It’s the first Friday night in October, and that means the stakes are a little higher, even if the game-time temperatures are not yet dropping. Seriously, Mother Nature, we’re ready for fall when you are.
We have some matchups that are worthy of the elevated mercury levels, though, including a couple of Lowco-on-Lowco battles in region play.
I had a rough time with my picks last week, going 7-4 to move to 43-12 on the season, but we have a few more cut-and-dried picks this week, so perhaps I’ll bounce back.
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.
LOWCOSPORTS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
Beaufort High (3-3, 0-0) at Bluffton (2-4, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.
We finally get our first real insight into what appears to be a wide-open Region 7-4A with a great intra-county matchup. Both of these teams have put themselves through the ringer with tough non-region schedules and should be well-tested. The Eagles have run the ball more effectively, but the Bobcats have a dangerous passing game. Both defenses have struggled at times against quality opponents. It looks like a toss-up from where I’m sitting.
Prediction: Beaufort High 27, Bluffton 24
May River (5-0, 1-0) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (2-3, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Sharks have been steamrolling everyone in their path, so it’s hard to see that ending this week. The Jaguars are coming off a bye week, but May River’s starters only played a quarter last week, so they’re fresh, too. RHHS has shown promise under first-year coach Will Lampkin and has plenty of talent, especially on offense, but the Sharks can attack a defense in so many ways and their front seven has been outstanding.
Prediction: May River 37, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 13
Battery Creek (0-6, 0-1) at Lake Marion (2-4, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Once again the Dolphins find themselves at a crossroads. They let their best chance yet to pick up their first victory slip away last week at Creekside Christian, but they have another opportunity when they travel to Santee for a region matchup in which the winner most likely will earn a playoff berth. Battery Creek’s offense has been disappointing, but perhaps it will get going against a Lake Marion defense that has allowed 34 or more points in four of the past five games, and the Gators have been shut out four times in their past five contests.
Prediction: Battery Creek 20, Lake Marion 13
Whale Branch (4-2, 0-1) at Barnwell (6-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors came crashing back to Earth with a home loss to Woodland last week, and now they’re staring 0-2 in region play in the face with a trip to face the No. 2 team in Class 2A. The Warhorses have outscored opponents 270-45. Whale Branch has the talent to hang with anyone, but the Warriors haven’t been playing up their potential. The offensive and defensive lines will have to come out and play inspired to give the Warriors a shot at the upset.
Prediction: Barnwell 40, Whale Branch 20
Spartanburg Christian (3-3, 1-1) at Thomas Heyward (7-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
This is a potential trap game for the Rebels, whose biggest challenge in region play likely awaits next week against Bethesda Academy. The Warriors have a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Palmer Thompson and a couple of capable running backs, and their defense might be the best the Rebels have faced thus far. But Thomas Heyward’s defense has been able to overwhelm more talented offenses, and the ground game is clicking on all cylinders.
Prediction: Thomas Heyward 35, Spartanburg Christian 13
Orangeburg Prep (2-3, 0-1) at Hilton Head Christian (3-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
The Eagles have won three straight in impressive fashion to establish themselves as potential region-title contenders. We’ll find out whether the label fits tonight. An HHCA win tonight would, for all intents and purposes, make their showdown with John Paul II in two weeks the de facto region championship game. HHCA is a tough matchup for many SCISA teams because of its ability to spread out the defense and pick it apart with quarterback Hayden Shinn throwing to a host of dangerous receivers. The Eagles should be able to put up some points; if the defense can come up with a few stops, they can make it four in a row.
Prediction: Hilton Head Christian Academy 28, Orangeburg Prep 27
Hilton Head Prep (1-4) at Bethesda Academy (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Dolphins have lost four straight, though two of them were heartbreakers that went down to the final seconds. Both teams have been inconsistent, but the Blazers have been able to get away with it thus far. Hilton Head Prep’s passing game should have success against a Bethesda defense that was torched in a loss to Hilton Head Christian Academy, but the Dolphins’ defense will have their hands full against a dangerous running game.
Prediction: Bethesda Academy 34, Hilton Head Prep 23
Northwood Academy (0-6, 0-1) at John Paul II (4-2, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Warriors have won four straight and put themselves in the driver’s seat in the region, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll let off the gas pedal this week. The winless Chargers are allowing 40 points per game and have given up more than 50 in the past two contests. JPII should be able to run up an early lead and get its stars out of the game to give them extra rest going into a bye week followed by a key game at Hilton Head Christian on Oct. 19.
Prediction: John Paul II 35, Northwood Academy 6
Beaufort Academy (4-1, 2-0) at Andrew Jackson Academy (5-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
This one is beyond intriguing. The road to the 8-man state championship goes through Ehrhardt, and that’s exactly where Mark Clifford’s Eagles are headed tonight. Andrew Jackson has won 42 consecutive games dating to 2014 and has claimed the past three state championships. The Eagles have scored 58 or more points in each of their four consecutive wins, but now they have to face the rare 8-man defense that can stop people. The Confederates have allowed 52 points in their first five games combined. This will be a big measuring stick for BA.
Prediction: Andrew Jackson Academy 52, Beaufort Academy 38
Photo by Andrea Fabian
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