Here are some statewide points of interest as the start of the 2013 prep football season fast approaches:
Christ Church has won two straight Class 1A division championships and brings the state’s longest winning streak – 26 games – to Columbia for its season opener at Heathwood Hall on Aug. 30. Lewisville (30 in a row, 1986-88) and Lamar (29 in a row, 2003-05) are the only 1A schools since 1970 to enjoy longer runs of uninterrupted success. The longest modern era winning streak is 41 games by Summerville between 1978 and 1981.
Tiny Lincoln High in McClellanville opens the season Friday at Academic Magnet mired in a 45-game losing streak. The long-suffering Yellow Jackets are just four losses away from shattering the all-time modern record of 48 consecutive setbacks by Waccamaw between 1999 and 2003. Ironically, Lincoln’s last win came against Academic Magnet on Sept. 19, 2008.
Summmerville legend John McKissick enters his 62nd season at the Green Wave helm with a career record of 602-147-13.
It’s not a stretch to predict winning seasons for traditional powers Blackville-Hilda, Central and Silver Bluff. In fact, the three model programs have the longest streaks of winning seasons in the state since 1970. B-H has not finished in the red since 1978. The Hawks passed the modern record of 33 straight winning seasons by Spartanburg (1970-2002) last year. Central is working on a streak of 31 straight winning grades. The Eagles from Pageland have never finished below .500 since the re-branded school opened in 1976. Silver Bluff, meanwhile, posted its 30th winning season in a row in 2012. The longest such streak in the Midlands is 19 by Batesburg-Leesville (1992-2010).
Eau Claire and Lower Richland are the two schools with the longest streaks of losing seasons. EC has not finished in the black since 1986, while LR has finished below .500 for 20 straight seasons.
Former Lower Richland and Dutch Fork coach Bill Kimrey officially returns to the sidelines when Calhoun County opens the season Friday at Swansea.
Hartsville was the only team in the state to run the table in 2012, going 15-0 on the way to the Class 3A state title. There was no undefeated South Carolina High School League team in 2011 for the first time since 1992.
The 2013 season got an early start on Tuesday in Charleston when Palmetto Christian upset Porter-Gaud in the SCISA lidlifter, 62-49. PC quarterback J.T. Waters dismantled the Cyclones with 296 yards passing and two touchdown throws and 314 yards rushing and six scoring runs on 33 carries. It looks like another banner season for offensive football in South Carolina.
FYI: Every record mentioned in this blog is based on results dating back to the 1970 season, which is considered to be the start of the modern era of high school sports in South Carolina. Why? The 1970-71 school year marked the start of fully integrated public schools across the state.