We’re another week closer to raising the stakes with the start of region play, and the picture is becoming clearer with regard to which teams are going to be contenders.
May River claimed another impressive win, and Thomas Heyward also stayed undefeated, while Hilton Head Christian Academy picked up its first win, Whale Branch got back on track, and Bluffton, John Paul II, and Beaufort Academy all won their second straight games.
After sorting through all that happened in Week 4, here are Five Things I Think I Know:
1. May River is growing into a monster. The Sharks gain confidence with every win, and each of their four wins has been even more impressive than the last. Their 55-11 rout of Hilton Head High on Friday was sheer domination, and they are set up well to win their next three games, which would make them 7-0 when they host Beaufort High on Oct. 12. The other huge game is their regular-season finale at Wade Hampton, which looks like a potential region-title showdown.
2. Bluffton and Beaufort High will be well-tested for region play. Bobcats coach John Houpt and first-year Eagles coach DeVonte Holloman made sure their teams would not feast on cupcakes in the non-region portion of their schedule this year. The Bobcats (2-2) have losses to Georgia power Screven County and undefeated May River, and they picked up a big road win over Hanahan on Friday. Next up they face Class 4A No. 1 Hartsville, Class 5A No. 8 Sumter, and a strong Richmond Hill (Ga.) team before moving into region play. The Eagles (3-1) have played strong Peach State opponents the past two weeks and travel to take on national power Valdosta (Ga.) this week, and they have a trip to May River mixed into their region schedule. The overall records might not be pretty at the end of the season, but the Bobcats and Eagles will be battle-tested for the playoffs.
3. We have some beasts in the backfield. I’m already dreading having to narrow down the list of outstanding running backs to pick the first and second team for the All-Lowco Team this winter. May River’s Brandon Morales, Whale Branch’s Irvin Mulligan, and John Paul II’s Zach Doe are putting up huge numbers, Thomas Heyward’s Hydra of a backfield is dominating, and Beaufort Academy’s De’Shaun Epps is putting up video game numbers (345 rushing yards Friday!), albeit in 8-man. That’s not to mention Beaufort High’s James Dagin and Ridgeland-Hardeeville’s Mar’Quese Grant, who are also having solid seasons.
4. Mark Clifford is mastering the 8-man game. Clifford was admittedly befuddled after his first game coaching at Beaufort Academy, but it’s clear that something clicked after seeing the 8-man game up close. The Eagles have scored 115 points in their last two games — both wins — and Clifford is excited about applying his knowledge and his “old-timey” offense on a new canvas. It’s going to be fun to see what unfolds the rest of the season for BA.
5. Friday’s games are in jeopardy. We’re officially on Hurricane Florence watch, which means ADs and coaches are going to be working overtime this week to figure out what to do about Friday’s games. We could see some games played earlier in the week to try to get them in before the storm, postponed until early next week, or canceled altogether. Or the storm could make a hard right and we could play as scheduled. This is old hat by now, so we’ll wait and see and keep you posted on any schedule changes.
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