The Hilton Head Island High football team will need all the help it can get Friday night, when the 7-1 Seahawks head north to take on second-ranked and undefeated Hanahan.
Coach B.J. Payne and Co. got the first boost they needed to up their chances at an upset Monday when junior receiver Aaron Frazier was cleared to play against the Hawks by the S.C. High School League. He was originally slated to sit after being ejected from last Friday's 33-7 loss to Orangeburg-Wilkinson for allegedly throwing a punch.
"Obviously, the most important part was the actual video and video of the play in question," coach B.J. Payne said. "You can see that it wasn't a punch, it wasn't anything like that."
Hilton Head High delivered written statements from Frazier, Payne and athletics director Joe Monmonier, along with video of the play, to SCHSL associate commissioner Skip Lax, who handles ejections for the high school league. It didn't take long after that for the office to overturn the ejection, clearing him to play in the Seahawks' pivotal Region 8-AAA matchup.
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"They thought the play by Aaron should have received an unsportsmanlike conduct but he should not have been ejected," Monmonier said. "They voided the ejection."
Frazier's return is a much-needed one for a Seahawks team that was already going to be without second-leading receiver Ja'Carri Aiken, who will sit out for a concussion suffered in that loss to the Bruins. Hilton Head High will also be without starting quarterback Ben Oliff, who was lost for the week to a leg injury. Sophomore Aiden Hegarty, who started in Week 1 against Whale Branch Early College High School, will go in Oliff's place.
Frazier's ejection came before he ever hauled in a catch, meaning the junior still needs 49 yards to break older brother Victor Frazier's single-season receiving record of 767 set in 2009. He is also just 13 catches shy of setting a new school mark for receptions in a single season.