High School Football Notebook:Warriors look to add muscle in offseason

info@islandpacket.comNovember 7, 2011 

The sign hanging at the end of the hallway to the Whale Branch High School football team's locker room asked the Warriors every day where they would be on Nov. 25.

After a 60-40 home loss to visiting Scott's Branch in the first round of the Class 1-A Division II playoffs Friday, Warriors coach Rob D'Amato hopes his players will be in the weight room.

Whale Branch was dominated physically in the second half against Scott's Branch, as Eagles running back Leon Mathis rolled up 320 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

"We've got to make a better commitment to the weight room from top to bottom here at Whale Branch to get things done properly," D'Amato said.

The Warriors made strides in their second year, notching their first winning season with a 7-4 mark and earning a first-round home game. But the sign hanging at the end of the hallway was a reminder that they fell short of their ultimate goal.

"We're not going to realize that one this year," D'Amato said. "But maybe moving forward we can take the right steps and be ready for it the next go-round."

BOBCATS INJURY UPDATES

Jaquan Campbell's breakout season seemingly hit a snag last week when he collided with a Bluffton High School teammate during practice and broke a bone in his wrist.

Or maybe not.

Campbell chose to play through the injury -- while wearing a cast on his arm -- and he's managed to remain productive. The junior free safety intercepted a pass a week ago against Hilton Head High, despite the cast, and he nearly grabbed another in the Bobcats' 69-29 win against Georgetown on Friday night in the opening round of the Class 3-A playoffs.

Campbell has been one of team's many improved defensive players in 2011. He has 44 tackles and four interceptions as the team's safety, even though Bluffton's coaching staff believes he is best suited for linebacker.

Speaking of the Bobcats' linebackers, Kyle Waddell sat out Friday's win against Georgetown with a sore shoulder, coach Ken Cribb said, but he expects to return to action Friday night when the Bobcats host Hartsville at Bobcat Stadium. Waddell was in full pads on Bluffton's sidelines, but Cribb said he held him out as a precaution.

Rogan Ferguson joined Corey Stoner, Michael Grant and Hayden Gillespie to fill out the linebacker corps in Waddell's absence.

STEWART FINISHES IN STYLE

Beaufort High School kicker Mitchell Stewart might have been overlooked at times this season in favor of teammate Kyle Clark, a North-South all-star selection.

But Stewart and Clark were a package deal for the Eagles. And Friday against Goose Creek, Stewart closed his high school football experience in style. The senior was a perfect 4 for 4 on field goal attempts, including a career-best 52-yard kick as time expired in the first half.

In one game, the senior matched his total for the previous 10 contests, finishing with eight field goals on the season. His previous long this year was from 41.

Stewart said he and Clark, who handles the punting and kickoff duties, knew the Gators' defense would be tough and that Stewart might earn more opportunities to show off his leg.

The Eagles could not punch it in Friday on three first-and-goal situations from inside the 5.

"They sent me in, and I did my job," Stewart said. "I did what I had to do."

BA STARS HONORED

Beaufort Academy seniors Jack Griffith and Billy Dailey were first-team picks for the SCISAA 8-man Region 2 all-region team, and both were chosen for the 8-man North-South all-star game to be played Dec. 3 at Patrick Henry Academy.

Griffith also was named the region's defensive player of the year.

Eagles coach Wheatley Alford, who will serve on the coaching staff for the all-star game, was runner-up in the region coach of the year voting.

FACEBOOK FAN VOTE

Area players turned in plenty of strong performances Friday night, resulting in a long list of nominees for this week's player of the week ballot. Go to www.facebook.com/IPBGSports to vote for one of these standout players:

  • Austin Baker, HHP: 17 tackles, fumble recovery, INT

  • Ryan Day, THA: 247 rush yards, 6 TDs

  • C.J. Frazier, Bluff.: 373 pass yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs

  • Caleb Lewis, HHCA: 5-for-7 passing, 193 yards, 4 TDs

  • Dimitri Lowry, Bluff.: 8 catches, 215 yards, 4 TDs

  • Adam Orischak, HHH: 2 catches, 104 yards, TD

  • Mitchell Stewart, Beau.: 4 FGs (20, 22, 28, 52 yards)

  • Andre Watson, WB: 2 catches, 100 yards, TD

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