It’s never as good nor as bad as it seems. That’s the best advice anyone can give after one week of high school football.
In other words, whatever you think you learned from Week 1, it’s probably best to get a second opinion. And yet, here is this space devoted to trying to make sense of what we see on the field each Friday night and glean something definitive. Your results may vary.
Here are Five Things I Think I Know after Week 1 of the SCISA football season.
• Jace Blackshear is a star. Depending how closely you’ve been paying attention, this might not be breaking news. Ron Peduzzi has been raving about Blackshear for three years, and while he has been a solid contributor for the Eagles the past couple of seasons, he was somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Hayden Shinn and Daniel Harrington. No more. It was the Jace Blackshear show in Friday’s 40-12 rout of Dorchester Academy. That’s not to say that Blackshear is a one-man team — far from it, but he’s the leading man now, and he is ready for the role.
• An early win is everything for some teams. I’m not sure we make enough of how important it is for teams predicted to finish in the middle or back of the back to get an early victory. Success breeds confidence, which leads to rapid improvement. And it’s even more true this year. These are 14- to 18-year-old kids, so being a high school coach has always required at least a touch of psychology, and now they are living through one of the strangest and most stressful times in modern American history. Hilton Head Prep’s 30-20 win at Colleton Prep was the type of early victory that can change the trajectory of a season. John Paul II needs to earn an equally important “W” next week at St. Andrew’s, and Beaufort Academy needs to get in the win column early before the momentum starts to snowball in the wrong direction.
• Hilton Head Prep could be dangerous. I’ll be honest, I was not optimistic about the Dolphins’ chances this season, while my podcast partner Wes Kerr was more bullish on Dave Adams’ team. Although the lack of depth was my biggest concern, so far, it looks like Wes’ instincts were right. Harrison Green did his job, Tommy Stauffer and Carson King stepped up, and Prep closed out a solid road win. The Dolphins have a week off before a home tune-up against St. Andrew’s, and then they get their first major test with a trip to Thomas Heyward on Sept. 18.
• Thomas Heyward will be just fine. Maybe you weren’t familiar with First Baptist or remember the old First Baptist that was a perennial doormat in SCISA. That’s ancient history. The team THA played on Friday is a SCISA 3A power that sent last season’s star running back to Clemson and is reloaded for another run. The Rebels will get back on track this week at Dorchester Academy before another stiff test with a trip to Trinity-Byrnes, but don’t worry … this team will be in top form by playoff time, and not many SCISA 1A teams will be able to hang with them.
• Waiting for the stats has a different meaning this season. Under ordinary circumstances, we patiently wait for coaches to review their game video and collect the official stats so we can choose our Player of the Week and Unsung Heroes nominees. This week, we have to anxiously await another set of stats. Here’s to hoping the 20 large gatherings around the state Friday night don’t lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases, which could quickly derail this experimental step back into normalcy. It was fun to be distracted by football, but it will require a high level of personal responsibility to keep it going.
Written by Justin Jarrett