The only thing different about this script were the characters.
Despite losing star tailback Khalil Lewis to a left ankle sprain early in the first half, the Hilton Head Island High School football team stuck to its winning ways Friday night with a workmanlike 27-13 victory over James Island.
"We've got other guys who are stepping in," coach B.J. Payne said. "Next man in. Obviously that was a big loss for us tonight, but at the same time we faced adversity and rallied back. We played hard and played some defense."
It was that defense that ultimately pushed the No. 8 Seahawks to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 8-AAA play. Led by Shrine Bowler Poona Ford, Hilton Head High shut out James Island in the second half thanks in part to an 0-for-10 effort on third down. The Trojans (1-6, 0-2) also finished with just 29 yards on the ground, and a mere 1.3 average per carry.
"That's all we did, is focus on getting off the field on third down," Ford said. "Preserve energy, get back on the field and get another stop."
The Louisville commitment teamed with a handful of young tailbacks to preserve the victory, as seven Hilton Head High rushers combined for 255 yards on 60 carries. The two-way senior highlighted the effort with a trio of touchdowns, the last of which put the Seahawks up by two possessions in the final minute.
Freshman Tyler Hamilton added 67 yards while sophomore Tyliek Smith tacked on 31 key yards late in the fourth quarter. Lewis still led the way with 85 yards, all of which came on the Seahawks' first three possessions. Chase Rinehart, James Wiggins and quarterback Ben Oliff also had carries.
Their efforts were rewarded by Ford and kicker Savannah Reier, who tacked on a pair of field goals from 28 and 37 yards out.
"The kids prepared hard and we had a good week this week of practice," Payne said. "It paid off tonight, because things aren't going to always go the way you planned. They faced adversity tonight."
The victory likely clinched at worst a road playoff game for the Seahawks, who earned a postseason berth a year ago with just a pair of region wins. But Hilton Head High has bigger goals this season, which will continue over the next two weeks against No. 10 Orangeburg-Wilkinson and No. 3 Hanahan.
Those two teams both tacked on league victories Friday night to improve to a combined 13-1. But that likely won't daunt the Seahawks, who are off to their best start since 1987.
"We just work hard," said safety Nick Cooper, who recorded an interception of Trojans quarterback Ty Stubbs. "It comes with preparation in practice. Everything Coach Payne says, we trust it and we believe it. That's why we're out here 7-0."
Hilton Head High 27, James Island 13
James Island 7 6 0 0 -- 13
Hilton Head High 10 6 3 8 -- 27
HHH--Savannah Reier 28 kick, 9:16.
JI--Jordan McDaniel 55 catch from Ty Stubbs (Hutch Fontaine), 8:55.
HHH--Poona Ford 3 rush (Reier kick), 3:14.
JI--Hutch Fontaine 32 kick, 11:08.
HHH--Ford 5 rush (kick failed), 5:27.
JI--Fontaine 42 kick, 1:00.
HHH--Reier 37 kick, 3:21.
HHH--Ford 4 rush (Ja'Carri Aiken catch), 0:45.
First Downs 9 22
Rushes-Yards 23-29 60-255
Comp-Att-Int 11-22-1 12-20-1
Passing Yards 148 146
Punts-Avg 6-36 2-30
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 11-60 7-65
Third-Down Conv 0-10 13-20
Fourth-Down Conv 1-2 1-2
PASSING: JI -- Ty Stubbs 11-21-1-148, Buss Hamilton 0-1-0-0; HHH -- Ben Oliff 12-20-1-146.
RUSHING: JI -- Buss Hamilton 12-25, Ty Stubbs 8-13, Trevon Grant 2-(-1), Chad Hardin 1-(-8); HHH -- Khalil Lewis 9-85, Tyler Hamilton 18-67, Poona Ford 12-60, Tyliek Smith 6-31, James Wiggins 4-10, Chase Rinehart 2-4, Ben Oliff 9-(-2).
RECEIVING: JI -- Jordan McDaniel 1-55, Andrew Hutto 4-37,Trevon Grant 2-21, Chad Hardin 2-20, Aaron Davis 1-12, Buss Hamilton 2-3; HHH -- Aaron Frazier 8-118, Chase Rinehart 2-19, Ja'Carri Aiken 1-8, Tyler Hamilton 1-1.