Every Berkeley County School District football program sparks new campaigns on the gridiron on Aug. 19.
None does it with more shine than Stratford High School, though. The Knights travel to Orlando, Fla., for their first-ever clash outside the state. Kickoff from the Universal Studios Sports Complex against Avon, Ohio, is set for 6 p.m.
“I’m so appreciative of our administration,” Stratford coach Dennie McDaniel said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for our kids to go down and play at Universal Studios. We’ve got some kids who have never been down there. It kind of fell into our lap. Our kids are very excited about the challenge.”
The Knights are driving down the morning of the game and staying overnight. McDaniel has to hustle back the next day to help his daughter move into Anderson University on Saturday. He expects some on the team to make a quick vacation out of it in The Sunshine State.
On the field, Avon presents a tough test for the Knights. The Eagles have not tasted defeat very much the last dozen seasons. Avon has 12 straight campaigns of 10 wins or more with a 136-19 record since 2010.
“We know they have a very solid program,” McDaniel said. “I have a couple buddies from up around that way that say they’ve been very good for a long time. We’ve had a chance to exchange some film from last year and they’re a spread team. On defense, they’re a 4-3. They’re very well-coached and disciplined.”
Stratford gets extra time to recover and prepare for a Sept. 2 game at Lexington. The Knights are off Aug. 26.
Closer to home, Berkeley travels to Timberland, Cane Bay goes to Beaufort, Cross heads to Calhoun Academy, Goose Creek hosts South Florence, Hanahan welcomes Georgetown, Northwood Academy travels to Greenwood Christian, Philip Simmons rolls into Andrews and St. John’s Christian hosts The King’s Academy.
More on the Aug. 19 matchups below:
Berkeley at Timberland
Notes: Timberland finished 9-2 last year and Berkeley 2-6… The teams haven’t met since 2017, a 28-0 Berkeley victory… Timberland last won in the series, 22-15, in 2014… Stags lead all-time, 13-3… Four of Timberland’s six non-region games are against bigger schools.
Cane Bay at Beaufort
Notes: Cobras finished 9-3 last season… Beaufort played for Class AAAA title last year … Eagles have dropped to Class AAA in a region with Philip Simmons and Hanahan … First meeting between the two schools… Cobras offensive lineman Kameron Durant is committed to East Carolina.
Cross at Calhoun Academy
Notes: First meeting between two teams since 2009, a 24-13 win for Calhoun County … Cross was 2-5 last year … Calhoun County finished 7-5 last season… The Saints won their region and advanced to the third round last year for coach Wayne Farmer.
Goose Creek vs. South Florence
Notes: Goose Creek has won three straight region titles… The Gators last played South Florence, cruising past the Bruins, 48-27, in the 2019 playoffs… South Florence is led by Syracuse commit LaNorris Sellers at quarterback… Goose Creek quarterback Drew Moore is committed to Mercer.
Hanahan vs. Georgetown
Notes: The two teams last played in 2019, with Georgetown winning 20-6… The Hawks finished 8-3 last season and made the second round of the playoffs … Georgetown was 0-10 in 2021 … Hanahan coach Art Craig begins the season with 241 career wins.
Northwood at Greenwood Christian
Notes: Northwood is led by new coach Karl Lamont, who coached at Weiss High School in Texas last season … The Chargers didn’t win a game last season … Greenwood Christian was 2-8 in 2021 … Northwood is a SCISA Class AAA school.
Philip Simmons at Andrews
Notes: Philip Simmons moves up to Class AAA after making the third round of the Class AA playoffs last season … The Iron Horses finished 11-2 and were the last Berkeley County team alive last season … Andrews finished 2-6 … First meeting between the two schools.
St. John’s Christian vs. The King’s Academy
Notes: St. John’s Christian is now coached by Kevin Brown… Former Cavaliers head man Brandon Clontz has moved to defensive coordinator… The Cavaliers have advanced to the SCISA Class A semifinals each of the last two seasons… St. John’s Christian won the last meeting, 43-0, last season.
Stratford vs. Avon, Ohio (in Orlando, Fla.)
Notes: Played in Orlando, Fla., at the Universal Studio Sports Complex, this will be Stratford’s first-ever game outside the state… The Knights won their first playoff game in seven years last season … Avon has 12 straight seasons of 10 wins or more with a 136-19 record since 2010.