If it weren't for misfortune, the Beaufort Academy football team wouldn't have much fortune to speak of during its 2012 season, a disappointing reality that continued Friday night in a setback to visiting Coastal Christian at Merritt Field.
The undermanned, undersized and inexperienced Eagles turned the ball over early and often Friday, falling to the visiting Cougars, 44-8, their fourth straight loss on a season that has seen multiple injuries, miscues and plain old bad luck hamper the Beaufort Academy squad.
A quartet of first-half turnovers, including a fumble returned 40 yards by Reaquan Gregg that started a 30-point second-quarter onslaught, lifted Coastal Christian to an insurmountable 38-0 halftime lead.
Beaufort Academy entered the game without injured starting quarterback Gibson Achurch and tailback Charlie Humprhies. The absence of those two seniors combined with the miscues proved too much for the Eagles, who dropped to 1-5 on the campaign.
"That's been the story of our season," said Eagles coach Wheatley Alford. "We play well at times and other times we look like the young team we are. We'll continue to play hard, and it just has to be 'next man up' right now for us."
To its credit, Coastal Christian capitalized on just about every Eagle miscue, scoring 30 points off the first-half turnovers and stopping Beaufort Academy on more than a handful of fourth-down attempts throughout the contest. Unable to throw the ball effectively, the Eagles relied heavily on a ground attack led by sophomore Reyn Robinson, who ran the ball hard but found few holes in the stingy Cougar defense.
Charleston-based Coastal Christian, however, enjoyed success both on the ground -- behind three touchdown runs from Garrett Lynch -- and through the air on several key receptions by Rutledge Crenshaw, including an insult-to-injury 30-yard reception from Cameron Barrett to end the half following the fourth Eagle turnover of the night.
Despite the deep hole, the young Eagles, who didn't have a single senior dressed for Friday's contest, continued to battle in the second half. Late in the third quarter, Robinson broke off a 35-yard scoring scamper to get the Eagles on the board and the defense stiffened in the absence of offensive mistakes to hold the Cougars to only six points in the final 24 minutes of play.
That effort wasn't lost on the coaching staff, which praised the young Eagles for their second-half play.
"The kids played well (in the second half)," Alford said. "They came out and gave their best effort. That's something to build on for next week."