It was hard to see Hilton Head Christian Academy’s offense follow up Hayden Shinn’s masterpiece aerial attack of 2019. Nine wins later, it’s safe to say that Jace Blackshear and JP Peduzzi just did it.
Blackshear accounted for all seven touchdowns, while the Junkyard Dogs forced four turnovers, and the region kings dominated rival Hilton Head Prep 49-0 Friday to cap off a perfect 9-0 regular season.
With HHCA shifting to their new Bluffton campus in 2021, this was the final game in a long and storied cross-island rivalry series.
The final score certainly didn’t tell the whole story, as the visiting Dolphins fought hard to keep this contest close early. An impressive defensive stand capped off by a third-down sack forced an Eagle three-and-out on their opening possession. Things couldn’t have started any better for Hilton Head Prep, but the momentum all came crashing down on the next play.
A muffed punt gave the ball back to HHCA, and JP Peduzzi did his thing, gunning the ball 43 yards to the end zone where Jace Blackshear won a jump ball to open the scoring. The Dolphins got a break of their own after a mishandled punt return set them up inside the Eagle 15, but holding and intentional grounding penalties pushed them backward.
Despite a couple of tough drives, Dave Adams’ squad kept on fighting. Luke Foley came up with a huge interception in the end zone to keep his team just seven points down midway through the second quarter. But it was only a matter of time until the high-powered Eagle offense found their top form.
After another Prep drive stalled, Blackshear started to catch fire. He scampered down the sidelines for 19 yards before finding Jackson Lanier, who powered through a host of Dolphins across the goal line to double the Eagle lead. Hilton Head Prep could not sustain drives on offense, and the Dolphins were sunk quickly with a barrage of penalties and turnovers.
After Cameron Strickland’s second interception in as many games, Blackshear danced around the Prep defense on his way to the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. Then he went back to the air on the next drive, completing a pair of passes to JP Peduzzi before a beautiful connection to Riley Shinn, who made a tremendous play on the ball on a fade to the left corner of the end zone to give the Eagles a commanding 28-0 lead at halftime.
HHCA shut the door on their rivals with a nine-play drive to start the second half, capped off by Blackshear’s third touchdown pass of the night, this time to freshman Isaiah Anderson. Blackshear finished off his memorable outing with two more rushing scores before the underclassmen took over. The Junkyard Dogs continued to feast in the second half, forcing a pair of turnovers and holding down their first shutout of the season.
Blackshear was the star of the show in this final edition of Hilton Head’s crosstown football rivalry. He threw for 192 yards, ran for 99 more, and hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass in a spectacular offensive performance. This game was his year in a nutshell, a dominant all-around effort by a talented athlete who has transitioned wonderfully from a wideout to a do-it-all offensive hybrid. He’s accounted for a whopping 13 touchdowns in just the last two games. JP Peduzzi caught eight passes for 78 yards to lead the Eagles in receiving, and both Strickland and Gage Zatalokin picked up an interception.
Hilton Head Prep’s Harrison Green completed 6 of 13 passes for 81 yards, and Tommy Stauffer led the Dolphins in rushing with 58 yards on 11 carries. Luke Foley had a tremendous game, catching five passes for 69 yards and picking off Blackshear. Loncelle Daley and Paul Carrabba each made five tackles on defense.
Hilton Head Christian (9-0) will begin their playoff run at home next Friday against Spartanburg Christian. Hilton Head Prep (3-5-1) will open the SCISA 2A playoffs at Carolina Academy next Friday.
Written by Wes Kerr