We reset the clocks over the weekend and now it’s time to reset the clock on the high school football season. But time is running out.
In fact, it ran out on three area teams Friday night, as they were eliminated from playoff contention, and everyone else is on notice this week (except for Beaufort High, but more on that later).
Win, or go home.
It’s crunch time, and we’re about to find out who every team really is. Here are Five Things I Think I Know presented by Coligny after Week 10 of the high school football season.
• Beaufort High is resilient. The Eagles didn’t fold after an 0-5 start, so I’m not sure why anyone would have expected anything different at halftime Friday. Everything went wrong for the Eagles in the first half at Colleton County, and they were in a 21-7 hole at halftime before roaring back with 24 unanswered points to clinch the region title. It has been quite a journey for a team on its third head coach in three seasons, but Beaufort High looks like a formidable team going into the playoffs, and an unexpected first-round bye should only help.
• BJ Payne has some moves. If you follow Hilton Head High’s pro-wrestler-turned-football-coach on Twitter, you know he has a tradition of getting down after a big win, and his performance after a 28-10 Bridge Bowl victory Friday was pretty entertaining. Payne had plenty to dance about, because the Seahawks are playing well going into a home playoff game against Wilson on Friday.
• May River misses Ridge Dowe and Jayden Void. Losing the Beaufort High game hurt, but losing two defensive starters during that game was much more impactful on the Sharks’ season. Dowe’s smart pursuit and sound tackling would have been immensely valuable against Wade Hampton’s misdirection-based run game, and Void might have been able to prevent a couple of big pass plays that set up Red Devil touchdowns. Losing two All-Lowco caliber players this late in the season is tough to overcome. The Sharks have one more week to coach up the reserves in hopes they can be ready to fill those vital roles in the postseason.
• De’Arius Hazel’s injury is devastating for Whale Branch. It’s one thing to lose a key player to an injury, but the Warriors lost their heart and soul Friday when two-way standout De’Arius Hazel suffered a broken leg in a 38-0 win over Battery Creek. Hazel is the team’s leading rusher and the No. 2 tackler, and the Warriors already had a tough playoff draw with a trip to Timberland. it will be even more difficult to get the road win without their senior leader. Hope for a full and speedy recovery.
• The sun came up Saturday morning. It came up over May River High School after a tough loss to Wade Hampton. Even over Bluffton High School, John Paul II, and Beaufort Academy, where there was an empty feeling after the final whistle Friday. Sure, those coaches and players are disappointed with the way things turned out this season, but for as much passion as we pour into it every Friday night in the fall, it’s important to remember it’s just a game. The lessons learned, the bonds forged, and the memories created live on no matter what the scoreboard says or which week in November you turn in your equipment.