What an exciting way to open the season for 2002. Around the state, the expected became the unexpected and upsets abounded as we kicked off the new season.
The big news around the state was the defeat of 4 of the defending 2001 SC State Champions on opening night. The parity and high quality of football in the Palmetto sate was in fully evident as Big 16 Spartanburg lost to Union, 3A Camden fell to Sumter, 2A Sliver Bluff lost to Newberry and 1A Ninety Six was defeated by the Panthers from Abbeville. Only Marlboro County survived Week 1 with a listless 21-6 win over Cheraw. The talent level and coaching is so strong in South Carolina that on any given Friday night even 80% of the state champions can be beaten.
The upset trend continued on Monday night as the 2A Edisto Cougars held on for a huge win against Orangeburg Wilkinson. A win of this caliber can launch a program for an entire season. Look for the Cougars to make a strong run towards Columbia in November.
This past week I had the rare opportunity to see arguably the best Senior and best Junior football player in the state when Dorman and Lexington met at Wildcat Hollow in Columbia. Demetrius Summers is listed by most recruiting gurus as the No. 1 running back in America and he did not disappoint. 23 carries, 256 yards and a touchdown against a solid Dorman defense showed why he is so special.
The Cavaliers were paced by Junior All Everything Kendrick Lynche. Lynche carried the ball 19 for 195 yards rushing, caught 6 passes for another 118 yards and also made 5 tackles from his corner position despite missing most of a quarter with cramps. He scored 3 touchdowns as the Cavaliers outpaced the Wildcats 35-32 for their 4th win over Lexington in 3 years.
Another star on the horizon may be Rasheed Hunter of South Aiken. The Thoroughbred RB scorched the field for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns and has all the South Aiken fans looking at a great season and chance at a region title.
Over on the Grand Strand Coast, Tony Wallace at Myrtle Beach High might still be running up and down the field days later after rushing for 306 yards and 4 touchdowns last Friday night. His 306 yards was tops in the state and caught the eye of many teams and recruiters around the state.
This Friday night in Charlotte, NC will present a unique opportunity. The defending SC state 4A football champ will take on the defending North Carolina 4A Champ, Charlotte Independence Patriots. Chris Leak quarterbacks the Patriots and is regarded as No.1 High School QB in the USA. Doc Davis' Vikings will face a tall task at Shrine Memorial Stadium. The Patriots are ranked No. 7 in the latest USA Today HS poll and are riding a 31 game winning streak. Game time is 7pm and everyone in the Palmetto State wishes the Vikings the best of luck against the Patriots.Note: Dave Pickren runs the high school website, www.scpigksinprep.com, dedicated to recognizing the top players and teams around the Palmetto State. Check out the site for daily updates from around the state and features on the happenings in South Carolina High School Football.