V for Validation

Goose Creek’s Caleb Kinlaw (21) leads Goose Creek with 229 yards rushing. The speedy junior has two touchdowns.

It was a signature victory, a night when the Goose Creek football team went from wannabes to winners.

On Oct. 1, 2004, the Gators shocked the Summerville Green Wave, 36-7, in what was the biggest victory since Chuck Reedy took over as coach. It gave Goose Creek a 5-1 record and a glimpse into the future.

“As I said earlier in the week, we needed this victory to validate our program,” Reedy said after the game. “We needed to move from the wannabe category to the category that includes teams that can beat Summerville and the other top teams in the state.”

Today, Goose Creek is the team to beat in the Lowcountry, and perhaps the state. In the last three years, the Gators have reached two Division II-AAAA state semifinals and won it all last fall with a victory over Greenwood.

The Gators have high expectations and a 2-0 record heading into tonight’s showdown against Summerville. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Charles Gibson Stadium.

“That victory came in my third year,” Reedy said. “That was big, really big. But they were all big wins back then. At the time, to me, Summerville, Stratford and Berkeley were the best teams in the area. We had to beat those teams to validate our program.”

The Gators, No. 2 in the latest state poll, are undefeated thanks to a powerful running game and a punishing defense. Quarterback Dantez Bennamon has completed 12 of 16 for 156 yards, but the running game is the strength of the offense. Junior Caleb Kinlaw has 229 yards and two touchdowns rushing while senior fullback Rashard Alston has 220 yards and five scores. Tramel Terry averages 11.6 yards per carry and 14.6 yards per catch. He has scored five touchdowns.

The Gators have surrendered only 208 total yards in two games and are coming off a shutout against Colleton County.

The Green Wave rallied from a 10-3 loss to Cane Bay in the season opener to pound Berkeley 36-12 last week. It was coach John McKissick’s 595th career victory.

Summerville showed much improvement in the second week of the season.

Sawyer Bridges, the first freshman to start at quarterback for the Green Wave since 1994, was on target with nine completions in 12 attempts for 121 yards. Running back Davon Anderson also had a big game, rushing for more than 100 yards for the second week in a row.

The Green Wave defense allowed Berkeley only 101 yards and both of the Stags’ TDs came after Summerville went on top, 36-0.

“Summerville is a better team than their record indicates,” Reedy said. “They have some outstanding linemen and they have two excellent running backs.

“They have guys who can get it done and are well coached. We know we have to play our best game Friday night. We just can’t show up and expect to win.”

Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil