Today's game at Jasper County Stadium will be a rematch of sorts from the preseason.
Just don't expect the coaching staffs from Ridgeland or Whale Branch to use their meeting in the Beaufort County scrimmage on Aug. 11 as preparation.
The Warriors won that scrimmage 7-0 but much has changed since then.
After opening the season with three straight wins, Whale Branch has suffered consecutive losses.
Ridgeland has also had an up-and-down season so far. The Jaguars are 2-3 but have looked impressive, beating Hilton Head High followed by close losses to Wade Hampton and Bamberg-Ehrhardt.
"They took it to Bamberg," Whale Branch coach Rob D'Amato said. "They run the ball with authority."
Indeed, the Jaguars have leaned almost exclusively on the run. With the success they have had, there seems little chance the pattern will change tonight. Ridgeland backs Torray Amlett and Jerry Scott have combined for more than 1,200 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns. As a team, the Jaguars are approaching the 2,000-yard mark after five games.
The Warriors have dropped their opening two Region 5-A games to run-heavy systems. Hardeeville ran out of the I-formation and off-tackle much of the night. Allendale-Fairfax chewed up similar yardage from its double-wing sets.
"And here it comes again," D'Amato said. "It's going to be power and sweep from Ridgeland. And maybe third time's a charm for us. That's what we're going to shoot for."
D'Amato said the Warriors hit hard during two days outside in the wet, rainy conditions this week. He said Whale Branch quarterback Stedmon James will again play on defense at linebacker this week. James, also the team's punter, earned praise for his play last week.
D'Amato, initially concerned with wearing his quarterback down, said James is prepared to handle the multiple duties.
"As long as he's good to go, he's going to be out on the field," D'Amato said. "At this level of football, your best players need to stay on the field as often as possible."
For Ridgeland, that means Amlett, Scott and Xavier Capers. The trio rarely comes off the field as the Jaguars' offense eats the majority of the clock each game.
The Ridgeland backs are big and will be tough to bring down, D'Amato said.
"They'll run through arm tackles," he said. "You got to put a body on them. You've really got to put two bodies on their best running backs to get them down. They just play hard."
Who: Ridgeland (2-3, 1-1 Region 5-A) at Whale Branch (3-2, 0-2 Region 5-A)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Jasper County Stadium, Ridgeland
Offense: QB Xavier Capers, RB Tyboshie Mikell, RB Jerry Scott, RB Torray Amlett, WR Hamilton Harris, WR Tyron Mikell, OT Jacque Polite, OT Aaron Watson, OG Larry Jackson, OG Wesley Scott, C Damon Jackson
Defense: DT Jaquel Howard, DT Larry Jackson, DE Jacquel Polite, DE Wesley Scott, LB Derrick Solomon, LB Damon Gadson, OLB Jerry Scott, OLB Shaquille Grant, CB Immanual White, CB Xavier Capers, FS Tyron Mikell
Special teams: K Xavier Capers, P Tyron Mikell, R Torray Amlett, R Shaquille Grant
Offense: QB Stedmon James, RB Joshua Fields, RB Devonte Lykes, RB Andrew Byam, WR Dee Delaney, WR Frank Washington, LT Howard Allen, LG Pop McKee, C Max Minter-Ford, RG Matthew McCray, RT Jay Delaney
Defense: LB Trey Nelson, LB Davon Mack, LB John Little, LB Andrew Byam, DE Howard Allen, DE Jay Delaney, DT Mytae Jackson, DT Pop McKee, CB Frank Washington, CB Robert Evans, FS Dee Delaney
Special teams: K Charles Jiles, P Stedmon James, LS Trey Nelson, R Joshua Fields, R John Little
LAKE MARION AT BLUFFTON HIGH SCHOOL
Bluffton High School has already set a school record for wins in a season during its 5-0 start this year. The Bobcats are only five points away from setting the single-season scoring record.
But none of that matters from this point forward.
The Bobcats open their Region 7-AAA schedule tonight against Lake Marion with high hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, but they enter league play the same as every other team: 0-0.
"We've been working real hard all year for this point," Bobcats coach Ken Cribb said. "None of what you've done in the past matters unless you do it again in region."
Lake Marion (3-2) upset the Bobcats, 26-25, last season in a game that ended on a controversial call and kept Bluffton from qualifying for the postseason.
Bluffton will be seeking revenge with its full arsenal of weapons. Eric Boyles will return to the lineup after missing one game with an ankle injury, giving the Bobcats options of Boyles, Desmond Jenkins and C.J. Johnson to play at wingback.
Last week's bye has also allowed quarterback C.J. Frazier, who saw his first action of the season two weeks ago at Wade Hampton, to find comfort in the offense during practice. Still, Corey Stoner is expected to get the starting nod under center. Both quarterbacks will likely play.
