HSFB: Week 8 Primer

Football season won out over hurricane season this time around, and in spite of the remnants of Hurricane Michael passing through the Lowcountry this week, the Friday Night Lights will be shining in just a few hours.

In fact, Michael did us a bit of a favor and gave us a 2-for-1 special this week, as Hilton Head High preemptively moved its home game against Colleton County to Saturday.

It’s an odd schedule for this point in the season, as we only have eight games featuring local teams, and three of those are non-region contests. There are some high-stakes matchups, though, including a couple of Lowco-on-Lowco clashes, a couple of games with major playoff implications, and one that will decide a region title.

After a subpar performance in Week 6, my picks were better last week. I went 8-1, improving to 51-13 on the season.

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.


Beaufort High (3-4) at May River (6-0), 7:30 p.m.

Despite being a non-region game, this is the most intriguing matchup of Week 8 – a Lowco-on-Lowco battle that spans the Broad River. It’s been a while since the Sharks have played a meaningful second-half snap – they’ve won their past three games by at least 34 points – but this will likely represent their toughest test since Week 3 against Whale Branch. If nothing else, the Eagles matchup better in the trenches than perhaps anyone the Sharks have faced. Beaufort has lost four straight since a 3-0 start and did not play well last week at Bluffton, but the Eagles certainly are capable of making this one interesting. They’ll also have emotion on their side, as they’ll be without head coach DeVonte Holloman, who lost his younger sister last week. The Eagles are fairly tough against the run, which bodes well for Beaufort, but the secondary will have to be disciplined against a May River offense that does a good job of picking its spots to stretch the field. The key for May River will be getting off to a quick start and forcing the Eagles to try to play catch-up, which is not their strength. I’ll have color commentary for this one on WSAV-CW, but don’t let that deter you from tuning in.

Prediction: May River 28, Beaufort High 21

Ridgeland-Hardeeville (2-4, 0-1 Region 8-3A) at Battery Creek (1-6, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.

This was a close runner-up for Game of the Week status, simply because it’s a Lowco-on-Lowco matchup with playoff implications. Both teams have struggled this season, but both have a chance to salvage their season in region play, and a win tonight would be a big step in that direction. The Jaguars have lost four straight since a 2-0 start, but they’ve done so against a pretty tough slate of opponents, and they definitely have the offensive weapons to do some damage. The Dolphins finally have some momentum after picking up their first win last week at Lake Marion. The quarterbacks – Jertaveon Smalls for the Jags and Jordan Gwyn for the Dolphins – carry the offenses, and the one who makes the fewest major mistakes is most likely to guide his team to victory.

Prediction: Ridgeland-Hardeeville 27, Battery Creek 26

Whale Branch (4-3, 0-2 Region 5-2A) at Allendale-Fairfax (1-6, 0-2), 7:30 p.m.

Just a couple of weeks ago the Warriors were climbing the Class 2A rankings, and now they’re fighting for a playoff spot. Back-to-back losses to start region play have Whale Branch with its back against the wall and facing a trip to Allendale, where a victory is far from a given. The Tigers have taken their lumps the last two weeks, too, getting hammered by No. 2 Barnwell and No. 4 Bamberg-Ehrhardt, but they played some tough teams close early in the season and are better than their record would indicate. Whale Branch needs its huge senior class to take charge and play like they want to extend their careers beyond the regular season.

Prediction: Whale Branch 26, Allendale-Fairfax 13

Bethesda Academy (5-1, 2-0 SCISA 2-1A) at Thomas Heyward (8-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m. 

Barring something totally bizarre, this one will determine the region championship. And barring something totally bizarre, the Rebels should once again take care of business. The Blazers have beaten up on lesser competition, but they were knocked around by Hilton Head Christian Academy and narrowly held off Hilton Head Prep last week. Thomas Heyward has been steamrolling opponents on the way to this week, which the Rebels had circled on their schedule from the start of the season. There’s no reason to believe the Rebels won’t keep rolling.

Prediction: Thomas Heyward 40, Bethesda Academy 14

Hilton Head Christian (4-2) at Colleton Prep (3-4), 7:30 p.m.

After four consecutive wins, the Eagles step out of region play for a week ahead of next week’s region-title showdown with John Paul II. The timing makes this a dangerous game for HHCA, and this is a somewhat worrisome matchup for the Eagles. The War Hawks are big and physical, which could present some problems for a more finesse-based HHCA team, but Colleton Prep will have a heck of a time covering all of HHCA’s talented skill-position players, including reigning RBC Heritage Player of the Week Daniel Harrington. HHCA quarterback Hayden Shinn should be able to pick apart the defense, as long as the Eagles can keep him upright.

Prediction: Hilton Head Christian Academy 37, Colleton Prep 20

Dorchester Academy (3-4) at Hilton Head Prep (1-5), 4 p.m.

The Dolphins’ losing streak is up to five games, but that belies the improvement they’ve shown from last season. Hilton Head Prep has a one-point loss at Colleton Prep and a three-point loss to John Paul II during the streak, as well as last week’s 29-20 setback at Bethesda. The Dolphins have done a respectable job on defense against some solid offensive teams, and they’ve surrounded quarterback Stone McDonald with enough weapons to make the offense dangerous. They should find themselves in another close game this evening.

Prediction: Hilton Head Prep 27, Dorchester Academy 25

Beaufort Academy (4-2, 2-1 SCISA 8-Man 1) at Cathedral Academy (1-5, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

Any questions about just how good the Eagles are were put to bed in last week’s 40-28 loss at Andrew Jackson Academy. Yes, it was a loss, but it was the closest game the Confederates have played since last year’s state championship game. The Eagles shouldn’t have any trouble getting back on track against a Cathedral team that was routed 62-48 at Patrick Henry last week.

Prediction: Beaufort Academy 60, Cathedral Academy 13

Colleton County (2-4, 0-0 Region 7-4A) at Hilton Head High (4-2, 0-0), 7:30 p.m. Saturday

This game takes center stage Saturday night, and it’s a big one. It’s the region opener for both teams and could prove critical to both teams’ playoff hopes. Sure, there will be more opportunities, but there’s no time like the present. The Seahawks could look like a different team, as they’re coming off a bye week and expecting to get at least some of their injured starters back. Hilton Head High’s passing game should be able to spread out the Cougars and do some damage.

Prediction: Hilton Head High 27, Colleton County 13

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