HSFB: Week 3 Primer

It’s a lean lineup in the Lowcountry tonight with only seven games featuring area teams, but what we lack in quantity we make up for with quality.

Three Lowco-on-Lowco matchups headline the Week 3 slate, and one of them is one of our three battles of unbeaten teams tonight. With Whale Branch traveling to May River for a intra-county matchup of undefeated teams, it’s the obvious pick for the LowcoSports Game of the Week, and that’s where I’ll be tonight. We also have Lowco-on-Lowco action with Hilton Head High at Battery Creek and Bluffton at Ridgeland-Hardeeville. Beaufort High hosts fellow unbeaten Effingham County, and we have our first region game of the season with Thomas Heyward traveling to Colleton Prep for another matchup of undefeated teams.

If you’re headed to a game tonight, check out the ScoreStream app, where you can post score updates, photos, and even chat with other fans about the game. It’s pretty great — and it’s FREE.

I had a better time picking winners last week, going 8-for-9, but I’m still a lackluster 13-5 overall, so take that these picks for what they’re worth (which is pretty near to nothing).

LowcoSports Game of the Week
Whale Branch (2-0) at May River (2-0)

An extended preview of this one is coming later this morning, but we’ll state the obvious here — this game should move at a rather brisk pace. Both teams run the ball — and run it well — which should keep the clock moving. The Sharks are coming off an emotional win at Bluffton and looking to avoid a letdown. The Warriors have been absolutely dominant through two games, but this will be their toughest test to date. In a matchup of two strong offensive lines and the area’s top two rushers in Whale Branch’s Irvin Mulligan and May River’s Brandon Morales, I give a slight edge to the Sharks on the defensive line, and that could be the difference.

Prediction: May River 28, Whale Branch 21

Hilton Head High (2-0) at Battery Creek (0-2)

The Seahawks have dominated their first two opponents on both sides of the ball, while the Dolphins have been perhaps the most disappointing team in the area through two weeks. Neither of those trends is likely to hold up forever, and the correction could begin tonight. Hilton Head has some injury concerns coming in, which is a problem for a team that lacks quality depth, and Walt Wilson will have Battery Creek ready to come out fighting. The Dolphins’ front seven is solid and will have to pressure quarterback Gaston Moore to keep him from getting the ball out to a bevy of dangerous receivers. Battery Creek quarterback Jordan Gwyn has put up good numbers in the first two games, but the Seahawks have one of the area’s best secondaries led by Cole DeMarzo and Christian Miller.

Prediction: Hilton Head High 33, Battery Creek 26

Bluffton (0-2) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (2-0)

Another matchup of the upstart undefeated team against the somewhat surprisingly winless squad. The Bobcats have been in both of their games and are seemingly too talented to be staring 0-3 in the face, but they certainly won’t have it easy tonight at Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School. The Jaguars have always had talent, and first-year coach Will Lampkin has them playing solid, disciplined football on both sides of the ball. Bluffton’s passing game will be the best the Jags have seen thus far, which will provide a new challenge, but RHHS has a ton of offensive weapons, too. This one could go down to the wire.

Prediction: Bluffton 28, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 27

Effingham County (2-0) at Beaufort High (2-0)

In the first of three straight games against strong programs from Georgia, the Eagles host a Rebels squad that hung 77 points in last week’s win over Groves. The Rebels do almost all of their damage on the ground, so they will test a Beaufort defensive front that has been solid through two games, but the secondary must be disciplined to avoid being burned by play-action. The Eagles appear to have one of the most dynamic offenses they’ve had in years with James Dagin leading the ground game and Jeffrey Smyth spreading the ball around. If they can keep the balanced attack going, they’ll have a great chance to stay undefeated in the DeVonte Holloman era.

Prediction: Beaufort High 31, Effingham County 27

Thomas Heyward (3-0) at Colleton Prep (1-0)

The Rebels will probably be tested at some point this season, but it won’t be this week. Colleton Prep has a solid team, but the War Hawks are entirely too reliant on the run to be effective against Thomas Heyward’s dominant defensive front. They’ll also have their hands full stopping the Rebels’ outstanding ground game led by JR Patterson, Trey Pusha, and Bobby Payne, all of whom average at least 9.9 yards per carry.

Prediction: Thomas Heyward 43, Colleton Prep 13

John Paul II (0-2) at St. Andrew’s (0-1)

The bad news for the Golden Warriors is that they’re 0-2, but the good news is they might have already played the two best teams on their schedule. St. Andrew’s had one of the best defenses in all of SCISA last season, pitching eight shutouts including one against JPII, but the early returns indicate the Lions have fallen off in a big way. They were blanked 34-0 by Bethesda Academy in last week’s opener, a rematch of a game they won 28-0 last season. Bethesda burned the Lions with big plays in the passing game, which isn’t JPII’s forte, but St. Andrew’s no longer has the defense that held Zach Doe to a season-low 46 yards on nine carries a year ago.

Prediction: John Paul II 23, St. Andrew’s 19

Beaufort Academy (0-1) at Laurens Academy (0-1)

Someone will get their first win tonight, as both of these 8-man teams lost shootouts by nearly identical scores in their openers. The good news for BA is that Laurens gave up more than 330 rushing yards last week, which bodes well for an offense led by running back De’Shaun Epps and dual-threat quarterback Dawson Coleman.

Prediction: Beaufort Academy 51, Laurens Academy 40

Photo by Andrea Fabian

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