By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
We’re at the midpoint of the high school football season, which means the stakes are higher from here on out. It also means we’re starting to get enough of a sample size to really have a feel for who can contend for region titles – or more – as we head into October.
Week 6 saw some big-time individual performances – which you’ll see when we compile a doozy of an RBC Heritage Player of the Week ballot – and some exciting finishes.
After mulling over everything, here are Five Things I Think I Know from Week 6 of the high school football season:
1. The Lowco has some dynamic duos. We’re not going to call them the next Montana-to-Rice (look them up, kids) but Bluffton’s duo of Hunter Eldridge and Jermaine Patterson and Hilton Head High’s combo of Collin Kaiser and Sterling White are pretty special. Eldridge and Patterson hooked up for four TDs in last night’s 51-22 win over Whale Branch, and Kaiser and White did the same in a 53-12 win at Ridgeland-Hardeeville. Opposing secondaries beware.
2. The SCISA stars are shining. The biggest knock on private-school football in South Carolina is the play in the trenches, and it’s true that SCISA teams don’t have the bulk up front that their larger public counterparts possess. But, boy, are there some exciting skill-position players to watch in the private-school league. Thomas Heyward’s JR Patterson and Logan Thomas, John Paul II’s Zack Doe and Melik Frost, Hilton Head Christian’s Daniel Harrington and John Burke, Hilton Head Prep’s Stone McDonald, and Beaufort Academy’s De’Shaun Epps are all having great seasons and worth the price of admission.
3. May River is the real deal. Don’t be fooled by the Sharks’ 1-4 record – this is a team with a legitimate shot at winning the Region 8-3A title. May River lost to Bluffton by 8, Beaufort High by 2, and Manning – the No. 5 team in Class 3A – by 1. The Sharks get another shot at the Bobcats on Friday, and if they can flip the result they’ll be in the driver’s seat to win the region.
4. Irvin Mulligan is the man. The Whale Branch running back is averaging 123 rushing yards per game after rolling up 184 yards and two touchdowns against Bluffton – all against Class 3A and 4A schools – and now he and the Warriors get to pick on teams their own size. With region play starting Friday, Whale Branch will better be able to compete in the trenches, especially late in games when both teams’ players have been playing both ways.
5. Battery Creek is learning how to win. The biggest challenge first-year coach Walter Wilson faced when taking over the Dolphins was changing mindsets and building confidence. With two straight wins heading into region play, he is succeeding. The Dolphins got the job done in crunch time Friday, beating Calhoun County – Wilson’s former team – 29-22 in overtime, providing another sign that they are turning the corner and will be a dangerous team in region play and beyond.