"I feel like we haven't really done anything until region comes," Jenkins said. "Once we make a dent in region, then we can say we've done something."
Who: Lake Marion (3-2, 0-0 Region 7-AAA) at Bluffton High School (5-0, 0-0)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bobcat Stadium, Bluffton
Offense: QB Corey Stoner, WB Tykeem Major, WB C.J. Johnson, FB Zachary Scott, WR B.J. Kitty, WR Alfonza Powell, C Chris Tillotson, RG Andrew Nickerl, RT Michael Sulka, LG Yerko Castedo, RT Austin Chittum.
Defense: DE Alfonza Powell, DE B.J. Kitty, DT Anthony Gardner, DT Ladarius Hughes, ILB Michael Grant, ILB Lewis Black, OLB Taylor McDonnell, OLB Jimmy Tillman, CB Tony Burns, CB Anthony Smith, FS Travis Ramsey.
Special Teams: K/P Mallie Sprouse, KR Eric Boyles.
JAMES ISLAND AT BEAUFORT HIGH
Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford sees similarities between the James Island defense and his own offense.
James Island rarely shows multiple looks defensively, sticking to their 3-4 scheme much like the Eagles stick with their split-backs on offense.
"When there's a team that plays one defense all the time, there's good and bad," Clifford said. "The good is it's easy to recognize and easy for assignment ball, but that means they're pretty good at it."
The game will serve as the Eagles' homecoming. And Eagle Field, which was re-sodded in spots last week, should be ready for play.
James Island is 4-1. After struggling in past years, the Trojans should be riding high tonight, Clifford said.
"So we're going to have to deal with that," said Clifford, whose team won by a touchdown at James Island last year. "On top of that, they've got a pretty good football team."
The Eagles will be without running back D'Vonta Cohen for a second consecutive week. Clifford said Cohen, who is recovering from a groin pull, should be back to full speed at practice Monday.
Who: James Island (4-1, 1-0 Region 7-AAAA) at Beaufort High (3-2, 0-1 Region 8-AAAA)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Beaufort High School
Offense: QB Beau Brown, FB Alex Simmons, TB Josh McPherson, TE Tyler Cieplowski, RT Cody Beals, RG Jabari Washington, C Rob Dennis, LG Benji Calderon, LT Tyler Walker, SE Jordan Broussard, FL Keith Carpenter
Defense: DE DeEndre Jefferson-Fields, DE Michael Bedwell, DT Dalvin Broussard, DT Detrell Gantt, LB Kevin Gess, LB Maliek Maldonado, OLB Malcolm Dantzler, OLB JaClay Mixon, CB Jeremy Robinson, CB Akeem Smalls, FS Davonte Green
Special teams: K/P Kyle Clark, K Mitchell Stewart
CANE BAY AT BATTERY CREEK
With the first half of the season done, Carlos Cave is trying to prepare his team as if it is beginning a second season.
The Battery Creek coach and the Dolphins open Region 7-AAA play at home today with Cane Bay. Battery Creek is searching for its first win.
"These kids understand that the last five games, which are region games, determine whether you get to the playoffs or not," Cave said. "So we really focus on just trying to prepare for each week. This week is Cane Bay and we're trying to focus on things we think we can do and prepare for things they do well."
Cave said quarterback Leroy Jennette will start. Jennette injured his foot two weeks ago and aggravated the injury during last week's loss to Wade Hampton. Kevin Sanders, the Dolphins' starting receiver, started at quarterback Sept. 17 against Edisto and played the final three quarters at quarterback last week as a precaution.
Defensively, the Dolphins have prepared this week to see split backs for the fourth time this season.
"Hopefully we can do better than we have the first times in slowing it down," Cave said.
Cave will be recognized before the game for his selection to the staff of this year's Shrine Bowl, which will be held Dec. 18 in Spartanburg. Cave said he will coach the team's receivers.
Who: Cane Bay (2-3) at Battery Creek (0-5)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Battery Creek
Offense: QB Leroy Jennette, RB Brent Johnson, RB Keenan Wright, WR Jamario Williams, WR Kevin Sanders, WR Ryan Halley, LT Spencer Butler, LG Frank Price, C David Ratliff, RG Ben Lee, RT Bear Childers
Defense: DL O.J. Richardson, DL Daquan Jamison, DL Justin Frazier, LB Javon Livingston, LB Jaylan Briggs, LB Dakody Mersino, LB Carlton Linnen, CB Brent Johnson, CB Kevin Sanders, S Keenan Wright, S Jamario Williams
Special teams: K Matthew Kardohely, K Okasea Blagrov, P Donald Furman, KR Kevin Sanders, KR Brent Johnson
HARDEEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL AT BETHUNE-BOWMAN
After a pair of hard-fought wins to open the Region 5-A season, Hardeeville can begin to pave its way toward a possible playoff berth with a win tonight at Bethune-Bowman.
