High School Sports

Hardeeville looks for quick start against Denmark-Olar

Hardeeville High School has already accomplished more than any football team in the school's four-year history.

After an 0-3 start to the season, that seemed rather unlikely. But the Hurricanes have responded by winning six of their next eight games -- including the first playoff win in school history, a 32-12 blowout of Whale Branch High School in the first round of the Class 1-A Division II playoffs a week ago.

Hardeeville isn't celebrating quite yet, though. That time will come later, they hope.

The second-seeded Hurricanes can add to the history tonight when they host Denmark-Olar at Hurricane Stadium. The winner of the game will advance to next week's Lower State championship game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Sixth-seeded Denmark-Olar upset rival Blackville-Hilda 15-14 last week, earning its first win against its rival since 1989. Denmark-Olar coach Michael Jordan is the team's ninth coach since 2005.

"Our team is playing with some confidence right now, which is good for us," Hurricanes coach Blake Raley said. "... We're looking to come out and play our brand of football, looking to take them out of the game early. We can't let them linger around -- that's for sure."

Hardeeville has established its brand on the ground. Behind a steadily improving offensive line -- led by tackle Jamal Kinlaw -- Jarrell Knighton has rushed for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

But the Hurricanes have added to their ground game in recent weeks with the emergence of Michael Kinlaw, who has seven touchdowns and three 100-yard games in the last four weeks.

"Defensively, they rely heavily on blitzing, and we're expecting them to stack the box," Raley said. "We need to get more snaps on offense than we did last week."

The Hurricanes defense has been a force itself over the last month. No opponent has topped 20 points since Hardeeville lost to Region 5-A winner Bamberg-Ehrhardt on Oct. 8.

Dominique Riley leads the team with 131 tackles, and Yoshi Washington has paced the defensive line with 91 tackles and eight sacks.

The winner of tonight's game will face the winner of top-seeded Scott's Branch and No. 5 Lake View in the Class 1-A Division II Lower State championship next Friday.

Who: Denmark-Olar (5-6, 3-5 Region 6-A) at Hardeeville (6-5, 5-2 Region 5-A)

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hurricane Stadium

Projected starters


Offense: QB Donald Scott, RB Michael Kinlaw, RB Jarrell Knighton, WR Brandon Blackshear, TE Dominique Riley, WR Charlie Morrison-Ford, OL Jamal Kinlaw, OL Christopher Campbell, OL Landon Johnson, OL Xavier Gist, OL Demetrius Garvin.

Defense: DL Landon Johnson, DL Demetrius Garvin , DL Gabriel Washington, DL Philip Harris, LB Amar Wilkins, LB Dominique Riley, LB Brandon Blackshear, LB Terrell Knighton, DB Donald Scott, DB Charlie Morrison-Ford, DB Aaron Grant.

Special teams: P Charlie Morrison-Ford, K Philip Harris.