The dust has settled on Week 7 of the high school football season, which brought a few things into sharper focus.
Sure, there’s still a whole lot that’s unsettled, but we can start narrowing down the key games that will determine region titles (see below) in just about every region, and the games that will decide who goes to the playoffs and who gets an early jump on basketball season.
Here are Five Things I Think I Know after Week 7:
1. The region title showdowns are coming. As near as I can tell, four games over the next three weeks are going to end up directly determining region championships. It starts Friday when Thomas Heyward hosts Bethesda Academy in a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in SCISA Region 2-1A and continues with a Lowco-on-Lowco grudge match between SCISA Region 2-2A rivals John Paul II and Hilton Head Christian Academy on Oct. 19. The main event comes Oct. 26, when Hilton Head High travels to Bluffton — likely with the Region 7-4A crown on the line for at least one team, if not both — and May River goes to Wade Hampton in a game that’s likely to decide the Region 8-3A title. Buckle up.
2. Daniel Harrington is the real deal. The Hilton Head Christian Academy crowd has been singing Harrington’s praises for weeks, lobbying hard for him to get more love in the RBC Heritage Player of the Week voting. And they have a point. Harrington rarely comes off the field, starring in all three facets of the game. He accounted for five touchdowns in Friday’s 42-28 win over Orangeburg Prep – two rushing, two receiving, and one passing – and also has a kickoff return touchdown and a pick-six during the Eagles’ four-game winning streak.
3. Bluffton is a resilient team. We saw this in Week 1, when the Bobcats fought back in a wild 31-30 loss at Screven County, and we certainly saw it in Friday’s 28-14 win over Beaufort High. The Bobcats were licking their wounds after back-to-back blowout losses to powerhouse teams, but they came out strong and got their swagger back. Now they look like the frontrunner in Region 7-4A, though Colleton County and Hilton Head High will get a chance to say something about that.
4. Beaufort High is going to have to be resilient, as well. In light of the news that coach DeVonte Holloman was dealing with the loss of his sister just a day before Friday’s game, it’s understandable that the Eagles were out of sorts in their region opener at Bluffton. Some things are so much bigger than football, and hopefully Eagle Nation can rally around its first-year coach and lift him up in this difficult time.
5. There’s still time to salvage the season. For better or worse, the playoff set up in South Carolina dictates that the non-region season essentially is meaningless. That can be a tough pill to swallow for a team that starts hot but gets dinged by injuries at the wrong time (or plays in a brutal region like Whale Branch). But it can also be a team’s saving grace. Battery Creek’s 0-6 start looks a whole lot less daunting after a big region win at Lake Marion on Friday, and the Dolphins have a chance to continue their turnaround this week when they host Ridgeland-Hardeeville – another team that can save its season in the next three weeks. The goal at this point is to get in the tournament and let the chips fall where they may.
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