LOWCO GAMEDAY ’23: Week 1 HSFB Primer

If you thought Week “Zero” was wild, get ready to bite off a little more this Friday.

After a hearty slate of 11 games across the LowcoSports.com coverage area last week, we’ll beef it up to 14 games Team Lowco will be tracking across our four-county coverage area Friday night with May River and Whale Branch entering the fray after sitting out Week “Zee-ruh.”

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We’ll post what we can (where the cell signal allows) on Twitter and Instagram and meet up to round up all the scores, stats, and highlights we can scrape together at 11:30 p.m. on Lowco Pigskin Live, streaming live on the LowcoSports social media platforms and the Lowco Media YouTube channel.

We’ll keep adding more content to this post so you can keep this tab open all day and night. 

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LowcoSports Week 1 HSFB Primer

Whale Branch (0-0) at North Charleston (1-0)
7 p.m. Thursday

After watching most of the state get started during Week “Zero,” the Warriors get their chance to hit someone in a different color shirt Thursday night with a trip to North Charleston. The Cougars clobbered Military Magnet 33-6 last week, taking advantage of three takeaways, so Whale Branch will need sophomore quarterback Jermon Bowers to take care of the ball and let playmakers Darrell Cummings and KJ Chisholm take advantage of mismatches. The Warriors beat the Cougars 19-8 last season in Seabrook, and their defense led by Bradford Thompson, Alonzo Allen, and Dayaun Brown, among others, should be the difference again. — Justin Jarrett

JJ — Warriors by 14
Wes — Warriors by 8

Fort Dorchester (0-0) at Beaufort (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday

It doesn’t get any easier for the defending champs, who welcome the fifth-ranked team in Class 5A for opening night at home. Perhaps the pregame jersey retirement ceremony for Ron “Ghost” Parker at 7 p.m. will bring the crowd out early and give the Eagles a boost at home as they look at avenge a season-opening 21-6 loss at Fort Dorchester a year ago. Beaufort had to go to the air often in last week’s 29-10 loss at Cane Bay and had mixed results, but the Eagles have enough weapons to spread things out and let Samari Bonds take what the defense is giving, it will just take time for him to find a rhythm with his receivers, and the game doesn’t slow down until next week.  — Justin Jarrett

JJ — Fort D by 7
Wes — Fort D by 10

Ridgeland (1-0) at Battery Creek (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday

After being humbled at home by Hilton Head High on Friday, the Dolphins need a win on their home turf this week, but they’ll have to contend with a confident Jaguars team that has already matched last season’s win total. Battery Creek’s hard-nosed defensive front did a good job of containing running back Troy Timko last week but couldn’t stop Seahawks quarterback Jackson Bibee, who threw three touchdown passes. The secondary will have to be more sound against a Ridgeland team with a dynamic quarterback in Maurice Brown and a cadre of weapons, though the Jags’ prefer to keep it on the ground and had three players — Brown, Wenson Smith, and Xavier Plowdeniz go over 125 yards rushing in a 27-12 win over St. John’s. Dolphins quarterback Chase Olsen had a tough debut as the starter against a stout Seahawks defense but is eager to get back on the field and lead a Creek offense with plenty of big-play potential alongside Damien Freeman. Fewest turnovers wins. — Justin Jarrett

JJ — Jags by 2
Wes — Jags by 7

Claxton, GA (0-1) at Hilton Head (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

BJ Payne couldn’t have asked much more from his Hilton Head Seahawks to open the season in Week 0. After a thoroughly impressive performance at Battery Creek, the ‘Hawks head back to the Nest for the first time this year against familiar Georgia foe Claxton. Payne got monstrous contributions from all three phases on Friday, and he looks to see his hungry and motivated defense keep the momentum rolling against the Tigers in front of the home crowd. Senior Shaikh Thompson has been the straw that stirs the drink on the line, but the secondary of LJ Morgan and Carson Haines also made a strong first impression to shut down Creek’s passing game and even grab some interceptions. With the success of Jackson Bibee throwing the football, the Seahawks have another dimension offensively combined with the stead run game of Troy Timko. A strong start on home turf should allow Timko to wear down the Tigers and ride a hot defense to victory. 