And that puts the Hurricanes in an unusual position for the first weekend in October. They have never started off the region season with a win, much less two or even three in a row.
"That would be a nice accomplishment for our players," Hurricanes coach Blake Raley said. "Bethune-Bowman presents a huge challenge for us. They have some great athletes and some great size. ... And they are probably the fastest team we've played."
The Hurricanes will attempt to counter that speed with power against the Mohawks (1-4). They have used a strong running game to change their direction of their season following an 0-3 start. In wins at Whale Branch and then against Estill last week, Jarrell Knighton rushed for a combined 363 yards and four touchdowns.
With Knighton and Michael Kinlaw in the backfield, along with Donald Scott's speed at quarterback, the Hurricanes will expect to control the tempo of tonight's game against the Mohawks, who have allowed 49 or more points in each of their last four games.
Who: Hardeeville (2-3, 2-0 Region 5-A) at Bethune-Bowman (1-4, 0-2)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bethune-Bowman High School, 4857 Charleston Highway, Rowesville, SC
Offense: QB Donald Scott, RB Michael Kinlaw, RB Jarrell Knighton, WR Brandon Blackshear, TE Dominique Riley, WR Charlie Morrison-Ford, OL Jamal Kinlaw, OL Christopher Campbell, OL Landon Johnson, OL Xavier Gist, OL Demetrius Garvin.
Defense: DL Landon Johnson, DL Demetrius Garvin , DL Gabriel Washington, DL Philip Harris, LB Amar Wilkins, LB Dominique Riley, LB Brandon Blackshear, LB Jarrell Knighton, DB Donald Scott, DB Charlie Morrison-Ford, DB Aaron Grant.
Special teams: P Charlie Morrison-Ford, K Philip Harris
PALMETTO CHRISTIAN AT HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN
After having their 15-game winning streak snapped with a 27-19 loss at Augusta Christian last week, the Eagles look to start another one tonight against last year's SCISAA Class 1-A runners-up.
Palmetto Christian had last week off after getting out to a 4-0 start with wins against Cathedral Academy, First Baptist, Lincoln and St. John's Christian.
Eagles coach Tommy Lewis said Palmetto Christian star Derrick Robinson left the team's last game with an apparent ankle injury, and he isn't sure whether the senior standout will play tonight.
"They're certainly a better team with him, and we're going into the game with the mentality that we have to be prepared for that sort of team," Lewis said.
Robinson is a starting receiver and defensive back, as well as a dangerous kick returner.
The Eagles also have bad news on the injury front, as senior linebacker Jake Crandall is scheduled to have surgery on his injured knee in mid-October. Crandall injured the knee on Hilton Head Christian's first defensive play in last week's 27-19 loss to Augusta Christian. Lewis said he hopes the surgery doesn't reveal any ligament damage, in which case Crandall might be able to return for the postseason.
Crandall is also the team's starting kicker.
Eagles quarterback Luke Sirgo missed school and practice Tuesday and Wednesday because of illness but returned to school Thursday, Lewis said.
Even if the timing in the passing game is off as a result, Lewis said he expects the Eagles to have success running the ball.
Who: Palmetto Christian (4-0) at Hilton Head Christian (3-1)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Eagles Field
Hilton Head Christian
Offense: QB Luke Sirgo, RB JaBrook Tucker, WR Alex Martin, WR Josh Mousseau, WR Eric Farr, TE Ryan Emery, LT Kyle Weaver, LG Cole Malphrus, C Alec Westmark, RG Robert Campos, RT Nick Borghi
Defense: DT Cole Malphrus, NG Kyle Weaver, DT Nick Borghi, OLB Ryan Smith, OLB Tyshawn Walls, ILB Zach Reynolds, ILB Clay Oliver, CB Tyler Chisholm, CB J.D. Reichel, SS Devan Fitzhugh, FS Ryan Emery
Special teams: K Tyler Chisholm, P Luke Sirgo, KR Tyshawn Walls, KR JaBrook Tucker, KR Tyler Chisholm, PR Alex Martin
HILTON HEAD PREP AT CATHEDRAL ACADEMY
Hilton Head Prep is bracing for another shootout tonight, when the Dolphins take on a Cathedral Academy squad that likes to throw the ball as much as they do.
The Dolphins are growing accustomed to seeing a steady diet of running plays on defense, but they figure to be tested through the air tonight.
Generals quarterback Jordan Marsh has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,923 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Marsh has topped 300 yards in each of Cathedral's last three games and has surpassed 400 yards twice. He threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 21-14 win against First Baptist.
