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Summerville High School
Summerville

Call impressed with team’s focus during spring drills

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

SummervilleSummerville head football coach Joe Call came away from 2018 spring football practice feeling pretty confident about his 2018 team.

The Green Wave posted a 10-3 record last fall and several key players return to anchor this year’s team. Call and his coaching staff went hard and heavy with the team during spring drills and the coach says his team responded well.

“It was a good spring, really productive,” said Call, entering his third season as head coach. “I am very happy with the way things went in all aspects. We have some work to do in a few areas so the summer will be very important, but I thought our players had great focus and a great attitude all spring.”

The team participated in an offense vs. defense spring game format to end the session in late May. The defense was able to score points by coming up with stops, turnovers, and scores. In the end, the offense won the scrimmage, 40-37.

“I think what it showed was that our offense was able to do some good things but our defense also had some big plays and a good day overall,” Call said. “I would be concerned if one unit just really won by a big margin. What I saw was our team doing some good things on both sides of the ball. It was a lot of fun to compete.”

Offensively, Call says Summerville will have some new looks with the addition of new offensive coordinator Hunter Spivey. Spivey, a former all-state quarterback at Conway High, has solid college and high school coaching experience.

“His knowledge of offensive football is going to be a huge thing for us,” Call said. “We saw a lot of stuff in the spring and the kids got a good grasp. We will fine tune things over the summer but I think our offense has a chance to be really explosive.”

Anchoring that offense will be senior quarterback Johnathan Bennett, who will a third-year full-time starter under center. Bennett accounted for nearly 2,000 total yards last season, throwing for just under 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 6-1, 210-pounder made his college commitment on June 6th, choosing Liberty University as his next destination.

Call says Bennett is poised for a big season.

“He’s still developing as a passer but he made great improvement last season,” the coach said. “Coach Spivey is having a major impact on him. Johnathan has come a long ways in the last two years and I think his best football is ahead of him. Liberty sees his potential as well. He’s a great leader and he’s a team guy. He was 18-of-21 passing in the spring game. That’s real exciting stuff.”

Bennett, who also is a major run threat in the offense, will have four offensive linemen returning along the front. Senior Daylen Powell leads the way as a Division I prospect himself. Adam McKanna, Cole Collins and Ricky DeNigro also return along the front. McKanna, a 6-4, 270-pound junior, is a rising Division I prospect, according to Call.

Senior Pedro Rios returns as the most experienced running back but Call expects sophomore K.J. Rollins to be a major factor in the running game.

Junior Brody Hopkins (6-2) and senior Andre Banks head up a solid receiving corps. Brice Ravenel, a 6-4 outside threat, will be a factor, along with slot Cooper Moore, who transferred from Andrews. Another transfer, Isaiah Blaney, should be a contributor at tight end.

“We feel we have the personnel that will enable us to put a defense in a bind,” Call said. “We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football for us. We like our potential offensively with some of the things we can do.”

Summerville’s defense was a stout unit overall last season and several key parts return this fall.

It starts up front with senior tackle Ben Mitchum (5-11, 290), one of the top inside linemen in the state. Senior Cole Phillips led the Green Wave in tackles last season and returns at linebacker, along with senior Colby Taylor and junior Luke Taylor. Sophomore Cole Messina had a great spring and will start at one of the outside backer positions.

The top returner in the secondary is cornerback Derrick Larry. Kevon Gregory, a basketball player, looked good at the other corner during the spring.

“We’re going to be a very physical defense,” Call predicted. “Coach (Ahren) Self does a lot of stuff on defense and he has the players to do it with. Our linebacking corps has a chance to be great. They’re a physical, competitive group.”

Summerville will put in a lot of work over the summer in the area seven-on-seven passing leagues. The season opener is August 17th at home against Cedar Grove, Georgia. Wando will be the opponent the following week before the first road game at Goose Creek on August 31st.

The biggest non-region game is on September 21st when long-time rival Berkeley visits Memorial Stadium.

 

 

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