JJ — HHIHS by 13
Wes — HHIHS by 14

Jenkins (0-1) at Bluffton (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

It was a thoroughly dominant effort from the Bobcats in game one at Beach High School and a successful debut from new quarterback Owen Bayes. He didn’t have to play the full game, as Hayden Gregory opted to rest his starter after building a sizable lead. But Gregory liked what he saw, and he’ll look forward to see what he can do in his first home action this Friday against Jenkins. Brandon Bryant showed his breakout potential with his speed out wide, and Eitan Golphin can provide some energy and agility in the backfield. Expect the defense to impress with its physicality with veteran linebacker Jeremiah Curry leading the way. The optimism hasn’t been this bright at Bluffton in a while, and all signs point to a fun opener in front of the home fans in the Den this Friday against a Jenkins team that was blanked by Benedictine last week. — Wes Kerr

JJ — Bobcats by 27 
Wes — Bobcats by 21

HH Prep (0-1) at Beaufort Academy (2-0)7:30 p.m. FridayAfter winning two slugfests against teams from larger classifications, BA should find itself on the right side of a mismatch this week against a Hilton Head Prep team seeking its first win since 2021 and coming off a 50-7 home loss to Bethesda Academy. The Blazers averaged more than eight yards per carry against the Dolphins, and BA’s ground game is a force. Devonte Green and Jaxen Porter should be able to rack up big numbers on the ground in the first half and wear down a Hilton Head Prep team that stayed in the game for a half last week before a lack of depth became too much to overcome. The Eagles’ physicality will wear down a thin Dolphins roster.  — Justin Jarrett

JJ — BA by 35
Wes — BA by 42

St. John’s Xian (1-0) at Patrick Henry (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

JJ — PHA by 14 
Wes — PHA by 12

Cross (0-1) at Calhoun Academy (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday

JJ — Calhoun by 14
Wes — Calhoun by 20

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Hampton Co. (1-0) at Allendale-Fairfax (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday

JJ — Canes by 21
Wes — Canes by 24

West Ashley (1-0) at May River (0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

JJ — Wildcats by 3
Wes — Sharks by 1

John Paul II (1-0) at Bethesda Academy (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

The Golden Warriors are riding high after beating rival Thomas Heyward for the first time in seven tries in coach Shayne Milligan’s debut, and they have a chance to come back from Savannah on Friday with another first — a 2-0 start. The Blazers have a veteran quarterback in Triston Randall, who got off to a strong start last week against Hilton Head Prep, but JPII will have the best quarterback — and player — on the field in Christian Tilton. The job JPII did to contain Tony O’Banner last week bodes well for limiting the damage from Bethesda running back Noah Jenkins, and the Golden Warriors’ secondary should be able to limit the big plays the Blazers feasted on last week. It would help if Tilton’s hand heals enough for him to be an effective passer, but it might not matter. — Justin Jarrett

JJ — JPII by 6
Wes — JPII by 2

Northwood Acad. (1-0) at Colleton Prep (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday

For the second year in a row, the Colleton Prep War Hawks started their season with a stunning victory over Florence Christian. Although this time, there won’t be too much denying about the potential of Greg Langdale’s team. Yes, the offensive line might still be a work in progress, but Cole Davis is still Cole Davis. After racking up a monstrous 241 rushing yards and two touchdowns alongside a passing score, Davis will look to keep up his hot start on Friday against a Northwood Academy team on quite an emotional high. The Chargers snapped a 29-game losing streak in a season-opening win against Greenwood Christian on Friday under former First Baptist head coach Johnny Waters, and will bring that newfound energy to Colleton Prep. The War Hawks will need to slow down talented sophomore running back Jeremiah Singleton who went for 268 yards and three touchdowns in his opener, and big senior linebacker Raleigh Obenaus should be up to the challenge. If the offensive line can perform again to give Cole Davis room to operate, it will make the Chargers’ job tough to keep up on the road. — Wes Kerr

JJ — CPA by 10
Wes — CPA by 8

Wilson Hall (0-0) at HHCA (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
It’s very rare to see a Hilton Head Christian Academy team get slammed to the mat on Friday like we saw at the hands of Savannah Christian. Simply put, they were outmatched everywhere on the field by a Raiders side that boasted the country’s top recruit in his class. But the Eagles probably won’t be seeing a team of that caliber the rest of the way. Now, they’ve got a chance to get off the mat and respond in their home SCISA 3A opener against Wilson Hall. It’ll be the first game of the season for the Barons, who put together a solid 7-4 record last year including upsetting those said Eagles. But this Ron Peduzzi team will be more experienced – and more motivated coming into Friday night. We should see a return to form for senior quarterback Dylan Clark who was contained by a dominant Raider line in the opener. A rebound performance up front will be key to re-energize an offense filled with potent weapons including transfer Tyshon Mansell. It won’t be as easy as it may seem against a Barons defense that averaged just over 18 points allowed per game last season, led by returning senior  Grayson Alexander and extraordinary defensive back Landon Gilley who picked up six interceptions in 2022. Ron Peduzzi will want a lot more from his defense this week, and we should see James Crosby, Zane Wilson, and an angry group of “dawgs” go to work to try to stop an efficient Raider run game led by senior Dylan Jones. It’s a pivotal early game for the Eagles who will need to be at their best to get in the win column for the first time in 2023. — Wes Kerr

JJ — HHCA by 2
Wes — HHCA by 4

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