Spartanburg vs. Summerville: The Ghost of Big John

John McKissick went 621-155-13 in football games as Head Coach at Summerville High School.  He won 10 State Championships. Summerville has history, tradition and all the things you could ever want for a successful high school program.That’s how you become a “ghost” while your still breathing the low country autumn air.

Spartanburg has history, tradition,won a few rings and all those things as well. These Programs collide this Friday Night in the season opener at Memorial Stadium. On Paper,History looks nice. Between the lofty trees of John McKissick Field..It will look exactly like what it is. History.

Even time needs to stop looking over its broad shoulders..History will always be there, but it only actually happens once.This is the one time this group of players, coaches, cheerleaders, parents, fans and of course you and I…will get to see this game on this night in August of 2017. That’s more rare than the “Great Eclipse”


While The Ghost Of Big John may still linger in the stands on Friday Nights. Summerville is looking more forward to making history with Head Coach Joe Call. While the teams and blood of kids before are a part of a well-respected history. Quarterback Johnathon Bennett will once again lead the Green Wave in a balanced attack along with 6’5 Wide Out Shaq Davis. Summerville is expected to be better on defense. Last Season the Green Wave Defense recorded a few shut outs and gave up over 50 at other times.


The 6’1 189 pound QB who has an offer from Coastal Carolina and being watched by a few others prepares for a huge season opener against Spartanburg by staying focused.

Spartanburg won last years game 28-20 and Bennett showed although he is considered a Pro Style Quarterback, he can ruin you with his legs and open field ability.

Summerville finished last season 7-6 with a playoff loss to Dutch Fork. On the season Bennett was 113-208 passing for 1,545 yards and threw 13 touchdowns passes for the Green Wave. He also ran for 823 yards and 9 scores. I’m sure The Ghost of Big John is proud.

There is one player who a lot of Viking Fans cannot wait to see get in the trenches,maybe introduce himself to Bennett with a sack or two!!! Maybe even an Interception? Thats Joshua A. Villegas. The 6’1 290 pound defensive tackle had about the best moment a kid could have at The Woodruff Jamboree where Spartanburg beat Chapman 31-7.

“Chapman was charging down the field and we needed a stop to keep them out of the end zone,”said Villegas. “When the pass was deflected I knew I had the chance to make a big play.” The field crossing sideline run bulldozed its way beyond the Viking Bench where players and coaches starting celebrating. Joshua continued,”Scoring would have been great, but it was not my main focus. I wanted to gain as many yards as possible to put our offense in a good position to score.”


When I asked Josh about Summerville he said. “the history is talked about,some of the coaches experiences ,but we know we have to prepare for Summerville by lifting weights,watching film, and focusing on getting better everyday.”

Spartanburg is all about making “new” history. Projected Starting Quarterback Keonte Cartledge knows he has a huge task ahead of him in leading the Vikings.”I’ve been fighting for the starting position all summer long and had some days I just wanted to give up but my support system kept me from giving up”,said Cartledge. “I watched film all night long sometimes trying to figure out what could I do to get better, now I feel like I’m getting back in the groove.” Keonte went on to say,”One of the toughest parts about preparing for the season is becoming a vocal leader. I struggle sometimes, but most of the people on the offense are my best friends.They are always willing to point out the little things that I could do better.”


I’m sure The Ghost Of Big John would be proud of that also.


So Friday Spartanburg will travel to Summerville … A team that has one of the few distinctions of a winning record against the Vikings.The Green Wave hold a 7-4 series lead. Blue and Gold will fill the visitor side with our history and our tradition. The Battle will begin,the season will draw its first bruises.

I know Big John likes watching history…

Hopefully, Time will be generous and give us the moments that make memories ..and the memories to not only make history,but to actually witness it,to be a part of something that will truly only happen once.

Besides,…My team isn’t playing in the “Great Eclipse..”





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