It’s the relative calm before the storm. With the state’s public school teams set to begin next Friday, the area’s SCISA programs get one more chance to take the stage alone under the Friday Night Lights.
We only have three local games on the slate tonight, and only one being played here in the Lowco, so Team Lowco will be out in force at Thomas Heyward Academy for the Rebels’ date with Hilton Head Prep. If you’re at one of the games on the road, keep all of us posted via the ScoreStream app.
It looks like it could be another very good night for area teams. Let’s get to the SCISA Week 4 primer.
Hilton Head Prep (1-0-1) at Thomas Heyward (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
Our first Lowco-on-Lowco matchup of the season takes place in Ridgeland, where the Rebels will celebrate Senior Night and try to keep rolling after last week’s impressive win at Trinity Collegiate, while the Dolphins look to bounce back after an unsatisfying 14-14 tie with St. Andrew’s.
THA kicked it into high gear in the second half last week, as JR Patterson rolled up nearly 200 rushing yards and the Peyton Bennett-to-Bruzza Pusha connection remains in full effect, making the Rebels’ offense a handful to stop. Prep’s defense has played well and only allowed one offensive touchdown last week, but this will by far be its biggest challenge thus far. THA’s offensive line is big and physical, so the Dolphins’ depth in the trenches will be tested.
First-year starter Harrison Green has been solid at quarterback for the Dolphins, and the power-and-speed combo of Carson King and Tommy Stauffer has been effective both running the ball and catching it, but Prep hasn’t seen a defense like THA’s yet. The Rebels were able to control the line of scrimmage against a strong Trinity team, and if they can get pressure in the backfield consistently, it will be tough for HHP’s offense to get going.
The Dolphins are no pushover, but if the Rebels don’t make self-inflicted mistakes, they should roll to their third consecutive victory. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: Thomas Heyward 37, Hilton Head Prep 14
WK: Thomas Heyward 40, Hilton Head Prep 20
Hilton Head Christian Academy (2-0, 1-0) at Orangeburg Prep (3-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
If there’s ever a trap game for Hilton Head Christian Academy, it’s this week. After two impressive offensive showings to start the 2020 season, the Eagles will travel to Orangeburg Prep to face a sneaky-good Indian squad. After a season-opening win over John Paul II, Orangeburg Prep dominated Calhoun Academy and Dorchester Academy, allowing just six points in each of those two victories.
The Eagles will bring their unstoppable two-headed monster offense to Orangeburg armed with a couple of lethal weapons at their side. However, HHCA will be without dynamic two-way player Jayden Void for a few weeks after sustaining an arm injury in last week’s game. The efficient HHCA attack will have to navigate past two dangerous senior linebackers in Kenneth Fogle and Peyton Inabinet, along with Noland Boney, a menace on the defensive line. Watch for Dylan Wilson to be an impact player, after recovering a fumble and picking off a pass in the win over Dorchester. The Eagles will have to play smart, execute on the offensive line, and continue to fool defenses with a wide variety of looks and play calls.
On offense, the Indians emphasize the run game, led by Amir Tyler, Dylan Wilson, and A.J. Tolbert. But McCullough Mims has a respectable arm and can make plays with his legs as well. If the Eagles can dominate up front and plug the gaps with Jackson Lanier and the rest of the ferocious dogs, they’ll have a solid chance to outdo the Indians and control much of this game. It certainly won’t be an easy task against an Orangeburg Prep squad averaging 46 points per outing. This will likely be the toughest test for the Eagles in the region slate, and a convincing win here on the road should cement them as a true 2A contender again. — Wes Kerr
JJ: Hilton Head Christian Academy 31, Orangeburg Prep 24
WK: Hilton Head Christian Academy 34, Orangeburg Prep 22
Beaufort Academy (2-1, 0-0) at Northwood Academy (0-1, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Don’t look now, but the new kids on the 11-man football block are on a roll. BA followed up its impressive home win over Bethesda Academy with a gritty road win at Colleton Prep last week, and the Eagles are well-positioned to make it three straight in their region opener.
Braydon Dineen is growing into his role as the starting quarterback and is more than capable of making the defense pay if they commit too heavily to stopping the Eagles’ strong ground game led by Carlos Jones and Ja’Sean Lawson, and BA’s offensive line has been nothing less than impressive thus far. Given how well Hilton Head Christian Academy was able to move the ball against the Chargers, the Eagles should be able to put up some points, as well.
BA’s defense has been able to rise to meet some huge challenges already, so this week should be a relatively easy task for that unit. As long as the Eagles don’t give up big plays due to blown assignments or missed tackles, they shouldn’t have much trouble shutting down the Northwood offense.
— Justin Jarrett
JJ: Beaufort Academy 32, Northwood Academy 14
WK: Beaufort Academy 30, Northwood Academy 12
JJ: 4-0-1 last week, 10-2-1 overall
WK: 4-0-1 last week, 10-2-1 overall
Photo by Bryce Smith