Here we are. Week 2. Still playing football.
That fact alone is a big win for everyone involved, even as we hold our breath and hope that the handful of COVID-19 cases that popped up among SCISA football players throughout the state this week can be contained and the season can continue.
So far, so good on the local front.
Hilton Head Christian Academy and Hilton Head Prep both have the week off after opening the season with victories, so only three area teams are in action tonight.
Here’s your SCISA Week 2 primer:
Bethesda Academy at Beaufort Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Beaufort Academy is the only game in town in Week 2, but it’s a tough matchup for the Eagles. BA’s introduction to 11-man football went fairly well last week, as the Eagles were in a close game until St. John’s Christian Academy pulled away for a 28-18 victory.
The Eagles will have to do more on offense to be able to hang with a Bethesda Academy team that put up big offensive numbers en route to a SCISA 1A runner-up finish a year ago. BA’s ground game has the potential to be tough, and Carlos Jones found the end zone twice last week, but the Eagles weren’t able to sustain enough drives.
They’ll need to do so tonight to keep the ball out of Blazers quarterback Antjuan McKay’s hands. McKay is a capable passer who does a good job of limiting mistakes, getting the ball to his playmakers, and hurting defenses with his legs when necessary. But he no longer has Jaden Wright (2,198 yards, 31 TDs) alongside him in the backfield, so that gives the BA defense a fighting chance. — Justin Jarrett
JJ – Bethesda Academy 42, Beaufort Academy 20
WK – Bethesda Academy 46, Beaufort Academy 12
Thomas Heyward at Dorchester Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Sometimes it can help to take an early-season beating against a great team. That’s exactly what happened for the Thomas Heyward Rebels. After a rough start against a powerful First Baptist offense, Nic Shuford’s squad will look to learn from the experience as they travel to Dorchester Academy on Friday to open region play.
The concern in the opener was the defense, as senior Will Daniel and the Hurricanes torched the Rebels through the air and Davian Brown’s could not be contained on the ground. Dorchester may not have the elite quarterback play and run game of First Baptist, but they do have a speedy and powerful receiver in Haden Hartzog. He was dangerous on both sides of the ball against HHCA, burning the secondary for a 70-yard TD and forcing a fumble early on in the game. If the Rebels can hold down Hartzog, which could be a bigger ask considering the play of the secondary in the opener, they should be able to shut down most of the passing game.
The Heyward offense looked good later on in the First Baptist game, and the Peyton Bennett-Bruzza Pusha chemistry should continue against a sub-par Raider defense. Dorchester’s D was gashed on the ground last week, and THA has a strong run game with JR Patterson rejoining the team and sharing the load with Pusha and Anthony Fripp. — Wes Kerr
JJ – Thomas Heyward 49, Dorchester Academy 19
WK – Thomas Heyward 42, Dorchester Academy 14
John Paul II at St. Andrew’s, 7:30 p.m.
One of the biggest contributing factors to John Paul II’s 10-game losing streak to start coach Chris Myers’ time at the helm has been a lack of depth that has resulted in opponents pulling away from the Golden Warriors in the second half. On that issue alone, the playing field should be more even this week at St. Andrew’s. The Lions are also lean, dressing about 20 players, but they do have a number of talented players who could give JPII problems. Most notably, veteran quarterback Connor Dodge is a three-year starter and fellow senior Grant Viands (6-2, 205) is a bruising fullback and hard-hitting outside linebacker.
It’s the season-opener for the Lions, who played a scrimmage against SCISA 1A power Bethesda Academy, while the Golden Warriors opened with a 54-21 loss to Orangeburg Prep last week. The offense showed promise in the opener, especially the ground game anchored by Mark Knight and quarterback Jeremiah Young. The JPII defense will have to be better than it was a week ago, but it also faces a better matchup against the Lions, who aren’t well-equipped to hurt the Golden Warriors through the air.
Myers was high on his lean and mean linemen in the preseason, and they’ll have a chance to be the deciding factor in a big road win. — Justin Jarrett
JJ – John Paul II 34, St. Andrew’s 30
WK – St. Andrew’s 35, John Paul II 23
Wes Kerr – 5-0
Justin Jarrett – 4-1