Photo courtesy of Beaufort County School District
By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
Anyone who has followed B.J. Payne’s Hilton Head Island High School football teams the past few years might be shocked to hear the pro-wrestler-turned-coach talk about the virtues of playing for field position.
But when you graduate two receivers who earned NCAA Division I scholarships and are as green on offense as this year’s Seahawks, sometimes you have to play “Tresselball,” as Payne calls it in reference to former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
The Seahawks won’t be the same explosive offensive team they were with receivers Bryce Singleton and Tyler Hamilton turning short passes into eye-popping touchdowns, but Payne hopes a fast, physical defense and a big-time kicker in Jonathan Orr will help HHIHS get by until the offense comes along.
The Seahawks will still spread it out on offense, but they might be more apt to run the ball than in the past. When they do throw it, returning quarterback Collin Kaiser has a couple of nice targets in Sterling White and Tyreke Young, a standout defensive end who will be more involved in the offense this year.
On defense, Young and TJ Johnson anchor a stout defensive line, while linebackers Landon Jenkins and Luke French are poised for big years, and Darius Hill, Lance Jackson, Christian Miller, and Cole DeMarzo make up what could prove to be an excellent secondary.
One area where Payne feels his team has improved is in terms of depth, as competition for playing time at many positions during the preseason have provided extra motivation, but he’s still waiting to see some new leaders emerge to replace a senior class that led by example.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND SEAHAWKS FOOTBALL
Coach: B.J. Payne
Record at HHIHS: 33-22 (6th season)
2016 record: 6-5 (2-3 region)
Returning starters: 4 offense, 5 defense
Offensive scheme: Spread
Defensive scheme: Hybrid 4-2-5
Top returners: WR Sterling White, DE/TE Tyreke Young, QB Collin Kaiser, DT TJ Johnson, CB Darius Hill, LB Landon Jenkins, CB/SB Lance Jackson, K/P Jonathan Orr
Breakout candidates: WR/CB Nate Brown, LB Luke French, FS/WR Cole DeMarzo, DT/RB Kevin Schofield, SS/WR Eli Hickey, CB Christian Miller
Outlook: If the Seahawks are going to win games this season, they’ll have to win ugly. The opener at Whale Branch is a dangerous one for an inexperienced team, and HHIHS opens region play with two difficult tests. Getting to six wins and making the playoffs would mark a successful season with all the Seahawks lost to graduation and a tough region slate.
|8/25||at Whale Branch||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||vs. Battery Creek||7:30 p.m.|
|9/8||at May River||7:30 p.m.|
|9/15||vs. Bluffton||7:30 p.m.|
|9/22||at Ridgeland-Hardeeville||7:30 p.m.|
|9/29||vs. Berkeley*||7:30 p.m.|
|10/6||at Cane Bay*||7:30 p.m.|
|10/13||vs. Colleton County*||7:30 p.m.|
|10/20||at R.B. Stall*||7:30 p.m.|
|10/27||vs. Beaufort High*||7:30 p.m.|
All content at LowcoSports.com is free because Lowcountry sports fans deserve great sports coverage, but it takes a lot of time and effort to provide comprehensive local sports news. If you love what we're doing and want to help keep this content available to Lowcountry sports fans at no charge, please consider making a one-time donation or becoming a Patreon patron with a recurring contribution. Think of it as an optional subscription fee.