A packed stadium saw a hard-hitting and hard-fought battle Friday night between Hilton Head Island High School and Bluffton, and it was the host Seahawks who came away with the victory in the annual Bridge Bowl, 28-9 — their third win in a row in this contentious series.
There were 23 penalties called on the night, and two serious injuries that halted play for long stretches as the players were removed from the field on stretchers and taken away in ambulances.
Hilton Head High offensive lineman Emmanuel Lofton suffered a bad leg injury in the first quarter, and Bluffton wide receiver Tyrese Sandgren was upended on an attempted catch in the fourth quarter, landing on his neck.
Tyler Hamilton and Aidan Hegarty led the Seahawks (5-0), with Hamilton running for three touchdowns and Hegarty passing for another.
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Hegarty was locked in during the first half, connecting on 11 of 13 passes for 185 yards and the score — a beautifully thrown 48-yard strike to Taquan Pope late in the first half.
Hamilton was busy for the Seahawks, running 10 times for 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and also making three catches for 60 yards in the first half. Both of his first-half scores came with him taking the snap from the Wildcat formation. He added his third touchdown run — again, taking the snap — with 5 1/2 minutes to play. He finished with 20 carries for 65 yards and five receptions for 102 yards.
The Seahawks led 14-0 in the second quarter when Bluffton (4-2) got one of its only big plays of the night. Cameron Bent took a sweep around the end with a host of blockers in front of him and raced 51 yards to the end zone. That cut the home team’s lead in half, but not for long.
Hegarty completed six straight passes on the next possession, culminating with the long scoring toss to Pope, to get back the Seahawks’ two-score advantage.
The Bobcats got to Hegarty after halftime, intercepting him twice and holding him to just two completions in the last two quarters, but the senior quarterback still finished with 227 yards through the air.
Bluffton’s only points of the second half came during a wild third quarter that saw plenty of action but little scoring. After an interception by the Seahawks and a quick fumble by the Bobcats, Bluffton’s defense pinned the hosts inside their 10 with a third-down sack by Richard Jenkins. Hilton Head appeared confused on the punt attempt, and the snap sailed high through the back of the end zone for a Bobcats safety.
But the Hilton Head High defense kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard after that, and the Seahawks’ lead was never in doubt.
Zach Belger finished with 13 carries for 111 yards for Bluffton. Bent had 12 rushes for 96 yards.
Hilton Head Island 28, Bluffton 9
Bluffton 0 7 2 0 — 9
Hilton Head High 7 14 0 7 — 28
HHH — Tyler Hamilton 10 run (Jonathan Orr kick), 1:05
HHH — Hamilton 1 run (Orr kick), 5:40
BLF — Cameron Bent 51 run (D.J. Chappelear kick), 3:46
HHH — Taquan Pope 48 pass from Aidan Hegarty (Orr kick), 0:52
BLF — Safety, HHH fumbled out of end zone, 9:46
HHH — Hamilton 1 run (Orr kick), 5:38