BISHOPVILLE – It’s not that the past 41 victories haven’t been worth it. It’s just that Rudy Johnstone and his teammates and coaches have other things on their minds. Like the possibility of No. 42.
Johnstone returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns Friday night, highlighting Christ Church’s 42-14, season-opening win at Lee Central and enabling the Cavaliers to equal Summerville’s state record for consecutive victories.
Summerville established its mark from 1978 through 1980. Christ Church has piled up 41 consecutive victories since losing to Liberty in its second game of the 2011 season.
“We’re trying not to think too much about them,” Johnstone said. “Just think about the next game coming. We’ve got a tough one coming up next week with Abbeville. We’ve just got to go back and practice and prepare for that mostly.”
“It’s never been about the streak,” Cavaliers coach Don Frost said. “It’s always been about winning the last game. That’s what we talk about with our kids. We’re not putting any pressure on us. We just want to go out and play the best we can play.”
Christ Church, which has won three straight Class A state titles, struggled offensively, but won big nonetheless.
The Cavaliers took advantage of a short punt to score on a 4-yard run by quarterback Andrew Slade with 4:06 left in the first quuarter. Slade passed to Bobby Hudson for a 30-yard touchdown on the last play of the quarter to make it 14-0.
After Lee Central closed to 14-6, Johnstone responded with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, Johnstone scooped up a punt and zig-zagged 52 yards for a score.
“We’ve got great blocking and great setups on those punt returns and kick returns,” Johnstone said, “and it’s fun to just follow your blockers and watch them knock people over and sort of ease into the end zone. It’s a good feeling.”
“Somebody is going to get a gem in that kid,” Frost said of the Cavaliers’ senior wide receiver. “He’s got a work ethic better than anybody I’ve coached in 35 years. He is a stud. He’s strong as a bull. He runs good routes. He catches the ball. He is a main cog in our offense.”
Christ Church scored just more than a minute later on a 31-yard interception return by Drennan Quattlebaum.
The Cavaliers increased their lead to 42-6 when Slade tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Braxton Westfield with 11:30 remaining.