With a region title on the line, the Beaufort High Eagles delivered their best performance yet.
The Eagles soared into the postseason with dominance in all three phases, downing Hanahan 49-14 at home Friday to secure the Region 8-3A championship. It’s a remarkable third region crown in four years for Bryce Lybrand, who also led Beaufort to the SCHSL 4A state championship game in 2021 – the only year his Eagles didn’t capture a region title.
“They did a great job,” Lybrand said. “We asked them to just come out tonight and click early, and for the first half, that’s as good as we’ve played in all three phases. Everybody did their job, really proud of them.”
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The tone was set on Beaufort’s first defensive stand of the game, as Jeyden Simmons and a swarm of Eagles pummeled Hanahan quarterback Jaden Cummings and recovered his fumble to set up the offense at the Hawk 28. Lybrand turned to his newfound workhorse back to get the job done, as Kacy Fields found a hole on the left side and blazed past a diving defender for an 8-yard touchdown.
Beaufort’s swarming defense forced a quick three-and-out, and Eagle quarterback Samari Bonds went to work. The sophomore signal caller showcased a bit of everything on a seven-play scoring drive, finding big tight end Michael Dennison before using his quick feet to escape the defense and score from 27 yards out. After Lamar and Jamar Knight and a speedy Eagle secondary shut down the Hawks again, Beaufort had a chance to land an early knockout blow.
They did it in just one play.
Bonds quickly flipped the ball to Fields, and the back reversed it to Colton Phares, who took off down the left side and cut through a pair of tacklers at midfield for a 69-yard touchdown run. But the electric senior wasn’t done yet. Phares one-upped his eye-popping run with yet another sensational punt return, fielding the ball on a bounce at the 25-yard line and slicing through a pack of Hawks on his way to the end zone. The magician dazzled again with his incredible quickness and agility to blow the scoreboard open and give the Eagles a 28-0 lead.
“I’ve never coached a player like him,” Lybrand said. “It’s cool to see him have success, and he’s going to be a great football player at Appalachian State. Hopefully he keeps playing the way he’s playing because he’s been very good for us.”
Then, it was Kacy’s turn. Fields took back the spotlight on the next Beaufort series, keeping the handoff this time and turning on the jets for 41 yards down the left sideline to score his second touchdown of the night. Hanahan got on the scoreboard thanks to running back Kevon Rivera, but the Eagles answered right back on the next drive as Bonds found paydirt for the second time from 12 yards out. It was the punctuation to a near-flawless first half from the home side and put Beaufort on the cusp of a region title with a commanding 42-7 lead.
The Eagles capped off the scoring early in the second half, as an 18-yard Bonds run set up Fields’ third rushing touchdown from the Hawk 20. Beaufort’s secondary continued to feast down the stretch, and Dom Camacho added his second interception in three games. It was a coronation from there, as the Eagles ran out the clock to close out a region-clinching 49-14 win.
Fields closed out a special regular season with another stellar outing, rushing for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Bonds impressed under center, completing 2-of-5 passes for 21 yards and adding four rushes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Phares pulled off two highlight-reel scores and anchored a strong secondary alongside Camacho and the Knight brothers.
Beaufort High (8-1, 4-0) begins its SCHSL 3A postseason run on Friday at home against Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
By Wes Kerr
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