Photo by Todd Stowe / Todd Stowe Photography
By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
Here we are eight weeks into the high school football season and two weeks into region play, and five area teams are still unbeaten in the region.
Beaufort High School is still undefeated overall, though the Eagles had the fight of their lives Friday at Colleton County.
It will come as no surprise, then, that this weeks edition of Five Things I Think I Know centers largely around how the playoff picture will shake out over the next three weeks. All 12 area teams technically are still alive in the playoff race, though a handful have their hopes on life support.
1. Beaufort High fans better take their heart meds. If you cheer for the Big Green and have a touchy ticker, maybe sit out the next few weeks. The Eagles are 6-0 for the first time since 2008, but if the first two weeks of Region 8-4A play are any indication, their final three regular-season games are going to be nail-biters. With the exception of Stall, the other five teams in the region are incredibly evenly matched, and after surviving a 46-38 thriller at Colleton County on Friday, Beaufort hosts Berkeley and Cane Bay the next two weeks before finishing up at Hilton Head High. All three games figure to be great matchups.
2. Playoff spots will be decided this week. Even though we have three weeks of regular-season games left, postseason berths will be on the line Friday night. One of them will be at Hilton Head High, where the Seahawks host Colleton County in a matchup of two teams that are 0-2 in region play but could just as easily be 2-0. With Beaufort, Berkeley, and Cane Bay all sitting at 2-0 and Stall seemingly destined for sixth place, Friday’s winner likely will end up as the region’s No. 4 seed. Battery Creek at Ridgeland-Hardeeville also appears to be a clash that will decide who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t in Region 8-3A.
3. And a couple region titles might be on the line Friday. While Cane Bay will have something to say about it, Beaufort High’s home game against Berkeley this week could end up deciding the Region 8-4A title, and the Dorchester Academy-Thomas Heyward winner Friday in Ridgeland almost certainly will be the eventual SCISA Region 2-1A champ. Bluffton can virtually clinch the Region 8-3A title with a home win over Wade Hampton, and Whale Branch can solidify its position as the Region 6-2A favorite with a win at Academic Magnet.
4. May River could run the table. The most dangerous one-win team in the state became the most dangerous two-win team in the state with a 34-8 rout of Ridgeland-Hardeeville on Friday, and the second-year program is in position to not only make the playoffs but potentially host a first-round game. The Sharks have a week off to prepare for their final two regular-season games, a road contest at Battery Creek on Oct. 20 and a home game vs. Wade Hampton on Oct. 27. If they win both, they’ll be at home for the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, where their excellent read option game and stout defense will make them a tough out.
5. Picking an all-area team is going to be a tall task. Just for grins, try to pick the top two running backs in the Lowcountry. If you didn’t rattle off at least four in your head, you didn’t try hard enough. Now pick just one quarterback. There are at least three who are worthy of strong consideration. You can repeat that at every position, and throw in the classic conundrum of how much weight the competition level is worth when considering someone like John Paul II’s Zack Doe, who leads the entire state in rushing, albeit against a SCISA Class 1A schedule, versus someone like Beaufort High’s Kyleik Middleton or Whale Branch’s Irvin Mulligan, whose numbers won’t be quite as eye-popping but have come against a higher level of opponent. It’s a good problem to have, because it means I get to cover some amazing student-athletes every week.