Hilton Head Island High School's preparation this week for Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School will be about putting it all together.
The Seahawks left a bevy of opportunities on the field in Friday's 29-28 season-opening setback to Whale Branch Early College High School, as B.J. Payne's team lost three fumbles, committed 12 penalties for 93 yards and suffered through a pair of inopportune bad snaps. Hilton Head High botched a field goal attempt inside the 8-yard line in the first quarter on a bad snap before another poor snap on third and goal at the 2 in the fourth quarter forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal.
"The biggest improvement is from Week 1 to Week 2," Payne said. Whale Branch, "had that opportunity this week and we've got the opportunity this coming week. We have to get better."
Payne is hoping to work through some of the defensive struggles the Seahawks endured against the Warriors. Hilton Head High surrendered 164 yards and two touchdowns to Whale Branch wideout Dee Delaney in the first half before limiting the senior to 29 yards after intermission.
But the Seahawks' run defense suffered as a result. Hilton Head High allowed a paltry 6 yards on 14 carries in the first half but gave up 124 yards on 29 carries after halftime.
"In the first half, we did an excellent job against the run," Payne said. Delaney, "made big plays. In the second half, we had to change what we were doing coverage-wise and bracket him, which took us out of a lot of our blitz packages. We were so concerned about him."
Bluffton's Roberson elevates his game
When a couple of Bluffton's top receivers were banged up over the summer, junior wing Gerald Roberson stepped up his game.
After Roberson had a good spring, Bluffton coach Ken Cribb said, he became the Bobcats' "go-to guy in the summer."
Roberson proved that Friday night against Ridgeland-Hardeeville, catching four passes for 59 yards, including two touchdowns, and rushing four times for 36 yards.
"He's a beast," Bobcats quarterback C.J. Frazier said of Roberson. "Gerald and Demetrius Smalls, nobody really knows about them right now. They're two of the fastest people in the state, and nobdoy knows.
"When Gerald has 15 or 20 TD catches, people are going to understand."
Vote for Week 1's best
Vote for the area's top performer from Week 1 on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/IPBGSports. This week's candidates are Whale Branch receiver Dee Delaney, who caught five passes for 193 yards and two scores during a victory at Hilton Head High, Seahawks quarterback Michael Julian, who threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns during the loss, and Thomas Heyward Academy quarterback J.D. Tuten, who rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing for a pair of scores during the Rebels' victory.