By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
HILTON HEAD ISLAND – One man doesn’t make a football team, but Kyleik Middleton makes Beaufort High School’s football team a whole lot better.
Middleton returned from a separated shoulder to rush for 209 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries, leading the Eagles to a 41-7 win at Hilton Head Island High School on Friday.
“He always runs hard,” Beaufort guard Caleb Burgess said. “He’ll hit the hole if it’s there, and he’ll hit the hole if it’s not there.”
The win propelled Beaufort (7-2, 3-2 Region 8-4A) to the No. 3 seed in the SCHSL Class 4A playoffs and eliminated the Seahawks from playoff contention. The Eagles will open the postseason at Myrtle Beach next week.
Beaufort’s 6-0 start was derailed when Middleton separated his right shoulder in the first half of a 23-14 loss to Berkeley two weeks ago, and he played only one play in a 49-33 loss to Cane Bay last week. He said he wasn’t 100 percent Friday, but he made his presence known to the Seahawks early on, breaking a 56-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game.
The Seahawks (4-5, 1-4) stayed in it with some impressive defensive stands and tied it at 7 on a highlight-reel 11-yard touchdown pass from Collin Kaiser to Diante Richard with 9:57 left in the half. Middleton capped a scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge for a 14-7 halftime lead and finished off another drive with a 1-yard scoring run to make it 21-7 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles finally put the Seahawks away when Middleton went 66 yards for a touchdown on third-and-long to make it 28-7 with 10:05 to play. Trae Heyward and Logan Adkins added late touchdown runs for Beaufort.
After losing the battle in the trenches the past two games, Beaufort’s offensive and defensive lines were dominant against the Seahawks. The defensive front kept pressure on Kaiser and held Hilton Head High to negative rushing yards, and the offensive line paved the way for 330 rushing yards.
“Everyone got their heads together and we started performing the way we wanted to,” Middleton said. “We kept moving the ball. What more can you ask of them? I love my offensive line.”