From staff reports
Rivals Beaufort High School and Battery Creek will not meet on the football field in 2012, ending a streak that spanned almost four decades.
Beaufort High School athletics director Jerry Linn said the recent lopsided nature of the series and the Class 4-A playoff points system were determining factors. The Eagles defeated their rivals 62-6 at home in Week 2.
"We initiated the request," Linn said. "We got out there, you could see play after play after play, Battery Creek kids, their heads started to drop."
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Battery Creek athletics director John Drafts said the two teams had played each year since 1973. He said Linn told him after the most recent meeting that Beaufort High might drop the Dolphins from its schedule and called him last week to confirm the decision.
"We wanted to play," Drafts said. "They said they didn't want to play. So hey, what are you going to do?"
Linn said the S.C. High School League's points system for seeding the Class 4-A playoffs was also a factor. Under the system, a team is rewarded for playing teams with winning records and teams from larger classifications.
Drafts said the rivalry game is important for its tradition and for the gate -- the host school draws a good crowd from both sides. He said he moved the Whale Branch date to accommodate Beaufort High the third week of the season before learning of the Eagles' intention not to play the game.
The Dolphins last defeated their rivals in 2003. Beaufort High has owned the rivalry since. Drafts said he didn't know when or if the teams might schedule each other again.
Dropping Battery Creek is effective at least the next two seasons, until the next realignment, Linn said. He said the Dolphins could be added to the schedule then.
"I hope so," he said. "We're a natural rivalry."
The Dolphins will start the 2012 season on the road at Estill, travel to Whale Branch for their first game against the Warriors and then play host to Hilton Head High. Beaufort High now has two remaining holes in its 2012 schedule, Linn said.
The agony of Friday's 49-45 loss to Fort Dorchester felt too familiar for Beaufort High -- the loss of a late lead, the inability to make a stop down the stretch -- but the Eagles hope their case of deja vu doesn't stop here.
After a 34-29 loss to the Patriots last season, the Eagles reeled off seven straight wins to claim the Region 8-AAAA title before bowing out in the first round of the Class 4-A playoffs.
They hope to parlay Friday's loss into a motivating factor to go on another run.
"I told them they're going to be down, and they're going to be hurting, but they can't stay down for too long," Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford said. "We've got to commit just like we did last year at this time. We've got to go on the road and win the rest of them. But we need to go further than we did last year."
HURRICANES RIGHT WHERE THEY WANT TO BE?
There is little to suggest the season has started well for Hardeeville High School. After all, the Hurricanes have been outscored 104-12 during their 0-3 start to 2011, including a 28-12 loss Friday night at Hilton Head High.
But if any team knows better than to panic, this could be the one.
After an identical 0-3 start a year ago, the Hurricanes bounced back to win five of their first six region games before eventually making a run to the Class 1-A Lower State championship game.
"I think this team is going back to Lower State," said Philip Harris, who appeared with the Hurricanes for the first time Friday.
Although his team lost Friday night while committing six turnovers, coach Blake Raley said he liked the fight his team showed after falling behind 21-0. The Hurricanes came out in the second half and scored back-to-back touchdowns on runs from Harris and Charlie Morrison-Ford to cut the deficit to nine points before Hilton Head High pulled away.
It will take that intensity, Raley said, to win Region 5-A games this season.
"We're going to get things going for region play," Raley said. "We've been in this situation before, so it's nothing new for us. I expect us to play a heck of a lot better next week."
CAST YOUR VOTE
Every week during the high school football season, fans can vote for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette's area player of the week. To vote, visit our sports department's Facebook page at facebook.com/IPBGsports.
This week's nominees are Hilton Head High quarterback Michael Julian, Bluffton High School cornerback Jeremy Scott, Beaufort High running back Parrish Holmes and Thomas Heyward Academy running back Ryan Day.
The results of the online voting will run on the Preps Plus page in Friday's sports section.