The Hilton Head Island boys soccer team surrendered two goals in a four-minute span early in the first half and never recovered, falling 3-0 at Brookland-Cayce in the second round of the Class 3-A playoffs.
The Bearcats (22-3-1) defeated the defending 3-A state champions in the final soccer game to be played in The Cage, the long-time home for B-C. The Bearcats are opening a new stadium next fall for football, and the soccer team will move there next spring.
Brookland-Cayce and Hilton Head Island (13-8) are no strangers to meeting in the postseason. The squads have faced off in each of the past five years. The Seahawks knocked the Bearcats out last season in the quarterfinals en route to winning the state championship.
Brookland-Cayce coach Kevin Heise and Hilton Head Island coach Wayne Quinlan are close friends and almost expect to see each other in the postseason.
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"We both put a lot in our soccer programs, and we're going to cross paths in the playoffs," Heise said. "It's just one of those things. Wayne Quinlan is one of my dear friends in the coaching profession. We text or email daily and, most days, multiple times. They pull for us when we're not playing them and we pull for them when they're not playing us."
Quinlan, the former coach at Dutch Fork, said his young team couldn't match the pressure the Bearcats applied.
"We got caged," he said, referring to B-C's home field. "I've seen this style of soccer out of B-C the last 20 years. They don't change. A lot of times it works and, sometimes, it doesn't. Last year, we were a different team and we had the poise to play soccer under conditions B-C throws out there. This year, our inexperience showed from the opening kick-off. My hat's off to them. They played extremely well."
Brookland-Cayce scored two goals in the first 16 minutes and was never challenged. Hilton Head tried to drop maximum defenders whenever the Bearcats went on attack, but it didn't prevent the first two goals off of set plays.
Alex Peachy headed in a long pass from David Koprowski in the 13th minute before Dominik Byars added a goal off of an assist from Joel Salcedo in the 16th minute for the 2-0 lead.
The Bearcats kept the pressure on in the second half and finished with a 24-5 advantage in shots on goal. Tyler Brazell scored his 31st goal of the season in the 48th minute to round out the performance.
Blackville-Hilda 2, Whale Branch 0: The Warriors, who had a first-round bye, were eliminated in the second round of the Class 1-A playoffs.