Sertoma Football Classic recap of Wando, Palmetto Christian, Bishop England scrimmages
Palmetto Christian junior wide receiver Ben German (right, 17) is congratulated by teammate Eric Putnam (59) after scoring the quarter's first touchdown against Garrett during Friday's Sertoma Classic.
Wando coach Jimmy Noonan calls a timeout to discuss offensive strategy during the Warriors' matchup against Hanahan on Thursday night. Nolan Keller (74), a recent University of Florida commit, anchors the offensive line.
The Sertoma Football Classic wasn’t kind to a pair of area teams, but was favorable to another in the two-day event this past Thursday and Friday.
Regardless of the final scores, the classic is about raising money for local charities in an event symbolic of the start of high school football season. It’s also a chance for participating teams to make late preseason adjustments before the games count.
Fans can’t rely on Sertoma scores as an indicator for their favorite team’s regular season outcome. First example: Wando was shut out in its Sertoma matchup and then blew by James Island two days later in its season opener.
Last season, Wando lost four fumbles. During two quarters against 3A power Hanahan on Thursday, the Warriors coughed up three fumbles in the 24-0 loss.
“Right now, what I saw is the same thing everybody else saw: we’re poor fundamentally,” coach Jimmy Noonan said.
Wando’s first series totaled 41 yards off 10 plays – eight rushing, two passing – but was abbreviated by a fumble. Its next possession had the same result, but it occurred on the first play.
“Turnovers, by far,” Noonan said when asked what was the most troubling aspect. “I hope it catches our attention.”
Most of Wando’s starters only played the first two series of the scrimmage, and Noonan had previously said the final score was never the main concern with the Warriors’ regular season opener two days later.
“Yeah, but you want a better showing,” he said. “Any time you come out to compete, you want a better showing. I don’t care whether it’s your first team or your fourth team.”
Wando (1-0) travels to Beaufort on Friday.
A number of teams showcased over the two-day Sertoma Football Classic hadn’t hit their stride.
Not so for Palmetto Christian, which may have already hit its stride after achieving the program’s biggest win a few days prior at Porter-Gaud in the Eagles’ regular season opener. Palmetto Christian defeated Garrett in Friday’s first quarter, 14-8.
J.T. Waters threw two touchdown passes. The first went to junior wide receiver Ben German and the second came after a lengthy scramble before he found fellow senior Andrew Johnstone sprinting down the sideline for a 65-yard score.
Coach Jim Daniel said his team’s performance against Porter-Gaud makes the rest of the season more difficult. “We’re not going to sneak up on anybody now. Really in the five-year history, it’s really been ‘who’s PCA?’” Daniel said. “I think they’re (opponents) are starting to take us seriously now.”
While Waters draws the most attention on the team with consistently gaudy offensive statistics, Johnstone was impressive in the Sertoma quarter. In addition to his touchdown, he provided a series-ending tackle on a Garrett fourth down to seal the Eagles victory.
“Every year, we have a senior that comes out of nowhere, and that’s that kid this year,” Daniel said of Johnstone. “He’s running sprints down field catching the football, and he’s got to come back down and play defense.”
Palmetto Christian (1-0) plays Williamsburg Academy on Friday.
The Bishop England football team lost last season’s Sertoma matchup to 4A Stratford but found out who its starting quarterback would be in the process. The Battling Bishops went on to win their second consecutive 2A state championship.
This season, Bishop England lost to 4A Summerville, 17-0, this past Friday. Coach John Cantey wasn’t ready to give the starting quarterback job – a competition between seniors Jack Wilson and Reed Fosberry – without first reviewing tape of the scrimmage. Cantey hopes the state-title remainder of that equation holds up this year.
Nick Shiver proved his offensive value with a 52-yard run. The Bishops were playing in a touchdown-or-nothing offense because usual kicker Matthew Mellin was hurt. Lineman Chandler Sambets assumed punting duties, while Bishop England did not attempt a field goal on two occasions where the distance was manageable for a starting kicker.
“Him (Sambets) and Hudson (Little) are our best kickers after that,” Cantey said. “I really didn’t even look at what the yardage was, because I knew we didn’t have anybody to do it.”
More than Xs and Os, Cantey was most displeased with conditioning. “We look like we were playing tired, and that really bugs me,” he said. “It looks like we’re not in great shape, and we should be in great shape by now.”
Bishop England travels to West Ashley on Friday for its regular season opener.