By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
When you’ve covered sports as long as I have, you come to realize that knowledge is relative and fleeting. Some things you’re sure you know one week will be laid to waste the next, replaced with new hypotheses that are sure to be contradicted in time.
I say all of that to say that we learned some things about the Battery Creek, Bluffton, May River, and Ridgeland-Hardeeville football teams during Friday night’s Region 8-3A scrimmage at Battery Creek, but everything we gleaned could easily be wiped out when the games count for real next week.
So without further ado, welcome to the maiden voyage of Five Things I Think I Know:
1. Bluffton is going to put up some points. OK, maybe not as many as in years past, because new head coach John Houpt is more content to run the ball (and the clock) than former offensive mastermind Ken Cribb, but the Bobcats have some serious talent on that side of the ball. The offensive line is huge and experienced and will pave the way for a talented backfield, and outside receivers Shamar Sandgren and Jermaine Patterson can fly. Be afraid, defenses, be very afraid.
2. The Creek is on the rise. On the opening day of practice, I boldly predicted that new coach Walt Wilson would quickly turn things around at Battery Creek, and I’m even more convinced of that now. Wilson has a tall task of changing the culture at the Creek, but it already has begun and Friday’s 8-7 “win” over May River (quotations because it was two quarters and ultimately doesn’t count) will help make believers out of everyone. Wilson’s post-scrimmage speech had me fired up, and I don’t have a dog in the fight.
3. The Dolphins have some juice on offense. Sure, they only scored eight points in a half, but Battery Creek moved the ball effectively on almost every series and has some talented playmakers. Quarterback Jordan Gwyn is a solid dual-threat guy, Treyvon Chancey is a solid receiver, and Eddie Dean is an absolute monster who can run or catch the ball. The offensive line is very young, but if they can put it together and the Dolphins can minimize the self-inflicted wounds, the offense could be explosive.
4. May River is much improved. What exactly that means, I won’t even claim to think I know. The Sharks were outscored 507-75 during last year’s 2-9 campaign, so they could be a whole lot better and not see much progress in the win column, but the offense moved the ball last night despite a decidedly vanilla approach, and the defense did a good job of getting off the field with the exception of the final drive.
5. Ridgeland-Hardeeville has some work to do. Granted, the Jaguars had a tough draw going up against Bluffton on Friday, but they looked the least ready-for-primetime of the four teams. With that said, there is potential there, and there certainly were bright spots, including a long pass completion, a touchdown run that was called back, and a three-and-out stop by the defense to start the scrimmage. Now they need to work on getting the bright spots to outweigh the mistakes and missed assignments.
And one bonus thought, but this is one I’m 100 percent certain about: It felt good to get back under those Friday night lights. I’ve been out of the high school sports writing game for a few years, and while I haven’t missed everything about it, seeing a community turn out to cheer on the local high school football team on a Friday night has always been one of my favorite things. It’s good to be back. Let’s do it again next week – for real, this time.