HSFB 2022: 5 Things I Think I Know after Week 3

HSFB 2022: 5 Things I Think I Know after Week 3

Before we get to what we gleaned from Week 3 of the high school football season, here’s one thing on which I am absolutely certain we can agree — give the rain a rest already, at least on Friday nights.

After another wet evening under the lights, and what had to be a terribly depressing day for groundskeepers around the Lowco, we’re already for some nice, dry, preferably chilly football weather suitable for things like forward passes, field goals, and just, like, holding onto the ball.

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Well, maybe not everyone. The soggy start to the season hasn’t dampened the hopes of undefeated Wade Hampton or Thomas Heyward, and after picking up their first wins in the rain, maybe May River and HHCA wouldn’t complain about another moist outlook Friday.

And, hey, we have a bunch of turf fields now, so that’s a plus. But enough about the weather, here are … 

FIVE THINGS I THINK I KNOW AFTER WEEK 3

  1. May River has to make room for Jaiden Jones on offense.

Chalk this one up as a blessing in disguise, because an 0-2 Sharks team going into Ridgeland without two-way standout Darrion Perry seemed like a dicey situation, but thanks to Jones’ electric performance on offense Friday, May River now has one of those “good problems.” Jones was an All-Lowco running back as a sophomore before breaking out at defensive end last season, and the Sharks need him on Al Schmidt’s sneaky-good defense, but his 160 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries Friday convinced me we need to see more of him on the other side of the ball, too. He and Perry are sure to split carries, but I’d be surprised if the Sharks don’t start mixing in a two-back set to pair their thunder and lightning duo.

  1. Bryce Lybrand isn’t afraid to win ugly.

Sure, as a former offensive coordinator who still has his hands in that pot, Lybrand would prefer to see his Eagles score more than 36 points in three games, but I guarantee Lybrand the head coach only cares about putting a tally in the W column and getting better next week. And Beaufort has faced some pretty extenuating circumstances, including opening with 5A power Fort Dorchester, a running clock against Hilton Head, and a monsoon against Goose Creek. On the flip side, that defense is still dirrrrrty, and we get to see Colton Phares and company go head to head with a dangerous May River offense on Friday in The Tank, and neither team will care what the box score looks like if they end up on top.

  1. Matt Smith is a master motivator and a heck of a defensive mind.

Even though Hilton Head Christian Academy was 0-2 and had been outscored 82-14 in its first two games, Wes Kerr and I both picked the Eagles to beat 3-0 Ben Lippen at home on Friday night because we just couldn’t imagine HHCA losing a third straight game following a bye week. Part of that is the toughness Ron Peduzzi instills in his team, which showed a little of the junkyard dog he’s been looking for Friday night, but for me, an equally large portion of my confidence comes from defensive coordinator Matt Smith, who has shown time and again he can devise an effective scheme for every situation. More important, he has a way with words that his players respond to, and in this case, they came from his kid. Smith’s 9-year-old provided the evening’s mantra upon checking the forecast Friday morning: “It’s gonna rain tonight. Good, tough teams win in the rain.” That they do, kid.

  1. Christian Tilton is a gamer, and JPII is dangerous as long as he’s healthy.

Even after a brilliant offensive performance last Saturday against St. Andrew’s, when news that reigning LowcoSports Player of the Week Jackson Ogden was out with an ankle injury suffered off the field last week, I was concerned for the Golden Warriors. Little did I know Christian Tilton craves the spotlight. JPII’s junior quarterback stole the show in the WSAV Blitz CW Game of the Week, rushing for 222 yards and two TDs and adding a passing touchdown and a 75-yard touchdown on a free kick following a safety. The kid wants the smoke, and JPII’s offense is on fire with 112 points through three games and a potential shootout with Pinewood Prep looming Friday. As long as Tilton is under center, the Golden Warriors are going to be fun to watch and no fun at all to defend.

  1. Estill vs. Whale Branch is gonna be a battle.

It has been no secret that Whale Branch has been one of my favorite programs to cover in the Lowco year in and year out. I have a soft spot for the small rural schools where it truly takes everyone on the team, from the administration to the waterboy, to make Friday nights happen and it takes every player on the roster to endure a season of attrition. Your dudes are going both ways, no bones about it. Enter Estill. The Gators are cut from the same cloth, a blue-collar bunch that plays tenacious defense and grinds you to a pulp on offense. This has the potential to be a great new region rivalry, and the first installment Oct. 7 in Estill is shaping up to be an epic clash of top-10 teams in Class 1A. Can’t wait.

That’s a wrap on Week 3. Week 4 starts Friday. Until kickoff, Go Lowco.

LowcoSports founder Justin Jarrett brings things into focus with his column Lowco Perspective,
providing insight into the local sports scene and a behind-the-scenes look at LowcoSports.

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