Receiver Michael Spellman is Marsh's favorite target. Spellman has four 100-yard receiving games and is averaging 20 yards per catch.
Prep's quarterback and top receiver have produced comparable numbers. Dolphins quarterback Matt Layman has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,400 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, and Dimitri Lowry has been on the receiving end of 42 passes for 672 yards and nine touchdowns.
Prep's lineup is wracked by injuries and illness. Two-way starters Patrick Andrews and Zen Wiggins are out because of illness, two-way lineman Austin Baker will miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, running back/defensive back L.J. Orage is out at least five more weeks with a fractured fibula, and leading tackler Jeremy Haidon is probable with a high ankle sprain.
Who: Hilton Head Prep (3-2) at Cathedral Academy (2-4)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: 3790 Ashley Phosphate Road, Charleston
Hilton Head Prep
Offense: QB Matt Layman, RB Scott D'Amico, WR Dimitri Lowry, WR Alex Orford, WR Danny Maggard, TE Bo Strimpfel, LT Marc Halseth, LG Tommie Peeples, C Devin White, RG Dylan Powell, RT Patrick Briody
Defense: DE Danny Maggard, DT Marc Halseth, DT Casey Baker, DE Bo Strimpfel, OLB Scott D'Amico, MLB Jeremy Haidon, OLB Kevin Glick, CB Zenon Parker, CB Alex Orford, SS Teron Daley, FS Dimitri Lowry
Special teams: K Colin White, P Matt Layman, KR/PR Dimitri Lowry, KR/PR Scott D'Amico
ROBERT E. LEE ACADEMY AT THOMAS HEYWARD
After snapping a two-game losing streak with a 54-30 win at St. John's Christian, the Rebels will try to make it two in a row in their final non-region tune-up.
Running back Logan Mock (192 yards) and quarterback J.D. Tuten (101 yards) each topped the 100-yard mark on the ground last week for Thomas Heyward. It was Mock's fourth 100-yard effort in five games this season.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 55-47 double-overtime win against Williamsburg Academy. Robert E. Lee has scored 111 points in its three wins and been shut out in its two losses.
Rebels coach Nic Shuford said turnovers have hurt the Cavaliers in their losses, but he is impressed with their running game and their play-action passing game.
Thres Watson is the Cavaliers' top offensive player, averaging 82.4 rushing yards per game.
Who: Robert E. Lee Academy (3-2) at Thomas Heyward (3-2)
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Harvey-Beach Stadium
Offense: QB JD Tuten, RB Logan Mock, RB Ryan Day, SE James Rumfelt, WR Dylan Crosby, TE Bryan Lee Wade, LT Devon Riley, LG Mercer Clark, C Coulter Bergmann, RG Nick Ashcraft, RT Joe Laycock
Defense: DE Ward Burrus, DT Nick Ashcraft, NG Devon Riley, DT Joe Laycock, DE Jonathan Lilly, LB Bryan Lee Wade, LB Ryan Day, CB Logan Mock, CB Anthony Arcuri, FS JD Tuten, SS Forrest Richardson
Special teams: K Ryan Day, P JD Tuten, KR/PR Logan Mock
BEAUFORT ACADEMY AT PATRICK HENRY
The schools have played four common opponents this season. W.W. King beat Patrick Henry by 12 and Beaufort Academy by 51. Jefferson Davis beat Patrick Henry by 17 and Beaufort Academy by 38.
Against Greenwood Christian, Patrick Henry won by 46 and Beaufort Academy won by 40.
Andrew Jackson beat Patrick Henry by four and Beaufort Academy by 12.
"(Patrick Henry) reminds me a lot of Andrew Jackson," Beaufort Academy coach Wheatley Alford said. "They run out of the (I-formation), they're pretty strong up front, they've got a decent running back and a smart quarterback."
The running back, Austin Rowell, set the SCISAA 8-man record for career rushing three weeks ago with 5,239 career yards.
First-year player Nathan Akers had 288 all-purpose yards in last week's 46-34 loss to Andrew Jackson. He rushed for 188 yards on six carries with two touchdowns.
Who: Beaufort Academy (1-4) at Patrick Henry (2-4), 7:30 p.m.
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: 8766 Savannah Highway, Estill
Offense: Matt Bass, OL; Jordan Littleford, OL; Adam Chahin, OL; Leif Koppernaes, WR; Bennett Fultz, WR; Jack Griffith, WR; Charlie Humphries, WR; Gibson Achurch, QB.
Defense: Leif Koppernaes, DL; Jordan Littleford, DL; Adam Chahin, DL; Ethan Kindwall, DL; Gibson Achurch, DL; Matt Bass, LB; Bennett Fultz, LB; Jack Griffith, S.
Special teams: Gibson Achurch K/P; Nathan Akers, KR; Jack Griffith, PR