Last week was one of the more fun opening weeks I can recall. Week 1 is usually ripe for mismatches, and we did have a few lopsided matchups, but we also had some great games.
Well, this week has a chance to be even more exciting. Week 2 has morphed into a de facto rivalry week with three Lowco-on-Lowco grudge matches on the schedule, as well as the heated Ridgeland-Hardeeville vs. Estill rivalry.
There’s a chance of scattered thunderstorms this afternoon (it is August in the Lowcountry, after all) but it looks like things should clear out before kickoff.
As always, if you’re headed out to a game tonight, consider downloading the ScoreStream app and posting score updates to help your fellow fans keep up with the action from around the area.
As you feel the rage rising about the predictions below, keep in mind that I was a less-than-stellar 5-4 last week.
LowcoSports Game of the Week
May River (1-0) at Bluffton (0-1)
The schools are only separated by 7.6 miles and the players on both sides were classmates and teammates until May River split off from Bluffton two years ago. Needless to say, the atmosphere will be electric. The game also figures to be competitive, as the Sharks made a big step forward last year and appear poised to contend for a region title this season, while the Bobcats had to replace a lot of key players. We’ll have an extended preview of this game later as the Game of the Week, but it’s an intriguing matchup of two offenses that are loaded with talented skill players. As with many evenly-matched contests, it probably comes down to whoever wins the turnover battle.
Prediction: Bluffton 26, May River 24
Beaufort High (1-0) at Battery Creek (0-1)
Another crosstown matchup of rivals who are just seven miles apart, and another one that has been less-than-competitive over the years. The Eagles have won 12 straight meetings dating to 2003, and the average margin during the streak has been 32.3 points. Battery Creek is on the rise, but the Dolphins came out flat in last week’s 31-9 loss to Whale Branch and will have to play well from the opening kick to end the drought. Beaufort High also got off to a sluggish start last week but pulled together in the second half for a 35-21 win over A.C. Flora in DeVonte Holloman’s head coaching debut.
Prediction: Beaufort High 33, Battery Creek 13
St. James (0-1) at Hilton Head High (1-0)
The Seahawks came out of the gate swinging in a 43-14 win over Savannah High, showing off a strong passing game and an impressive defense. Quarterback Gaston Moore had a solid debut as the starter, spreading the ball around to a bevy of talented skill players including Sterling White and Diante Richard, and Elijah Thompson had a monster game on defense. The Sharks were winless in 2017 but showed improvement in a 33-21 loss to Loris in coach Tommy Norwood’s debut at the helm. Running back Chris Anderson rushed for 112 yards in the opener, but the Sharks had a tough time stopping the run, allowing 7.3 yards per carry.
Prediction: Hilton Head High 37, St. James 20
Ridgeland-Hardeeville (1-0) at Estill (0-1)
The Jaguars have won the past two meetings, including a 47-0 blowout a year ago, and this could be the best team RHHS has had in years. Both teams are working with quick turnarounds after having to complete suspended games Monday, when the Jags rallied for a 27-14 win over Woodland and the Gators opened their campaign with a 24-14 loss to Allendale-Fairfax. Estill has just three wins over the past two seasons, and it will have its hands full with a talented Jags team tonight.
Prediction: Ridgeland-Hardeeville 34, Estill 13
Whale Branch (1-0) at Cross (0-1)
The Warriors were impressive in a 31-9 win over Battery Creek last week, as RBC Heritage Player of the Week Irvin Mulligan started his senior season with a bang (232 rushing yards, 2 TDs). The Trojans had trouble tackling in last week’s 26-0 loss to Burke, and that does not bode well against a powerful Whale Branch ground game. Cross is also looking for answers on offense after the graduation of star running back Nathan Walker.
Prediction: Whale Branch 37, Cross 6
John Paul II (0-1) at Thomas Heyward (2-0)
Whoo, boy, this one could be fun. Another backyard rivalry game featuring two schools that are 17 miles apart. Both teams boast powerful ground games with J.R. Patterson and Trey Pusha leading the way for the Rebels and Zach Doe and Freddie Aiken powering the Golden Warriors. The Achilles heel for both teams thus far has been pass coverage, but neither offense likes to put it in the air. This will be old-school football at its finest, and the Rebels appear to have an edge in the trenches.
Prediction: Thomas Heyward 27, John Paul II 20
Memorial Day (0-1) at Hilton Head Christian (0-1)
The brutal start to the schedule continues for the Eagles, who follow up their 33-21 loss to Thomas Heyward with a visit from the reigning GISA 2A champs. Memorial Day didn’t get much going on offense last week in a 34-6 loss to May River, but the Matadors will have the most dangerous player on the field in West Virginia commit Winston Wright. The Eagles moved the ball well through the air last week, but they’ll have a tough time keeping pace unless they can cut down the turnovers.
Prediction: Memorial Day 30, Hilton Head Christian 20
Hilton Head Prep at Colleton Prep
The Dolphins picked up a huge confidence-building win last week by routing Northside Christian 45-0, but the competition level steps up this week. The War Hawks had their opener against Branchville wiped out by bad weather when they were trailing 8-0 in the second quarter. Colleton Prep went 4-7 last season, and one of the wins was a 47-0 rout of the Dolphins. That was without quarterback Stone McDonald, though, and the Hilton Head Prep star had a huge game in the opener.
Prediction: Colleton Prep 27, Hilton Head Prep 25
Clarendon Hall at Beaufort Academy
The Eagles make their debut under longtime Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford with a tough matchup. The Saints won 46-28 last year, and they return one of the stars of that game in running back Tyrese Mitchum, but they have a big hole to fill at quarterback following dual-threat Dylan Way’s graduation. BA has talented skill players, including quarterback Dawson Coleman and running back De’Shaun Epps, who could be limited by injuries that have kept him out of practice a couple of days this week. How much Epps is able to play will be a huge factor in the outcome.
Prediction: Clarendon Hall 33, Beaufort Academy 30
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