On a chilly, early November night with a 4A-7 playoff spot hanging in the balance, the Hilton Head High Seahawks rose to the occasion.
Quarterback Gaston Moore threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, while Will Frith gashed the defense on the ground in the absence of Lavarus Brown, as Hilton Head High dismantled the Bluffton Bobcats 28-10, eliminating their rival from playoff contention and punching the Seahawks’ ticket to the dance.
The game was filled with explosive Hilton Head plays. Both of Moore’s touchdown passes were 60+ yard completions to Evan Elliott, demoralizing the Bobcat defense in the process. Frith’s 56-yard run to the Bluffton 4 helped set up another Seahawk score.
“We only got 27 guys on this roster, we also had a lot of guys hurt this week so some had to step up, and they were warriors this week”, HHIHS coach BJ Payne said. “Our kids are always ready. We had to find some different ways defensively (to beat BLHS). … On Senior Night the seniors stepped up and made big plays.”
Bluffton looked like they would run the show in the first several minutes, putting together a 10-play, 65-yard drive capped off with a Kylan Simmons 5-yard touchdown run. But the Seahawks turned the tide later in the half, with Moore’s quarterback sneak after Frith’s highlight scamper, followed by a 67-yard bomb when Moore escaped Bobcat defensive pressure and threw a dime to an open Elliott down the sideline.
The Seahawks went right back to it in the second half, and it was deja vu — a 72-yard touchdown throw from Moore to Elliott, who caught the ball cutting across the middle and outran the Bobcat defense the rest of the way. Frith took over from there, picking up first down after first down to salt away the game.
“(Frith) was a running back last year and was used primarily on defense this year,” Payne said. “Evan Elliott’s been doing it all year for us. He’s the guy everyone seems to forget about.”
The defense deserved just as much credit for the win. The group shot down seemingly every Lee Kirkland pass attempt in the second half, and Jaylen Sneed and Cole DeMarzo came up with interceptions for the Seahawks.
The Bobcats lost all control of their offense after their initial early-game spark. Kirkland completed just 42.3% of his passes (4 for 14 in the second half) for 87 yards and two picks, and Simmons and company were severely neutralized after that first drive, with the Bobcats scoring a lone field goal following the first-quarter TD. Hilton Head controlled the vast majority of the clock throughout the final 24 minutes as the Bobcats’ offense was continuously stalled.
The Seahawks (5-4, 2-1) have clinched the No. 2 seed in the Region 7-4A and will host Wilson in a first-round playoff game next Friday.
Bluffton (1-8, 0-3) finished the year losing six straight contests, with its sole win in 2019 a 47-14 victory against Hanahan.