From staff reports
Ken Cribb was as eager as any of his players for the challenge. He was excited to see exactly how well his Bluffton High School football team stacked up against some of the big schools in Class 3-A.
With a 28-13 win Friday at Cane Bay to improve to 7-0 in Cribb's first year, the Bobcats showed their coach they stack up pretty well after all. Bluffton moved to 2-0 in Region 7-AAA and could set up a showdown with Berkeley in two weeks if they can leave Battery Creek with another win this Friday night.
"The kids played their hearts out," Cribb said beating Cane Bay. "They went out there and played hard, and they're playing like the expect to win. That's a good thing."
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The Bobcats are quickly learning they can win in a variety of ways, not just with their dynamic Wing-T offense. While the offense caught the attention by averaging 39 points per game in the first five weeks, the defense has buckled down in the first two weeks of region play, and the special teams unit is making plays of its own.
The Bobcats allowed just 12 points in a region-opening win against Lake Marion two weeks ago, a game in which the defense forced four turnovers.
Against Cane Bay, the defense upped the ante. With the offense stalling in the second half, the defense picked up the slack by forcing five turnovers in the game's final two quarters while not allowing a point. Anthony Smith returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown. Travis Ramsey also had an interception.
"Our defense just continues to perform," Cribb said. "They've been steady all year long."
The special teams unit has accounted for touchdowns in both region matchups, as well. Desmond Jenkins returned a kickoff for a touchdown two weeks ago, and Jimmy Tillman recovered a fumble in the end zone on an attempted punt against the Cobras.
THOMAS HEYWARD HONORS 1971 TEAM
With this year marking the 40th anniversary of Thomas Heyward Academy, the school honored its first football team at halftime of Friday's homecoming game against First Baptist.
The 1971 team won all eight of its regular-season games, holding all opponents scoreless. In the SCISAA state championship game, coach Barry Turpin led the Rebels to victory over Roy Hudgens Academy in Lynchburg to preserve the perfect season.
After the victory, the Lowcountry Sentinel newspaper declared, "It was a great game of true championship caliber. The Rebels were impressive in notching a tremendous victory and a state title for their first year of competition under coach Barry Turpin."
Since that win, members of the record-setting team went their separate ways but several returned for Friday's ceremonies.
Those on hand were Randy Blackmon, Mark Boyles, Barry Cook, Pinckney Crosby, Scooter Daley, Del Davidson, Pat Ducey, Henry Fickling, Randy Floyd, Bill Gilbert, Troy Hodges, Mike Malphrus, Jimmy Thompson, Jeff Thompson, Lu Prescott, Bobby Tolar, Stan Wells, Chris Cook, Bucky Baxter and Coach Turpin.
Thomas and Scott Lowther were there in honor of their brother, Jimbo; Mikey Quesinberry was there to honor his father, Mike; and Randy and Scott Vaigneur stood in for their father, Jimmy.
Teammates unable to attend were Sam Batson, Mark Bonds, Lamar Davidson, Gerald Hodges, Ricky Huey, Sammy Mock, David Morris and Lee Prescott.
EAGLES' UNLIKELY STARS
At only 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, Beaufort High's DeEndre Jefferson-Fields doesn't have the look of a Class 4-A defensive end ... until he's standing in the opponent's backfield on almost every play.
Jefferson-Fields has been a disruptive force up front all season, helping the Eagles hold their first seven opponents to a total of 55 points, the lowest total in Class 4-A.
"He's got that intangible," Eagles coach Mark Clifford said. "I don't care what benches, I don't care what he squats, and I don't care what he runs in the 40. I just know that young man can play football."
The defense has also gotten a major assist from punter Kyle Clark, who has kept the Eagles in good field position with his big leg and his ability to angle kicks out of bounds and pin opponents deep.
Clark hit two punts of more than 50 yards Friday and kicked another out of bounds at the 9.
"It's so great having him as a weapon," Clifford said. "It really makes us a complete football team. We made a commitment last spring to work on special teams, and all around we're a lot better."
TOUGH NIGHT FOR DAY
Thomas Heyward sophomore linebacker Ryan Day suffered another setback in Friday's 58-0 win over First Baptist. On the Rebels' first series of the game, Day injured his shoulder and had to sit out the rest of the game.
It's the same shoulder that kept him out of the first four games of the season. He broke his collarbone in Thomas Heyward's first preseason scrimmage in August.
"He busted his butt all summer, working out and getting strong," Thomas Heyward coach Nic Shuford said. "He got hurt in the first scrimmage we had. Stayed in shape the whole time he had his collarbone broke, came back and had 250 or 260 rushing yards in two games. Then this happens. You feel for a kid that works as hard as he does. That's just bad luck."
Defensive standout Ward Burrus, who also plays several offensive positions, also went out with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. Shuford expects to learn the extent of both injuries early this week.
Hardeeville linebacker Terrell Knighton returned to action Friday night against Bamberg-Ehrhardt after missing the previous three games with an injured knee. Hurricanes quarterback Donald Scott missed the last two series of the loss but said he was just experiencing leg cramps and will be healthy for Friday's trip to Allendale-Fairfax. ... Beaufort High's Alex Simmons showed some nifty balance in keeping his feet after breaking a tackle on the way to his second touchdown run of the night in Friday's 21-0 win against Wando. After the game, he revealed his secret. "I've got a dance class this year, actually, and it kind of showed out on the field," he said, "so I'm glad it's working out somewhere."