It looks like Beaufort High School is right on schedule.
After early-season concerns about a stagnant offense, including a six-point effort against Bluffton in Week 2, Eagles coach Mark Clifford pledged to improve. And improve they have, to the tune of a 51-0 rout of longtime rivals Battery Creek on Friday night.
Beaufort High running back Jeffrey Tookes again staked a claim as one of the region's best on the ground with a thoroughly dominant effort, including four first-half touchdowns. By the time halftime rolled around, Tookes had 11 carries for 123 yards and the quartet of scores, none of them coming from longer than 11 yards out.
By then, however, the game was well out of sight for the overmatched Dolphins, who continued to struggle with self-inflicted mistakes, especially on special teams.
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After an 11-yard touchdown run by Tookes with 5:10 to play in the first quarter, the Dolphins fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Beaufort High quarterback Courtney Piatt, who finished with 110 yards passing, found Keaton Butler a few plays later for a 31-yard score.
The rest was a triumphant march for the Eagles, who allowed no such marching by Battery Creek standout Tyrone Dilbert. In the battle of top backs Dilbert got the short end of the stick, finding running lanes clogged by a relentless Eagles defense.
Dilbert was held to 81 yards on the ground.
"They're getting better and better every week," Clifford said of the Eagles' defense.
Beaufort High suffocated the Dolphins, hassling quarterback Raekwon Smalls and shutting down every opportunity. Meanwhile, Tookes was roaming free, powering for gains of 36, 21 and 23 yards before punching in his series of short scoring plays.
Clifford, so frustrated a few weeks ago against the Bobcats, has found a way to utilize Tookes to devastating effect, with some significant help from his friends up front.
"He and his offensive line are pretty tight," Clifford said. "They all like each other. They all work for each other."
Tookes agreed, passing along some of the credit for his success.
"When we work together we just all connect," Tookes said. "I just want to thank my offensive line for everything they've done."
The second half brought no relief for Battery Creek as Beaufort High backup running back Omar Cummings stormed 34 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession of the third quarter. Tyler Clancy capped off the scoring for the Eagles by returning a fumbled backwards pass 10 yards.
It was a night to forget for the home team, which now faces the prospects of a Thursday road game at improving Ridgeland-Hardeeville.
"It's just very frustrating because I feel for our guys," Batter Creek coach Jim Shuman said. "They're not a 51-0 team. They're much better team than that."
Beaufort 51, Battery Creek 0
Beaufort High 14 23 14 0 -- 51
Battery Creek 0 0 0 0 -- 0
BFT -- Tookes 11 run (Kick good) 5:10
BFT -- Butler 31 rec from Piatt (Kick good) 4:19
BFT -- Tookes 1 run (Kick good) 11:53
BFT -- Tookes 1 run (Kick good) 7:20
BFT -- Safety, R. Smalls, sackBFT -- Tookes 2 run (Kick good) 32.0
Third quarterBFT -- Cummings 34 run (Kick good) 10:35
BFT -- Tyler Clancy 10 fumble return (Kick good) 1:47
First Downs 13 7
Rushes-Yards 36-248 38-117
Comp-Att-Int 7-13-0 0-5-0
Passing Yards 110 0
Punts-Avg 2-39.5 2-13.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 2-25
PASSING: Beaufort -- Courtney Piatt 7-10-110, Keaton Butler 0-0-0 ; Battery Creek -- Raekwon Smalls 0-1-0, Porter Mahan 0-3-0
RUSHING: Beaufort -- Jeffrey Tookes 11-123, Omar Cummings 7-83, Wyatt Sherpensky 7-23, Colby Chalmers 5-21, DeQuan Carson 2-6, Tyler Clancy 1-2, Jawan Mack 1-3, Piatt 2-(-13); Battery Creek -- Tyrone Dilbert 22-81, Alterell Chatman 8-25, Smalls 7-9, Daquan Dilbert 1-2
RECEIVING: Beaufort -- Keaton Butler 3-60, Mack 3-31, Carson 1-18