To state the obvious, football feels pretty inconsequential right now.
Hurricane Irma has thrown a wrench into this week’s schedule, with most of the Week 4 matchups moving to Thursday night, and she’s threatening much more important implications.
For now, we’ll welcome the diversion for a few hours the next two nights, but when the stadium lights go out, hug your loved ones and start making plans to get out of harm’s way.
Here’s what’s happening on the field tonight and Friday:
Hilton Head Prep (0-2) at John Paul II (2-1), 7 p.m. Thursday
The Dolphins had a week to rest and prepare for this big rivalry matchup, but they still have a tall task ahead. Hilton Head Prep has been gashed on defense in its first two games, and John Paul II’s powerful running game is tough to stop. HHP quarterback Stone McDonald is a major force on offense, as well, but Prep will have a hard time keeping pace.
Prediction: John Paul II 42, Hilton Head Prep 27
Hilton Head Island (2-0) at May River (1-2), 7 p.m. Thursday
The best of the three Lowco-on-Lowco matchups this week, at least on paper. The Sharks have improved by leaps and bounds from a year ago and are coming off an impressive win at Whale Branch. May River’s ground game has been outstanding the past two weeks, but the Seahawks’ defensive front is pretty nasty and HHIHS’ offense is rounding into form.
Prediction: Hilton Head Island 23, May River 19
Beaufort High (3-0) at Whale Branch (0-2), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
The murderer’s row of an early-season schedule continues for the Warriors, who have a darn good football team but are still winless. Beaufort High’s only glaring weakness is the secondary, and Whale Branch is a run-first team. The Eagles are too big up front for Whale Branch to compete in the trenches, and their stable of running backs, including reigning RBC Heritage Player of the Week Kyleik Middleton, will do some serious damage.
Prediction: Beaufort High 37, Whale Branch 13
New Hampstead (2-1) at Bluffton (1-2), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
The Phoenix are one-dimensional on offense, but that dimension is a strong running game, which is bad news for the Bobcats. New Hampstead averages 250 rushing yards per game with dual-threat quarterback Jalen De La Fuente leading the charge. The Bobcats’ best hope is to win a shootout, which they’re quite capable of doing. It should be an enjoyable one to watch.
Prediction: New Hampstead 31, Bluffton 28
Hilton Head Christian Academy (1-1) at First Baptist (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
The Hurricanes (not the team you want to be playing this week, of all weeks) have blown through their first two opponents, blasting Burke (55-12) and Pinewood Prep (40-0). HHCA has the benefit of coming off an off week, but the Eagles still have a tall task ahead.
Prediction: First Baptist 41, Hilton Head Christian 13
Bethesda (0-4) at Thomas Heyward (1-2), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
The Rebels took their lumps last week against St. Andrew’s, but they’ll be the ones handing out the beating this week. Bethesda was blown out by a combined score of 168-24 in its first three games before losing 16-8 to a struggling Northwood Academy team last week. Look for Logan Thomas and J.R. Patterson to run wild for the Rebels.
Prediction: Thomas Heyward 48, Bethesda 12
Battery Creek (0-3) at Charleston Math & Science, TBD
Despite a release from the Beaufort County School District saying this game was cancelled, Battery Creek says it is still on for now. If the game is played, someone will get their first win of the season, and the odds look good it will be the Dolphins. The Riptide has been shut out in back-to-back games and outscored 131-22 this season, while Battery Creek has put up a decent fight against some strong competition.
Prediction: Battery Creek 26, Charleston Math & Science 13
Lake Marion (0-3) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (3-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
The Jaguars might be the most surprising undefeated team in the state, and they should remain that way for at least another week. The Gators have been pummeled by a combined 124-6 in their first three games, including shutout losses to Brookland-Cayce and Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Granted, those are some strong opponents, but a porous defense doesn’t bode well against an RHHS team that has some serious offensive talent.
Prediction: Ridgeland-Hardeeville 33, Lake Marion 13
Beaufort Academy (1-2) at Holly Hill Academy (1-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday
The Eagles have some confidence after claiming their first win of the season at previously-undefeated Patrick Henry Academy last week, and they’ve found a star in two-way standout DeShawn Epps, who racked up nearly 300 scrimmage yards last week. These teams share two common opponents – both lost to Clarendon Hall while BA defeated Patrick Henry and Holly Hill lost to the Patriots.
Prediction: Beaufort Academy 36, Holly Hill 32