Every week we get to write about Lowco high school football is a big win.
And speaking of big wins, Beaufort Academy and John Paul II hope to build off big ones they picked up last week and keep the momentum rolling tonight, while Hilton Head Prep and Hilton Head Christian Academy look to pick up where they left off before last week’s byes, and Thomas Heyward gears up for a clash of defending state champs.
The Dolphins will kick it off with a Sea Pines Matinee Special against St. Andrew’s, and then we’ll roll into an exciting evening slate of SCISA Week 3 matchups.
As always, if you’re out at a game and able to post updates to the ScoreStream app to help other fans follow the action, you’ll be a friend to many. Let’s take a look at the SCISA Week 3 primer:
St. Andrew’s at Hilton Head Prep, 5 p.m.
The Dolphins will open their home slate against a team searching for their offense. After John Paul II shut out St. Andrew’s to grab its first victory since the 2018 season, the Lions will come into this one desperate to show that last week’s offensive showing won’t be the trend.
With third-year starter Connor Dodge at the helm along with power running back Grant Viands, it would be surprising to see the unit fall off the tracks for the second straight week. Hilton Head Prep’s defensive core with Carson King and Ezron Daley will have to show their aggressiveness early and try to force the ball out of Viands’ hands as much as possible. Senior Ben Bingley will be a tough force to match on the offensive line and Will Livingston is a solid threat at wideout.
The key factor for the Dolphins will be their offense. Harrison Green has not had the quarterbacking experience compared to Dodge, and the Lions come into this game with a strong linebacking group and secondary. It will be up to Green and the offense to find creative ways to get the ball to Tommy Stauffer and King, a dynamic duo of speed and power.
It may not be a region game, but it’s certainly a key opportunity for the Dolphins to back up their thrilling comeback in the opener. If the offensive group can get in sync early on and the linebacking tandem can make some plays on Viands, the Dolphins will be looking at their first 2-0 start since 2011. — Wes Kerr
JJ: Hilton Head Prep 23, St. Andrew’s 13
WK: Hilton Head Prep 22, St. Andrew’s 20
Hilton Head Christian Academy at Northwood Academy, 7:30 p.m.*
We saw a heck of a preview two weeks ago of what HHCA’s new-look offense could entail, and we should see more of the same against a rebuilding Northwood Academy team. This will be the Chargers’ first game of the season, after their season opener with Carolina Academy and last week’s game against Colleton Prep were canceled due to players on the opposing teams testing positive for COVID-19.
Losing eleven seniors to graduation, Northwood has some work to do going into the new year, especially on the defensive side. The visiting Eagles should be able to feast on a Chargers defense that will have some growing pains in the new season. Expect to see Jace Blackshear and JP Peduzzi continue their scrambling success while throwing checkdowns to Cameron Strickland and Jayden Void. All the Eagles need to do is execute on the simple plays, and their talent advantage should do the rest.
Northwood still has some solid returnees on offense, including running backs Desmond Dwight and Sheldon Watkins. Like the Eagles, they will tend to employ run plays using direct snaps, making it important for the defensive front anchored by Kent Camp to win the battles at the line of scrimmage. If Ron Peduzzi’s aggressive defense can get to the run game early and HHCA can put up a bunch of scores quickly, they should have no trouble getting past the Chargers. — Wes Kerr
JJ: Hilton Head Christian 42, Northwood Academy 12
WK: Hilton Head Christian 54, Northwood Academy 20
Beaufort Academy at Colleton Prep, 7:30 p.m.
No one should be sleeping on the Eagles at this point. The transition to the 11-man game made BA a bit of an unknown quantity going into the season, but after pushing a sneaky-good St. John’s Christian Academy team in the opener and knocking off SCISA 1A runner-up Bethesda Academy last week, the secret is out that the Eagles are going to be a problem.
Carlos Jones is developing into a workhorse back who is dangerous in the open field, and BA has several others who can help carry the load, and quarterback Braydon Dineen and the passing game should be able to take a step forward against a somewhat-shaky War Hawks secondary.
BA’s defense was even more impressive than the offense last week, slowing down a dynamic Blazers offense. It’s a different challenge this week, but certainly not a more difficult one. The War Hawks are fairly one-dimensional, so if the Eagles can slow down the run and force Colleton Prep to the air, BA should come home with a second consecutive victory. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: Beaufort Academy 32, Colleton Prep 20
WK: Beaufort Academy 30, Colleton Prep 22
John Paul II at Bethesda Academy, 7:30 p.m.
A week ago, this one might have looked like a blowout, but we learned a bit about both of these teams last Friday. John Paul II should be playing with renewed confidence after a 6-0 win at St. Andrew’s ended an 11-game skid dating to the 2018 SCISA 2A state championship game, while Bethesda looked out of sorts at times in a 36-28 loss at Beaufort Academy last week.
JPII’s defense stepped up big against the Lions, but the Golden Warriors will have their hands full trying to duplicate what BA did to the Blazers last week. Bethesda quarterback Antjuan McKay is a true dual threat — he passed for 262 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 143 and two scores in a losing effort last week — who forces defenses to think twice before bringing pressure. The Warriors will have to be disciplined to avoid allowing him to freelance and turn good, assignment-based defensive plays into big offensive outbursts.
It’s a near-certainty that JPII will need more than six points to get the “W” this week, and the Warriors should be able to move the ball against a Bethesda defense that gave up 234 rushing yards against BA. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: Bethesda Academy 30, John Paul II 20
WK: Bethesda Academy 32, John Paul II 26
Thomas Heyward at Trinity Collegiate, 7:30 p.m.
It’s not all that often you get a clash of defending state champs, especially this early in the season, so this one could be a real treat for those who make the trip north. Go ahead and throw out last year’s 55-14 Titans victory in Darlington, which was the start of a rough three-game stretch that ultimately turned THA’s season around.
The Rebels are probably a more talented team at this point in the season than they were when the teams last met, though they’re still far from reaching their full potential as they ease new players into new roles. Things seem to be clicking just fine on offense, though, with Peyton Bennett under center and plenty of weapons at his disposal to do damage on the ground or through the air, including Bruzza Pusha, who is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
The defense got off to a rocky start in the season opener against First Baptist, but Trinity Collegiate’s offense isn’t quite as loaded as it was a year ago — though that’s not exactly an indictment considering how potent the Titans were in 2019. THA’s secondary should have things on lockdown with Ridgeland-Hardeeville transfer Jordan Mikell joining the mix this week, so if the Rebels can force the Titans into third-and-long situations, they’ll have a great chance to keep the defense fresh and get the offense back out there to put up points. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: Thomas Heyward 27, Trinity Collegiate 20
WK: Thomas Heyward 38, Trinity Collegiate 30
Wes Kerr: 1-2 last week, 6-2 overall
Justin Jarrett: 2-1 last week, 6-2 overall
Photo by Jim Killian Photography