Photo by Bob Cragin
By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
Zack Doe had some huge games for Hilton Head Christian Academy last season, but nothing like the performance he turned in against the Eagles on Friday night.
Doe rushed for 305 yards on 27 carries and scored four touchdowns, including a 10-yard score on the final play that lifted John Paul II to a 26-20 double-overtime win over Doe’s former team at Richard Gray Sports Complex – the Golden Warriors first win as an 11-man program.
It’s the second straight year Doe has been the deciding factor in the game – he rushed for a career-high 234 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 26-21 win over JP2 last season – and Friday’s performance reinforced that adding the powerful junior running back instantly establishes the Golden Warriors as playoff contenders.
“I know they rely a lot on me, but I tell them all the time that I also rely a lot on them,” Doe said. “I can’t get as many yards as I can get, and I can’t have big games, without them blocking and stuff like that.”
The Eagles built a 14-0 lead on a pair of Daniel Harrington touchdown passes before Doe got going with a 62-yard touchdown run that pulled the Golden Warriors within 14-6 at halftime. HHCA was driving to go back up by two scores on the first possession of the third quarter when JP2 forced and recovered a fumble on its own 6.
Doe popped a 20-yard touchdown run with 11:01 left, and quarterback Nyleem Wright ran in the two-point conversion to tie it at 14. After a defensive stop, Doe again marched the Golden Warriors down the field and punched in the go-ahead score from the 3 with 7:13 left.
After Adrian Skipper’s stop on fourth down gave the ball back to JP2 with 3:02 remaining, the Golden Warriors were unable to pick up a first down to run out the clock, and Harrington returned the ensuing punt to the 6-yard line with less than a minute to play.
Harrington hit Brennen Studenc two plays later for a touchdown to pull the Eagles even, but Mark Tigges blocked the PAT to force overtime.
Both defenses came up with huge stops in the first overtime, and the Golden Warriors kept the Eagles out of the end zone again in the second extra session. HHCA stopped Doe on first down from the 10, but the former Eagle broke free on second down and strolled into the end zone to give the Golden Warriors their first win in 11-man football.
“We’ve check-marked that first one,” John Paul II coach Kevin Wald said. “And when you do something once, you’re going to do it again.”