Braden Pritchard hasn’t been around long enough to really understand the rivalry.
Pritchard moved from North Carolina just eight months ago. So forgive the Wando quarterback, he’s still getting up to speed. All week long, though, all Pritchard has heard — in the hallway at school or in the locker room after — is the importance of beating Summerville. So without really knowing any better, that’s what he did.
Pritchard logged three touchdowns to guide Wando to a 32-20 season-opening win over Summerville Friday in Mount Pleasant.
The left-handed junior passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in his first career start to deliver the Warriors’ fifth win over the rival Green Wave in the past eight years, their first since 2016.
“I’ve heard Wando hasn’t won this game in a few years so I just wanted to bring one back for the boys,” Pritchard said. “I tried to look at it like just another game.”
No one would let him though. He heard all the chatter of how good Summerville was. The Green Wave, a state semifinalist last season, hung 51 points in a lopsided road win at Woodland last week. Anticipation of Summerville visiting Wando next seemed to be littered with more doubt than confidence from the outside.
“So I just told everyone, ‘Hey, come out to the game,’” he repainted with a smile. “‘It’s going to be fun.’”
Maken Glover returned the opening kickoff to the Summerville 4-yard line. Pritchard hit Sullivan Vanderveen with a quick strike on the following play to lift Wando ahead 7-0 less than a minute into the game.
There wasn’t an empty seat to be found on the home side of the stadium. No one was sitting anyway.
“The start was huge for us,” Pritchard said. “You could just feel the energy.”
Summerville senior back Derrion Larry calmed the home side momentarily with a 14-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Warriors defense that tied the game with just under five minutes to play in the opening half. Wando countered 68 seconds later with a 22-yard touchdown pass that Pritchard floated over the defense to Jose Hill in the back of the end zone. Larry and the Green Wave answered again, though, this time with a 2-yard plunge that evened the game 14-all on the final play of the opening half.
Summerville was pressing into the Wando red zone on its opening possession of the third quarter when Will Bumgarner intercepted a tipped pass by Colby Shirey in the end zone. Wando turned the takeaway into a 34-yard field goal from Arthur Rocha that pushed the Warriors ahead 17-14 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Wando pulled down two interceptions and recovered a fumble in the game. Senior safety Will Pickren finished with a team-high 10 tackles and the forced fumble on a huge collision. Wando’s defense was especially aggressive in the second half. The Warriors attacked Summerville in the backfield, leaving Shirey little time to pass and often scrambling for losses. Wando finished with four tackles for a loss and three sacks, two by Colby McQueen.
“Wando was so good on defense tonight,” Summerville head coach Joe Call said. “They showed us a bunch of different looks that you’re not really prepared for this early in the season.”
Jaden Singleton stretched opened a two-score lead with a 9-yard sprint to the end zone five minutes into the fourth quarter. Singleton joined the Wando football program in seventh grade. His coaches will tell you he has as much raw potential as any running back you’ll find. But a myriad of injuries have plagued his career. He didn’t participate in any preseason scrimmages this summer, in part because it was too risky. Now a senior, with his knee protected by a bulky brace, Singleton piled up 95 yards and the touchdown on just 11 carries in his best varsity performance yet.
“I’ve been waiting so long,” Singleton said. “I’ve been working hard to get my knees right. It just means a lot to be able to finally help my team the way I always knew I could. And against Summerville it feels amazing.”
Pritchard all but sealed the game with a 4-yard touchdown run that Will Pickren followed with a two-point conversion off a botched extra-point attempt to break open a 32-14 cushion with less than two minutes to play. Everything seemed to be going right for the Warriors in the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t always that way. Pritchard completed just 43 percent of his pass attempts and threw two interceptions in the first half. He completed 86 percent of his attempts in the second half, throwing for 142 yards without a turnover. His performance wasn’t perfect. He’ll admit that. But it was gritty. It was resilient. It was the type of performance required in a rivalry game with the Green Wave.
Pritchard showed little emotion throughout. His teammates exploded with energy at times but Pritchard seemed to calmly plug along until his final touchdown. With the game seemingly in hand, Pritchard finally celebrated, arms raised toward the student section, some of which was calling for a quarterback change early in the game but all of which was cheering wildly with the newcomer by the end.
Pritchard now belongs to a rare fraternity as one of less than eight Wando quarterbacks to ever defeat Summerville.
“I just tried to stay calm. Everyone was telling me to stay calm. But I couldn’t by the end,” Pritchard said. “I just wanted to give something to Wando. I wanted this game because I know how much it means to everyone. It means a lot to me too.”
Now he gets it.