'Week Zero' high school games pose challenge to Sertoma Classic

The Stratford Knights take the field at the Sertoma Classic, which faces challenges due to "Week Zero" games. (Wade Spees/Staff)

The increasing popularity of "Week Zero" games will likely mean changes will be necessary for the Sertoma Football Classic.

Low attendance figures, due in large part to the lack of bigger schools that have large followings, will likely mean the Classic moves to a week earlier next season.

This year's Classic did not include Berkeley, Fort Dorchester and Ashley Ridge, all schools that participated in Week Zero openers Friday night. Summerville, which usually brings the biggest fan following to Sertoma, had a varsity game scheduled in Charlotte on Friday night and sent its junior varsity team to scrimmage Hanahan for a quarter. Summerville's section in the stands for Sertoma had less than 100 fans.

Cane Bay, Hanahan and James Island also played backups in their quarters, saving the starters for Friday night's regular-season openers.

The attraction of Week Zero games for schools is the open date later during the regular season that comes with playing early. More schools are likely to start playing Week Zero games, which may force Sertoma to be played a week earlier.

That, according to officials, could be difficult if the games are to remain at The Citadel, which they will for at least the next two years.

Several of the state's bigger preseason jamborees already have moved their dates to a week earlier with coaches readily accepting the change. The idea floating at this year's Sertoma Classic was keeping the event during Week Zero but possibly playing Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The question is, will those schools playing Week Zero games on Friday risk sending starters to play a quarter? Not likely.

Another option is for Sertoma to remain the weekend of Week Zero and invite "big name" programs from other areas of the state to participate in regular-season games as part of Sertoma.

River Bluff High School in Lexington held five regular-season games as part of its classic over the weekend, with the marquee game being Dutch Fork against Greenwood on Friday night.

Myrtle Beach hosts the Carolinas Kickoff Clash this coming weekend with 10 regular-season games over three days.

A Week Zero game at Sertoma between Summerville and Greenwood, or Goose Creek versus Gaffney, would certainly draw major crowds. That idea, however, takes advance planning and is not a viable option for the 2015 Sertoma Classic.

The positive is that those who run the Sertoma Classic know that changes need to be made. The Sertoma Classic's primary goal is to raise money for local charities, and putting people in the seats helps the cause more than anything.

Summerville won a state-record 41 consecutive football games from 1978 to 1980, but that record is in jeopardy this Friday night.

Class A powerhouse Christ Church tied Summerville's mark with its 41st straight win last Friday night. The Cavaliers seek to set the new state standard this Friday against Abbeville. Abbeville is one of the top AA programs in the state and opened the season with a win over Silver Bluff.

Pinewood Prep junior right-hander Kris Kuhn became the third area pitcher to commit to Clemson last week, saying he will sign with Clemson in November of 2015.

Kuhn joins Stratford senior Jamison Mobbs and Summerville junior Sawyer Bridges as Clemson commitments. The 6-1, 165-pound Kuhn also had recent offers from the College of Charleston, Furman, South Carolina, Charleston Southern and Liberty.

"Clemson was the best overall fit for me, from a baseball standpoint and academically," said Kuhn. "I like the coaching staff and loved the campus. I knew after my visit that's where I want to be."

Kuhn was 6-2 with a 1.50 earned run average during his sophomore season at Pinewood. His visibility with college coaches took off this summer while playing for the Carolina Prospects out of the Charleston Baseball Academy.

The Porter-Gaud Volleyball Invitational Tournament will begin on Friday night with action all day Saturday. The event includes 16 teams from around the state, including local powers Wando, Porter-Gaud, Ashley Hall, Bishop England and First Baptist.