Lowcountry High School Football Practice Kicks Off - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lowcountry High School Football Practice Kicks Off

Joe Marion starts 1st year at Stratford Joe Marion starts 1st year at Stratford
John McKissick starts 63rd year at Summerville John McKissick starts 63rd year at Summerville
QB's practice at Goose Creek QB's practice at Goose Creek
Kenny Walker begins practice at Ashley Ridge Kenny Walker begins practice at Ashley Ridge
Jeff Cruce enters his 4th year at Berkeley Jeff Cruce enters his 4th year at Berkeley
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One local high school football power began a new era on Friday while another continued an era over 60 years in the making as high school football practice kicked off around the Lowcountry.

Things haven't changed at Summerville where head coach John McKissick enters his 63rd year as the leader of the Green Wave. His team enters the season coming off an 11-3 year in 2013 that saw them come 1 point shy of making the AAAA Division 1 state title game. Quarterback Sawyer Bridges showed big improvements in his Sophomore season jumping from 7 to 21 touchdown passes. He'll be expected to improve even more as a Junior.

Among the almost dozen coaching changes in the Lowcountry for this coming season, none is bigger than at Stratford where Joe Marion replaces the legendary Ray Stackley who won over 270 games in his time with the Knights and took them to the AAAA Division 2 state finals last season. Marion will also have to replace last year's South Carolina Mr. Football in quarterback Jacob Park who is now playing for Georgia. But Marion has a lot of confidence in his new QB, Senior Jamison Mobbs who's backed up Park the last 2 seasons.

At Goose Creek, the Gators will try to do something they haven't had to do since 2010. Bounce back from a loss. Their undefeated season came to a screeching halt with a loss at home to South Pointe in last years AAAA Division 2 lower state semifinals. This season, Chuck Reedy returns RB Tyrik Johnson, who figures to take on a much bigger load with the graduation of Caleb Kinlaw, and brings in former West Ashley QB Pedro Manigault to replace Dantez Bennamon.

Ashley Ridge gets a big boost with the return of junior QB Steven Duncan this season. Duncan played his sophomore season at Porter-Gaud where he threw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Swamp Foxes will try to turn things around after going 8-3 last year. 

Wando is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season that saw them go 4-8 including 0-7 on the road. Kenny Waring leads a talented backfield after rushing for almost 1700 yards and 19 touchdowns last year.  

In Berkeley, Jeff Cruce enters his 4th season as the head man of the Stags and says he feels more comfortable now that all of the players on the team have been running his system for their entire high school careers. He says expectations are the highest they've been in his time at the school as they look to improve on last year's 5-6 record.

Timberland had, what they considered to be, a down season in 2013 going "only" 10-3. Art Craig is quick to note that last years team only had 5 seniors on it and a bulk of the talent from last season will be back to help the Wolves try and make another run.

For the 1st time in the last 3 seasons, Bishop England does not come into the year as the defending state champions in their class. But John Cantey and the Bishops return a lot of talent, led by OL Hudson Little. The Bishops have stacked the start of their schedule against teams like Wando, West Ashley and Hanahan to prepare for a postseason run. 

Porter-Gaud will have to not only replace Duncan at quarterback but also lineman Michael Preddy who is now at Georgia Tech. Head Coach Rick Reetz seems confident in his new quarterback, junior Kris Johnson who said he's hoping to set some records in his time playing for the Cyclones. 

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