JOHNSTON -- Hilton Head learned a valuable lesson in the early goings of Friday's Class 3-A playoff opener against Strom Thurmond: Don't try to defend the Rebels with a man-to-man scheme.
Strom Thurmond (10-1) collected a 63-20 victory over Hilton Head (5-6) fueled by long early touchdown runs by Jauveer Hammond and Darius Hammond straight through the middle of the Seahawks' defense.
"They were trying to play us straight man," Rebel head coach Lee Sawyer said. "When you get to that second level, there's some big plays available."
After the Rebels forced a three-and-out on Hilton Head's first possession, Jauveer Hammond took the ball 43 yards to the end zone to start the scoring. The teams traded punts, and with horrible field position, the junior signal caller struck again, this time for a 96-yard score that he said felt "great." He said that the long runs - part of a five-carry, 192-yard performance - were a combination of designed plays and reads on his part.
Never miss a local story.
Next, it was Darius Hammond's turn early in the second quarter. He blew through the Seahawks defense for a 53-yard score to give the home team a 21-0 lead and finished the night with 111 yards on nine carries.
Led by Shrine Bowl quarterback Michael Julian, the Seahawks showed a little life later in the second, capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by Khalil Lewis.
The Rebels wasted little time responding, as James McKie added a rumbling 12-yard scoring run less than two minutes later, and after a Julian fumble in Seahawks territory, linebacker Kenyatta Dunbar came in for a goal-line set and punched in an 8-yard run.
With less than a minute to go in the half, Jauveer Hammond found Ty Brooks for a 35-yard touchdown strike to push the halftime margin to 42-6.
In the second half, against the Rebels reserves, Julian and Lewis each adding 2-yard scoring runs. Julian ran for 74 yards and completed 14 of 25 passes for 149 more yards, while Lewis had 132 yards on 28 carries.
Strom Thurmond ran for 492 yards and eight touchdowns on 39 carries.
Strom Thurmond 63, Hilton Head Island 20
HHH 0 6 7 7 -- 20
ST 14 28 14 7 -- 63
ST -- Jauveer Hammond 43 run (Trent Miller kick) 10:11.
ST -- J. Hammond 96 run (Miller kick) 1:55.
ST -- Darius Hammond 53 run (Miller kick) 10:43.
HHH -- Khalil Lewis 26 run (kick blocked) 4:32.
ST -- James McKie 12 run (Miller kick) 2:48.
ST -- Kenyatta Dunbar 8 run (Miller kick) 1:56.
ST -- J. Hammond 35 pass to Ty Brooks (Miller kick) :46.6.
ST -- McKie 1 run (Miller kick) 9:42.
ST -- Delonte Bates 2 run (Miller kick) 2:53.
HHH -- Michael Julian 2 run (Colin White kick) :7.7.
HHH -- Lewis 2 run (White kick) 5:06.
ST -- Chad Gilchrist 48 run (Miller kick) 1:55.
RUSHING: HHH -- Lewis 28-132-2TD, Julian 16-74-1TD, Robbie Iulo 1-(-5), Jamarcus Moradel 2-13. ST -- J. Hammond 5-192, D. Hammond 9-111, McKie 6-40, Dunbar 1-8, Tyree Stidem 7-30, Bates 6-31, Gilchrist 5-80.
PASSING: HHH -- Julian 14-25-0-149. ST -- J. Hammond 3-5-0-58.
RECEIVING: HHH -- James Sanders 1-3, Jonny Dillon 3-18, Adam Orischak 5-70, Lewis 1-18, Iulo 2-20, Eliot Florencio 2-20. ST -- T. Brooks 1-35, Kendall Hill 1-3, D. Hammond 1-20.