The opening-day jitters are out of the way — for everyone except Beaufort High, anyway. The Eagles will finally open their season on their new home turf tonight, and four other public school teams from around the Lowco will be in action, including a Lowco-on-Lowco battle between rivals Bluffton and May River.
SCHSL Week 2 is here, and here’s your primer to get you ready for kickoff.
Battery Creek (1-0) at Hanahan (1-0)
Battery Creek did something last week that the Dolphins hadn’t done in six years — win a season opener. And not only did the Dolphins win, they won in convincing fashion.
Coach Terrance Ashe was able to establish his game plan of putting the ball into the hands of a talented trio of Jaeon Allen, Jacove Anderson and Jeremiah Dillbert. Anderson, the dual threat QB, recorded over 200 yards combined in the air and on the ground in last week’s victory. Allen, a two-way threat, showed skills on both sides of the ball while collecting a rushing score and a pick six. Dilbert also had a long touchdown run. Expect more out of this trio against Hanahan.
The Hawks had a strong showing last week as they put 52 on the Cougars. Tonight’s game will feature two strong offenses and it’ll come down to which defense can make the least amount of mistakes. Feels like it could be a toss up tonight, but Creek’s dynamic trio should be enough to push out the victory. — Brackin Lambert
JJ: Hanahan 26, Battery Creek 21
WK: Battery Creek 28, Hanahan 24
BL: Battery Creek 24, Hanahan 20
Whale Branch (1-0) at Military Magnet (0-1)
The Warriors ran all over St. John’s in a 33-0 win to open their first season in Class 1A, and they should be able to do the same to the Eagles in their first road test of the season.
Quarterback Jaylen Reeves ran wild against the Islanders, so look for Military Magnet to key on him, opening up opportunities for Joseph Hicks and Jadon Grant to carry the load on offense. The Warriors’ offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage last week, so there should be plenty of running room against a Military Magnet team that was blasted 44-0 by Cross last week.
Whale Branch’s defense stymied what was expected to be a solid St. John’s team, and they are poised to put the clamp down on the Eagles and try for a second straight shutout tonight. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: Whale Branch 34, Military Magnet 0
WK: Whale Branch 38, Military Magnet 6
BL: Whale Branch 35, Military Magnet 7
James Island (0-1) at Beaufort High (0-0)
The title defense finally begins for the Beaufort Eagles, hosting region newcomers James Island. And they get it to kick it off on their dazzling new turf field, which should give them an even stronger edge at home. Rushing extraordinaire James Dagin may be gone, but they do bring back starting quarterback Tyler Haley, who will make his first start in nearly a calendar year. He’ll look to find his rhythm against a subpar Trojan defense. After May River gashed James Island in the run game a week ago, expect the Eagles to use Phares and Amariee Morris early and often.
The defensive line should feast on a Trojan offense who struggled to move the ball in the opener. Andrew Bullard is an excellent lineman, but the Eagles’ depth on the defensive front with budding stars Eamon Smalls,Theo Washington, and Alvin Wilson should overwhelm James Island in this one. The first game always brings in nervousness, and with little room for error in order to make it to the postseason, the Eagles will need to avoid self-inflicted mistakes. If they can execute and avoid unforced errors, the talent and home-field advantage will do the rest, and the Eagles will soar past the Trojans. — Wes Kerr
JJ: Beaufort 28, James Island 7
WK: Beaufort 24, James Island 14
BL: Beaufort 28, James Island 13
Bluffton (0-1) at May River (1-0)
The Crosstown Showdown has been a rather unusual rivalry in its first four years, as the balance of power has quickly swung in the Sharks’ favor. After being trounced 77-3 and 50-0 in the first two meetings in 2016, May River closed the gap in a pair of losses (24-16 and 24-14) in 2017 and took the upper hand the past two seasons, though their 2018 win was vacated for using an ineligible player.
May River would appear to have a big edge in this one, as well, after the Bobcats struggled on both sides of the ball in a 28-7 home loss to Colleton County last week, while the Sharks easily handled fellow Region 7-4A newcomer James Island by the same score on the road.
Sharks quarterback Ahmad Green is the catalyst for a dynamic offense and found the end zone three times last week, and if he can get past the line of scrimmage and hot defensive line recruit D.J. Aiken, he should be able to find room to break big runs.
Running back Kylan Simmons was a bright spot for the Bobcats last week, going over 100 rushing yards with the team’s lone touchdown, but Bluffton will need to get something going in the passing game to prevent the Sharks from clamping down on the run. That will be easier said than done with an inexperienced quarterback and a strong May River defense that can pressure the passer and cover downfield. — Justin Jarrett
JJ: May River 40, Bluffton 14
WK: May River 42, Bluffton 21
BL: May River 38, Bluffton 20
JJ: 3-1 last week, 3-1 overall
WK: 4-0 last week, 4-0 overall
BL: 4-0 last week, 4-0 overall