High School Football

Jasper County decision affecting other area schools

Hardeeville's opponents left searching for replacement game

mmccombs@beaufortgazette.comJune 16, 2012 

While the effects of the consolidation of Hardeeville and Ridgeland high schools aren't entirely known for the new single high school in Jasper County, they are becoming apparent for schools unlucky enough to have Hardeeville on their football schedule for this fall.

Count Whale Branch among that exclusive group.

Slated to host the Hurricanes on Sept. 28, the Warriors now have a hole in their schedule.

"Right now, it's very, very late in the game," Whale Branch athletics director Carlos Cave said. "Football is the tough one. It's hard because people sign contracts. All of the other sports, you have enough time to fill in. As of right now, we'll probably be short a game."

Ridgeland was set to move up from Class 1-A to 2-A in this year's realignment, and the new consolidated Jasper County high school will assume Ridgeland's spot in Region 6-AA, along with its schedule. Hardeeville's schedule apparently will be abandoned.

Jasper County athletics director James Gardner and head football coach Blake Raley could not be reached for comment.

"It really doesn't hurt us on the field because we'll earn points for the playoffs for playing the larger schools," said Cave, referring to 1-A Whale Branch's scheduled games against 4-A Bluffton and 3-A Hilton Head Island on the road, as well as their home contest against 2-A Battery Creek.

But where it will hurt Whale Branch is the loss of a home game and the revenue that comes with it.

"It's huge. It really hurts us," Cave said. "With their proximity to our school and the size of their crowd, it's probably $4,000 to $6,000 you'll lose from the gate and probably another $1,000 at the concession stand. And with budgets the way they are, it's tough."

Windsor Forest (Ga.), Savannah (Ga.) Country Day, Branchville, Military-Magnet, Denmark-Olar and Estill won't be making trips to Hardeeville this season.

Allendale-Fairfax, Bethune-Bowman and, ironically, Ridgeland are the other teams who will lose a home game with Hardeeville. That means the consolidated Jasper County high school will have just three home dates in nine games this season.

Follow sports editor Mike McCombs at twitter.com/IPBGSports.

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