Another week, another outstanding slate of high school football games in the Lowcountry.
Playoff berths and region titles will be on the line all around the area tonight, so find your way to the Friday night lights and check out a game.
Here’s the full slate:
Colleton Prep (2-4) at Hilton Head Prep (1-6), 4 p.m.
The Dolphins have allowed 60 or more points in three straight games, and without quarterback Stone McDonald they don’t have much hope of keeping pace in a shootout. Colleton Prep is coming off a huge 48-40 win over Dorchester Academy and hopes to get through this one without incident before finishing with region games against John Paul II and Thomas Heyward.
Prediction: Colleton Prep 47, Hilton Head Prep 13
Colleton County (2-5, 0-2) at Hilton Head Island (3-3, 0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Seahawks have lost three of their last four games – by a combined 11 points. The Cougars have played their first two region opponents within a touchdown. Both teams basically must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s not a great matchup for HHIHS, which has been solid on defense but has had a tough time against strong passing offenses and will have its hands full with Colleton County quarterback Craig Grant. The Cougars’ weakness is stopping the run, so look for the Seahawks to get speedster Sterling White involved in the ground game.
Prediction: Hilton Head Island 36, Colleton County 33
Berkeley (6-1, 2-0) at Beaufort High (6-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
In a week loaded with compelling matchups, this might be the best of all. The Stags probably have the most balanced offense Beaufort High has faced to date, and quarterback Eric Tuttle will try to torch a secondary that has been the Eagles’ biggest weakness thus far. Kyleik Middleton and Beaufort’s ground game are a force, though, so this one could turn into another shootout like the Eagles survived last week at Colleton County.
Prediction: Beaufort 35, Berkeley 34
Wade Hampton (3-4, 1-0) at Bluffton (5-2, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The region title is on the line tonight at Bluffton as the Bobcats look for their fifth straight win. The Red Devils have played a tough schedule and have a monster of a running back in Pernell Maxwell, who averages more than 10 yards per carry and has scored 17 touchdowns. If this matchup took place early in the season, the Red Devils might have the edge, but Bluffton’s run defense has shown steady improvement, and the Bobcats’ offense will get theirs.
Prediction: Bluffton 31, Wade Hampton 28
Battery Creek (2-5, 0-2) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (3-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Both of these teams are trending in the wrong direction, but the winner Friday will virtually clinch a playoff spot. The Jaguars have lost three straight, albeit against some tough competition, and allowed at least 34 points in each game. The Dolphins haven’t been competitive in their first two region games, but their offense moved the ball on the ground last week against Bluffton.
Prediction: Battery Creek 33, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 27
Whale Branch (2-4, 2-0) at Academic Magnet (2-4, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Raptors shocked Region 6-2A when they won at North Charleston two weeks ago, and they did it again by losing to Garrett Tech last week. The Warriors want to make sure they don’t make it three straight stunning results. Whale Branch survived a subpar effort in a 21-16 win over North Charleston a week ago but needs to clean things up to stay perfect in region play. Irvin Mulligan, C.J. Brown, and the rest of the offense should be able to move the ball, but they need to hold onto it, as well.
Prediction: Whale Branch 23, Academic Magnet 13
Hilton Head Christian Academy (3-2, 1-0) at St. Andrew’s (7-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles bowed out of a tough matchup with Laurence Manning last week, but they face an even tougher one tonight in region opponent St. Andrew’s. The Lions have shut out six straight opponents and outscored their seven foes 332-6. This isn’t the week they’ll be challenged.
Prediction: St. Andrew’s 37, Hilton Head Christian 0
John Paul II (4-4) at The King’s Academy (3-4), 7:30 p.m.
Good luck making heads or tails of this one. JPII has been quite unpredictable – aside from the fact that Zack Doe will rush for 200+ yards and at least two touchdowns – and The King’s Academy has been similarly tough to figure. The teams have two common opponents and have reversed results against both.
Prediction: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (John Paul II 34, The King’s Academy 30?)
Dorchester Academy (5-2, 1-1) at Thomas Heyward (5-2, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Huge game alert! This looked like the region championship game until Colleton Prep upset Dorchester last week to throw a wrench into things. The Raiders must win this one to keep alive their hopes of forging a three-way tie, and they are capable of doing so. The Rebels have the momentum, though, having won four straight in impressive fashion and playing great on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Thomas Heyward 40, Dorchester Academy 32
Beaufort Academy (3-4, 1-1) at Coastal Christian Prep (2-4, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles have lost two straight with star running back De’Shaun Epps nursing an injury, but he should be back. Coastal Christian Prep has a one-man wrecking crew of its own in dual-threat quarterback Robert Crates. This should be a tight game, and the home-field advantage and veteran leadership might be the difference in favor of Coastal Christian Prep.
Prediction: Coastal Christian Prep 38, Beaufort Academy 34