense responded very well and really did a great job. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. But I thought both sides of the ball played much harder. We never laid down, and that was a great positive to take from this game.”
Summerville will host Wando next week as it turns its focus to winning a region title.
“I like playing teams like this,” Call said. “I want our guys to know where we are. You never like to lose, but you enjoy the competition against good, solid teams. We will come back from it. We will wipe it clean and start over with Wando next week.”