High School Sports

Beaufort High puts Colleton County in rear-view mirror, 45-10

Beaufort High's Maliek Maldonado (51) brings down Colleton County’s Tony Holmes (34) in the first quarter of Friday night's game.
Beaufort High's Maliek Maldonado (51) brings down Colleton County’s Tony Holmes (34) in the first quarter of Friday night's game. Jonathan Dyer | The Beaufort Gazette

Alex Simmons figures anyone scanning the scores late Friday or this morning over their coffee might pass Beaufort High's 45-10 football victory over Colleton County and figure the Eagles coasted.

But Simmons, the senior running back, and his teammates know the truth.

"We weren't Beaufort tonight," Simmons said. "We didn't play up to our potential tonight at all."

Perhaps the winless Cougars didn't earn the Eagles' full attention. After all, Beaufort High now prepares for its biggest game of the season. It plays host to Summerville for a chance at the Region 8-AAAA title.

Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford laughed earlier in the week when asked if the Eagles had been guilty of looking ahead. He feigned no knowledge of who came next on Beaufort High's schedule.

But he knew. And the Eagles knew, which is why Clifford called them only human after penalties and turnovers hindered their effort at times Friday.

"It's a little tough," Simmons said. "Because when you're looking down the road, you see a team you're really ready to play. I think any team across the state would look at Colleton and say, 'Oh, it's going to be an easy win.' They've got some good athletes and put up a fight."

The Eagles committed 11 penalties worth 105 yards and turned the ball over four times -- three fumbles and an early interception.

Beaufort High also made plays characteristic of its 8-1 start. The Eagles stuffed a fourth-down rush inside their own 1-yard line. After the turnover on downs, Beaufort High running back D'Vonta Cohen slipped to the outside and sprinted 99 yards for a Beaufort High score.

Kyle Clark, perhaps the Eagles' MVP to this point, ensured Colleton County started seven possessions at its 20. Clark also added a 38-yard field goal. And Mitchell Stewart drilled each of his six extra point attempts.

Colleton County came out expecting Beaufort High to run right at them, as the Cougars had seen on film. The Cougars opened in man coverage, so the Eagles went to the air.

Receiver Dymonte' Gwathney caught two big passes on the Eagles' opening drive, including a 21-yard touchdown grab. Beaufort High's 182 passing yards were its most of the season, Clifford said.

But he also admitted his team wasn't as sharp as it could be. He said preparing for Colleton County, which fell to 0-9 with the loss, made for one of the toughest weeks of the season.

Preparation for Summerville started with the return of coaches to the school following Friday's game. Simmons said the Eagles didn't spend a minute preparing for the Green Wave during the past week. But Clifford could tell something was off.

"I thought we played the most undisciplined game we played all year," Clifford said. "They're human, but they can't play like that again. Not for the rest of the season."