As the sun began to set after 2 1/2 hours of ground-and-pound football, Hilton Head Prep and St. Andrew’s were both searching for some last-second magic. But there was none to be found. As darkness fell on Sea Pines and heavy rain ensued, a hard-fought battle came to an end — in a stalemate.
Harrison Green and Carson King hooked up for Hilton Head Prep’s two touchdowns plus a two-point conversion, and the Dolphins played the St. Andrew’s Lions to a 14-14 tie to open up their 2020 home slate.
After a disappointing opener in which the Lions were held off the scoreboard by John Paul II, the visitors were hoping to establish some early offense and get some points on the board. They got it right on the opening kickoff. Junior Jayden Gordon picked up some blocks and sped down the left sideline, giving the Lions the points they desperately needed.
Hilton Head Prep looked for a quick answer with their two-headed run monster of Tommy Stauffer and Carson King, but they were gobbled up early on. They started to find some steam on their next drive before a blocked field goal attempt kept the home team off the board. But in the second quarter, Prep’s offense finally broke through as Green reversed the flow of the play, finding an open King, who rumbled up the Dolphins’ sideline to get on the scoreboard.
It was a battle of players wearing No. 33, as the Lions’ counterpart to King came up big on the ensuing drive. After a long Gordon run bailed out a holding call, Grant Viands took a pitch 30 yards to the end zone to give the Lions the lead again. The Dolphins then reached into their bag of tricks, as Stauffer took a pitch and unexpectedly threw deep to Will Gray for 48 yards, setting up a play-action pass from Green to King. Ditto on the two-point conversion, and the half ended in a 14-14 tie.
After the Dolphins turned the ball over on downs to start the second half, they got just the break they were looking for. A Loncelle Daley fumble recovery set up the Dolphins inside the St. Andrew’s 30. But after Stauffer was stuffed, Green couldn’t come up with the big throw, tossing the ball into the arms of Lions defender Ben Bingley.
The Lions were looking like road winners as the Dolphins couldn’t find an answer for Grant Viands late, but a couple of big plays by the Prep defensive front forced a missed field goal. Neither squad could land that knockout punch in the fourth quarter. After a Lion punt to the 1-yard line aided by the muddy grass, the Dolphins had one last chance, but the explosive play was not there. After a near-disaster on a last-second hook-and-lateral gaffe, the clock expired, and the game ended just how it started: a tie.
Green completed 4 of 12 passes for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both to King, who finished with 46 receiving yards along with 52 on the ground. Stauffer added 80 yards on 14 carries.
King led the strong defensive effort with seven tackles, six of them solo. Loncelle Daley recorded six tackles and recovered a fumble, and Stauffer added four stops.
Hilton Head Prep (1-0-1) travels to Thomas Heyward next Friday.
Story by Wes Kerr / Photos by Justin Jarrett