High School Sports

Sirgo guides HHCA through easy first-rounder

Two offensive plays, two touchdowns.

That's how Hilton Head Christian Academy officially started its defense of the SCISAA Class 2-A state title against Florence Christian on Friday night.

Quarterback Luke Sirgo opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Eric Farr. Following an interception by Clay Oliver, Sirgo hooked up with Alex Martin for a 16-yard touchdown pass on Hilton Head Christian's second play.

Sirgo went on to throw two more touchdown passes and ran in two others, leading his squad to a 48-28 victory in the opening round of the playoffs.

He finished with 209 passing yards and 75 rushing yards.

"We played well," Sirgo said. "We watched film and learned from a couple of things we saw on the line."

After the two early touchdown plays, it looked like Hilton Head Christian might challenge the national record for most points scored in a high school game. For those keeping score, the record is 256 set by Haven High School (Kansas) in 1926.

Hilton Head Christian didn't keep pouring it on, though. In fact, the Eagles struggled the rest of the first quarter. Florence Christian started mixing up its blitz packages and sacked Sirgo three times. When Sirgo wasn't pressured, he was out of sync with his receivers. A touchdown by JaBrook Tucker was also called back for holding.

"Sometimes getting off to such a fast start can lead to some complacency," Hilton Head Christian coach Tommy Lewis said. "I think we got a little complacent there in the latter part of the first quarter and into the second quarter. We were able to fight through it, wake up a little bit and get things going again."

Hilton Head Christian got back into the swing of things near the end of the second quarter. Sirgo hooked up with Ryan Emery for a 10-yard touchdown pass, ran in a 5-yard touchdown, then found Emery again for a 38-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a commanding 34-0 halftime lead.

"We picked up something there," Emery said. "That linebacker was blitzing so I ran an off-slant to get behind the backers. Sirgo hit me quick and it was just a touchdown from there. ... (The passing game) has definitely turned it on since the beginning of the season. We're starting to click and Sirgo is hitting all targets."

Tucker got in on the action in the second half, breaking loose for a 48-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter. With a 41-0 lead, the Eagles started substituting players on both sides of the ball.

And just like in Hilton Head Christian's season-opener, Florence Christian made a strong second-half push, scoring all 28 of its points.

Sophomore running back James McClary did the most damage, rushing for 117 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. He also had 73 yards receiving and a score on five catches.

"We were determined to fight to the end," McClary said. "We were not going to give up. That's our main thing in our program. Whether we win or lose, nobody intimidates us, I don't care who they are."

Florence Christian ends its season with a record of 3-8. Hilton Head Christian improves to 9-1 and will face a familiar foe in next Friday's semifinal round -- rival Hilton Head Prep.

The Dolphins defeated Pee Dee Academy 48-20 on Friday and will be looking to avenge a 49-28 loss to Hilton Head Christian in the regular-season finale.

Sirgo expects his team to be up to the challenge once again.

"Home field, we've got nothing to lose," Sirgo said. "Semifinal game to go to the state championship against our rival. We're going to be coming out hard."

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