High School Football Notes: Lively practice pays off for Beaufort High

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com and mmccombs@islandpacket.comSeptember 2, 2013 

During preparation for Wando in Week 1, Beaufort High School's practices early in the week devoted half the time to offense and half to defense.

But something was missing. Players were dragging, Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford said.

On Wednesday, in shorts and shoulder pads, coaches sped up the tempo, alternating offense and defense and mixing in special teams. Clifford called the practice one of the best he has had in 10 years at Beaufort High.

And the resulting 17-14 victory over Wando to open the season seemed to back up his claim.

Clifford said practices were tailored to work with the Eagles' numbers. He said a small 10th grade class has caused some shuffling between the ninth-grade team and junior varsity.

"I wouldn't do this with any other team," Clifford said Friday after the victory. "But this team just jumps around -- they knew their assignments, they learned better. I doubt if we'll see many mental mistakes (on film) in this football game. The only mistakes we made was ball security."

Beaufort High fumbled four times during the second half against Wando, giving the Warriors several chances to tie or take the lead. Clifford said the issue would be addressed this week before the Eagles travel to Aiken.

"It turned the game, turned the momentum, and we've got to fix it," he said. "But we'll come around."

CORMIER GOES DEEP

Beaufort High kicker Brady Cormier showed off his leg during Friday's victory, booting all four kickoffs for touchbacks.

The junior connected on a 26-yard field goal and drew a Warriors' penalty for running into the kicker on another attempt.

Cormier made 7 of 9 field-goal attempts as a sophomore, with a long of 48 yards. He made 31 of 32 point-after attempts and 30 of his 47 kickoffs went for touchbacks.

DOLPHINS ENJOY NEW FOUND DEPTH

When Hilton Head Prep took the field Friday afternoon against Colleton Prep they found the shoe was on the other foot.

After starting last season with only a dozen or so players, Kevin Wald and the Dolphins played all year with little depth. But they still managed to finish 5-5.

This year, however, the Dolphins have a roster 28-players deep, while the visiting War Hawks boasted just 18 players.

And the improved depth showed. Colleton Prep's wishbone offense allowed the War Hawks' to dominate time of possession -- Hilton Head Prep ran 40 fewer offensive plays -- but the only team it wore down was the War Hawks themselves.

"It feels great," Dolphins senior Teron Daley said after the 28-7 Hilton Head Prep win. "Last year, all 11 guys played both sdes of the ball, and we were tired. Not this year.

Daley helped contribute to the War Hawks' fatigue with several runs that saw him run to one side of the field, only to reverse course behind the line of scrimmage and run all the way to the other side.

"I just look at the field, and whatever is open is where I run to," Daley said.

Defensive lineman Shaun Topper is one player who didn't play for Wald's team last year but came out this season, and at least in Week 1, he had an impact.

Topper, a senior, was in on a couple of sacks for the Dolphins and teamed up with junior Adam Schaus to form a formidable duo on the defensive line.

"It's (Shaun's) first year playing and hes getting better every play," Wald said. "And (Schaus) has been an animal for us playing both lines. "

PREP FAMILY WELCOMES A NEW MEMBER

Like the War Hawks, Dolphins coach Kevin Wald was fatigued after the game. And he didnt play a snap.

Wald said he had roughly three hours of sleep over the previous two days. But it was for a good reason.

After heading to the hospital late Thursday night, Wald's wife Kristen gave birth to the couple's second daughter, Ansley, at 7:28 a.m. Friday. Wald said both were doing well.

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