By Steve LeMaster
May River High School opened its doors to students during a highly-anticipated first day of the 2016-17 school year, and fall sports teams have been busy practicing.
The May River High School football program’s fan base is already growing as many are eager to watch the Sharks on the gridiron.
The May River roster features only a few upperclassmen. Head coach Rodney Summers is set to guide a young May River football team. Several younger players will have an opportunity to contribute for May River throughout the Sharks’ debut campaign.
Summers was announced by the Beaufort County School District as the first head coach of the Sharks program in February. May River is poised to complete in the SCHSL’s Region 8-AAA. Bluffton will serve as the Sharks’ crosstown rival and a region counterpart.
An experienced coach, Summers has been serving as the head coach of the Westwood football program since it started in 2012.
Summers and his wife, Tina, have two teenage sons, Vance and Bryce, both of whom are students at May River High School.
During a successful stint at Westwood, Summers guided his team to the state playoffs in three out of four seasons. Under Summers’ guidance, the Redhawks finished 11-2 in 2014, allowing him to claim Coach of the Year honors from the South Carolina Football Coaches Association. He was also named the South Carolina Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Art Baker State Coach of the Year in 2014.
Summers is looking to implement much of what he had in place at Westwood with the May River football program.
Westwood finished the 2015 season 9-4. The Redhawks fell to Greenwood in the second round of the 2015 Class AAAA Playoffs.
The district received 70-plus applications for the May River High School football position. Summers was one of five candidates who were selected for in-person interviews.
Brett Macy serves as May River’s athletic director. May River High School has hired multiple coaches for various sports after selecting Summers.
An accomplished educator, Summers is teaching physical education at May River High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Coastal Carolina University and a master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy.
The young Sharks will face numerous tough tests during their first season. Along with Bluffton, eight other opponents await the Sharks, who will likely make many other rivalaries in a short amount of time.
May River is scheduled to visit Hanahan for its season opener on Friday, Aug. 19. After the season-opener, May River is slated to visit cross-town rival Bluffton for the first of two meetings in the 2016 season.
After back-to-back away games, May River is due to host Whale Branch for its home opener on Friday, Sept. 2.
Kickoff for the May River-Hanahan football game is set for 7:30 p.m.
Top photo: There are many young players on the May River Sharks football team, but they have an experienced coach in Rodney Summers. Photo courtesy of May River High School.