West Ashley to honor 1982 Middleton state title team

The Middleton Razorbacks, shown here in a win over Summerville, won a state championship in 1982, the last Charleston County public school to win a state football title. (File/Wade Spees/Staff)

West Ashley High School will honor its roots in the old St. Andrews and Middleton high schools with its second annual Alumni Night on Friday.

The Wildcats take on Colleton County at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and will recognize the 1982 Middleton state championship squad at halftime.

“We’re hoping for a big crowd,” said West Ashley athletic director Richard Luden. “We’re trying to get the West Ashley community that went to St. Andrews and Middleton to come and see what we have here, and to be a part of us.”

The old St. Andrews and Middleton high schools merged in 2000 to form West Ashley High School. West Ashley has installed the granite boulder from St. Andrews (known as the “Rocks”) and a marquee from Middleton at its stadium. For this game, one end zone will be painted in St. Andrews’ colors, and the other in Middleton’s.

The 1982 Middleton team, coached by the late Jim Werden, is the most recent Charleston County team to win a state football championship.

Alumni Night will also include a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria, and the West Ashley band will play the alma maters of all three schools. Luden says West Ashley also plans to start a Hall of Fame that will include alumni from all three schools.

It has been a while since the North Charleston High football program has had the type of season it is enjoying this fall.

The Cougars, under the direction of second-year head coach Chris Reger, are off to a 3-0 start. North Charleston won only one game last year and totaled only 10 victories in the previous five seasons. Not since the Cougars opened the 2009 season with four wins, en route to an 11-2 record, has the program had this kind of success.

Senior running back Kahleb Parks has been the workhorse for the Cougars this season, rushing for 506 yards and seven touchdowns in the first three games. Senior end Dennis Thomas is the team’s leader on defense.

Region 7-AAAA was perceived to be the deeper football conference in the area, but rivals in Region 8-AAAA have dominated the play so far this season.

In the last three weeks, Region 7’s lone victory against Region 8 was Cane Bay’s win over Summerville. Region 8 has swept six games in the last two weeks and there are four head-to-head matchups this Friday night. Region 8 teams will be favored to win all four games.

Region 8 is off to a 17-3 start with three undefeated teams (Bluffton, Ashley Ridge and Fort Dorchester). Conversely, Region 7 has a combined record of 5-14, with every team except Cane Bay (2-2) below .500.

The annual Bob Jenkins Coaches Classic, one of the state’s top regular season invitational cross country events, was held in Columbia over the weekend.

The event annually draws a huge number of teams and runners from all levels and is split into two categories — the International division and the Championship division. The International division includes the state’s top runners and overall teams.

In that race, Ashley Ridge’s Jackson Ellenburg finished second overall. He is a favorite to win the Class AAAA gold medal in November. Hayden Dibona of Academic Magnet finished fifth overall and Dolan Owens of James Island was eighth. Wando’s Tedros Eckstein also finished in the top 10 at 10th place.

Wando finished second in the overall team standings behind Class AAA power Hilton Head.

Academic Magnet’s girls won the team title in the championship division. The Raptors were led by Kate Kuisel (fifth) and Annalise Hafer (ninth).

Summerville’s Victor Shellhammer was the winner of the boys’ race in the championship division. Bishop England’s John Busche was third overall and the Bishops finished second in the team standings.

The state’s top in-season volleyball invitational tournament is the Tournament of Champions, hosted by Dorman High School. The tournament, which takes place this weekend, annually hosts powerhouses and state champions from several states.

Included in the 16-team field this year are lowcountry powers Wando, Porter-Gaud, Bishop England and Ashley Hall.