High School Football

Hilton Head High dominates opener against Whale Branch, 52-16

Seahawks end 13-year skid in football season openers

ccox@islandpacket.comAugust 30, 2013 

There was no blocked kick ready to doom another ill-fated Hilton Head Island High season opener. There was no big, bad Class 4-A team anxious to deliver another bitter defeat, either.

This time, it was the Seahawks administering all the blows early and often against an outmanned opponent. And the victory, a resounding 52-16 thrashing of Whale Branch Early College High School on Friday night, helped coach B.J. Payne and Co. capture the school's first opening night victory since 1999, snapping a dubious string of 13 consecutive losses.

"It was something we used," said Payne, whose team lost 29-28 to the same Warriors in last season's opener. "That's 14 years. That's a huge thing. I can honestly say, we didn't talk about that until we came in pregame. Poona (Ford) brought it up, and Poona got the breakdown.

"He's a quiet leader, but when he steps up and talks, everybody shuts up and listens."

His impassioned speech showed on the field, where Hilton Head High built a 24-0 lead after just 10 minutes of play before eventually pushing the lead to 45 by halftime. The Seahawks (1-0) scored in all three phases, as Payne's offense found the end zone five times while Ben Oliff fell on the ball in the end zone on a botched punt. Aaron Frazier also scooped up a fumble for a 22-yard touchdown.

And yet, the highlight of the night came in the kicking game, where Savannah Reier -- the starting point guard for the Seahawks girls basketball team -- connected on all seven of her point-after attempts while adding a 37-yard field goal on Hilton Head High's second possession. She is believed to be the first female to see playing time in a Seahawks uniform.

"I love it," she said. "I played in the scrimmages, but they weren't running at you or anything. But when you see the big guys coming at you, you're like, 'Oh (crud).' But it was really fun. Probably the most fun I've had in a while."

Frazier added to his defensive touchdown with another pair of scores on offense, as the receiver hauled in three-first half passes for 123 yards in his first start at wideout. He was left uncovered on the Seahawks' first offensive play of the night, a 44-yard strike, before he took a screen pass 48 yards for another score in the second half.

"Like coach said, we came in and worked hard," Frazier said. "That's what we get when we work hard."

It was another frustrating night for Whale Branch, which lost 44-0 to Bluffton in last week's season opener. The Warriors didn't notch their first score of the season until late in the fourth quarter, when Stephon Eugene and Malik Brown had touchdown runs of 1 and 47 yards, respectively. They helped Whale Branch pad numbers to an offense that still finished with just 212 total yards, an average of 3.5 yards per play.

"(Payne) had his JV squad out there, so it's nothing to be encouraged about," coach Jerry Hatcher said of the late-game touchdowns. "They gave us a good, old tail whipping."

Whale Branch (0-2) continues to learn on the fly as it breaks in a crop of newcomers this season. The Warriors started eight underclassmen Friday against the Seahawks, and their inexperience showed in tackling and scheme miscues.

"We're just trying to grow, man," Hatcher said. " ... I was disappointed in the effort. I thought we were going to give a better effort. We gave a lot better effort against Bluffton than we did tonight."

Hilton Head High 52, Whale Branch 16

Hilton Head High 24 21 7 0 -- 52

Whale Branch 0 0 0 16 -- 16

First quarter

HHH--Aaron Frazier 44 catch from Aiden Hegarty (Savannah Reier kick), 9:50.

HHH--Savannah Reier 37 kick, 6:47.

HHH--Ben Oliff 13 fumble recovery (Reier kick), 5:42.

HHH--Khalil Lewis 7 rush (Reier kick), 2:25.

Second quarter

HHH--Lewis 18 rush (Reier kick), 7:00.

HHH--Frazier 48 catch from Hegarty (Reier kick), 2:11.

HHH--Frazier 22 fumble recovery (Reier kick), 1:20.

Third quarter

HHH--Oliff 5 rush (Reier kick), 0:14.

Fourth quarter

WB--Stephon Eugene 1 rush (conversion successful), 10:19.

WB--Malik Brown 47 rush (conversion successful), 2:13.

Team Stats

HHH WB

First Downs 12 10

Rushes-Yards 20-176 41-151

Comp-Att-Int 9-13-0 5-19-0

Passing Yards 139 61

Punts-Avg 4-25 4-15

Fumbles-Lost 4-2 2-2

Penalties-Yards 8-59 4-30

Third-Down Conv 4-10 1-13

Fourth-Down Conv 1-1 1-5

Individual stats

PASSING: HHH -- Aiden Hegarty 7-11-0-133, 2 TD, Ben Oliff 1-1-0-6, Bryce Singleton 1-1-0-0; WB -- Devonte Glover 5-17-0-61, Amagee Stephens 0-2-0-0.

RUSHING: HHH -- Khalil Lewis 10-120, Savion Fuller 10-33, Ben Oliff 3-16, Aiden Hegarty 5-8, Tyler Hamilton 1-1, Bryce Singleton 1-(-2); WB -- Braxton Bowers 14-57, Malik Brown 2-50, Stephon Eugene 10-17, Devonte Glover 5-12, Javon Gardner 9-8, Keani Porter 1-7.

RECEIVING: HHH -- Aaron Frazier 3-123, Jestin Morrow 1-7, Khalil Lewis 1-6, Ja'Carri Aiken 3-3; WB -- Jamar Scott 2-64, Javon Gardner 2-(-1), Braxton Bowers 1-(-2).

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