High School Sports

Countdown to Oct. 29 under way on island

Most high school football coaches claim they take the season one game at a time, focusing their attention on the opponent up next.

Hilton Head Prep's Ron Peduzzi isn't like most coaches.

"Right now, we're looking at Christian Academy," Peduzzi said minutes after beating Thomas Heyward on Friday.

The two Hilton Head Island rivals are scheduled to play Oct. 29 at Hilton Head Prep.

Before that, the Dolphins (6-2, 2-1 in SCISAA Region 2-AA) travel to winless First Baptist in what should be little more than a tune-up game. Hilton Head Christian (6-1, 3-0) dominated Northwood Academy on Friday and hosts Thomas Heyward this week.

If all goes as expected, the regular-season finale for both teams should be for more than bragging rights.

"Hey, they've got a great team," Peduzzi said. "They're the defending state champion. I would say they are top 3 in all of SCISAA, and from what I've seen, they could play a lot of public schools, too. (Quarterback) Luke Sirgo does a great job, they've got a nice back in JaBrook Tucker and the (Kyle) Weaver kid is a stud. A beast. An animal. They've also got a nice wide receiver."

The cross-island series has been about as even as possible, with Hilton Head Christian holding a 5-4 advantage. But the Eagles have also won the past two in a row.

"They've had our number," Peduzzi said. "What was it Georgia Tech's Coach Johnson said? It's not a rivalry until you beat your rival. We haven't beaten them in a while. It's going to be a big challenge."

NO PASSING FANCY

After leaning heavily on its running game early in the season, Hilton Head Christian's passing game is starting to click just in time for a playoff push.

Quarterback Luke Sirgo attempted only 18 passes and threw for only 229 yards through the Eagles' first two games, but he has topped 200 yards in four of the past five games and has thrown three or more touchdown passes in each of those contests, giving him 1,378 yards, 21 touchdowns and only one interception this season.

"It's always like that with the passing game," senior tight end Ryan Emery said. "It starts slow in the beginning of the season, but as the season has gone on, we've gotten better timing with the routes. We had a few new receivers this year, so we're getting used to Sirgo."

The Eagles lost their top two receivers from last season to graduation -- and Ethan Gort and Zac Lenns weren't just any receivers. The duo combined for 92 catches for 1,530 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago.

But the Eagles have developed a new arsenal of receivers, led by Emery (28 catches, 449 yards, 7 TDs) and Alex Martin (25 catches, 514 yards, 8 TDs), and senior Eric Farr (13 catches, 257 yards, 5 TDs) has come on strong in recent weeks after making the move from running back to receiver.

Three different receivers -- Martin, Farr and Josh Mousseau -- caught touchdown passes in Friday's 41-21 win against Northwood Academy.

"It's just repetition and just practicing and really getting a feel for each other," Sirgo said. "We keep on building and getting better. We stay after practice and work on routes we need to work on."

BC FIGHTS TO LIMIT BIG PLAYS

Plenty of circumstances have frustrated the Battery Creek High School football team this season.

It started with the loss of several playmakers to Whale Branch High School. And injuries have forced Dolphins' coaches to shuffle their remaining players, leaving some in unfamiliar positions and situations.

But some of the biggest frustrations are what Battery Creek coach Carlos Cave prepared to watch again as he sat under the flat-screen television in his office late Friday. Cave felt the Dolphins had prepared well for Bluffton High School's wing attack. They knew what to expect, he said.

On the field, though, Battery Creek surrendered big plays in bunches. And, as the Dolphins labor through a tough season, the least Cave wants to see the rest of the way is his team allow fewer big gains on defense.

"You rep it, rep it, rep it," Cave said. "But you see it live in a game and you don't react to it, or react slow to it, then what happens is what happened (Friday). It turns into a lot of big runs... And it's just hard for the kids to maintain a high level when they give it up in one play.

HHH PREPARES FOR DOLPHINS

Hilton Head High coach Tim Singleton has maintained all season that his goal is not to make the playoffs but rather to simply get better each week of the season.

After a week in each the Seahawks did neither -- resulting in a 37-7 loss to Cane Bay -- the team is facing an important Region 7-AAA battle if it wants to reach the postseason.

Based on the first three weeks of the region schedule, the Seahawks (3-5, 1-2) will likely need one more win to earn a spot in the postseason. They may get their best opportunity when they host winless Battery Creek (0-8, 0-3) Friday night.

"We have to forget about this one and move on," Seahawks junior Raheem Williams said. "It's time to go work at practice Monday and put this one behind us."

The Seahawks are alone in fourth place in the region -- in which the top four teams qualify for the playoffs -- but Battery Creek and winless Lake Marion meet on the final week of the season, guaranteeing one of the two teams a region victory.

EXTRA POINTS

All Battery Creek, Bluffton, Hilton Head Prep and Hilton Head High football coaches wore pink Polo shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hilton Head Christian's players sported pink socks for the same cause. Hilton Head Prep also had a pink ribbon painted on the 50-yard line and reminded fans to wear pink in support of the cause at the next home game on Oct. 29. ... Adam Orischak returned from injury Friday night and scored the Seahawks' only touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Michael Julian. ... Singleton said the Seahawks' target is 70 offensive plays per game; they ran 43 on Friday night...Battery Creek quarterback Leroy Jennette might stay at receiver while his shoulder continues to mend. Receiver Kevin Sanders would continue to play quarterback.

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