Gators erupt for school record
The Goose Creek Gators expect to be in everybody’s crosshairs.
So does their gifted running back Caleb Kinlaw.
So far this season, though, being primary targets for opponents has done nothing to slow either down.
Kinlaw scored four touchdowns for the second straight week and the Gators amassed a school record point total in a 77-30 victory over Colleton County on Friday at John Fulmer Field.
The point production surpassed the old mark of 72, set two seasons ago against Wando, and gave the Gators their 42nd win in 44 games. It was the eighth straight victory against Colleton County, among the worst programs in the state these days.
“I expect every team to play hard against us,” said Kinlaw, a Georgia Tech commitment who finished with 164 rushing yards. “We know we’ve got a big target on our backs.”
Fellow running back Tyrik Johnson added 104 yards and three touchdowns for the Gators (2-0), who rolled up over 600 yards of offense. A week earlier, Goose Creek scored 56 points and topped the 400-yard mark against Ashley Ridge.
“We’ve said all along we had a chance to be really good on offense,” Gators coach Chuck Reedy said. “We weren’t trying to set a record (in the second half). We had young guys in there and they want to score when they get in there. I was glad to see them make some plays.”
After Kinlaw’s 10-yard touchdown run with 5:02 left in the third quarter gave the Gators a comfortable 42-18 lead, Reedy opened the floodgates for his backups. Kinlaw scored on efforts of 7, 20 and 7 yards in the first half.
Johnson scored twice in the final 1:51 of the third quarter and then again with 8:11 remaining. His scoring scampers covered 4, 1 and 31 yards.
“I try to teach him the things I know,” Kinlaw said of his junior teammate. “I kind of try to take him under my wing and do whatever I can to help him. He listens well. He’s talented and he’s a hard worker.”
Backup quarterback Dominique Jefferson ripped off a 31-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left, making it 70-30 and giving the Gators a shot at the new record.
Colleton County coughed up a fumble on its next possession and fullback Evan Ulery, up from the JV squad and not listed on the varsity roster, pounded one in from the 2 to give the program its new high mark in points.
“We tell them they’re not backups,” Kinlaw said. “They’re just players behind us. They need to do the same things we do. They need to work hard and fight for spots, and take advantage of their chances.”
Gators senior quarterback Dantez Bennamon had another solid performance, finishing 8 of 11 for 148 yards and a 28-yard scoring strike to Jordan Barnes. Barnes made six grabs for 111 yards.
Fullback Evan McField tacked on 96 yards and scored once on a 1-yard plunge. Kicker Alex Jacobus was perfect on 11 extra-point attempts.
If there was a sore spot on the record-setting night it was that the defense gave up 30 points and over 460 yards to a team now mired in a 36-game losing streak. The Cougars had also not scored in the last three games in the series.
Colleton County (0-2) answered the Gators twice in the first quarter, only trailing 14-12 after the opening period. The Cougars cut it to 28-18 with 1:05 left in the first half before running out of gas.
Cougars quarterback Ramon Hall was 9 of 23 for 131 yards and an interception and also rushed for 81 yards. He scored on a pair of short runs. Nikeal Simmons led all Colleton County rushers with 85 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown score in the fourth quarter.
“We extended their drives on three different occasions tonight when we had them stopped,” Reedy said. “We’ve got to get that corrected.”
The Gators head to Summerville on Friday. The Green Wave is 2-0 after knocking off Berkeley 43-20.
Goose Creek has won three in a row in the series, including last season’s 49-14 victory. Reedy expects the Gators to get all they can handle this time, though.
“It will be as tough a game as we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “They’ve got good players. They are very well coached and they’ve got great tradition over there.”