The Thomas Heyward Academy football team heard the questions about exactly how good the Rebels were despite their undefeated record.
Well, they passed their first big test. But just barely.
Thomas Heyward (7-0, 3-0 SCISAA Region 2-AA) remained unbeaten with an 18-13 win over Hilton Head Prep on Friday that set up a region title showdown this week against Hilton Head Christian Academy and left Rebels coach Nic Shuford feeling a mixture of accomplishment and relief.
"We didn't play a good football game tonight," Shuford said. "Probably the biggest thing is we were wondering how this team was going to respond if everything was not going our way or if we got down. I thought we did a pretty good job of hanging in there and just kept on battling and did enough to get the W."
The Rebels trailed 7-6 at halftime but took control on a pair of touchdown runs of 30-plus yards by Ryan Day. If the Rebels are going to keep their undefeated record intact this week, they'll likely need a better offensive output against the Eagles, who score 29.9 points per game.
BEAUFORT HIGH'S MIXON SHINES IN 'I'
Beaufort High School football coach Mark Clifford, typically set in what he likes to do offensively, hasn't been afraid to mix things up this season.
The latest wrinkle came this past Friday against Ashley Ridge, when the Eagles lined up in the I-formation with JaClay Mixon at tailback and Ryan Allen at fullback. Mixon, a linebacker who had played sparingly at running back before last week, carried 27 times for 186 yards and two scores.
At fullback, Allen provided the element of surprise. He averaged more than 10 yards per carry and rushed for another score.
"We're quick with it, quicker than split backs," Clifford said. "(Ashley Ridge) working on split backs all week probably shook them up a little bit."
But after the Eagles fell to 0-2 in Region 8-AAAA, Clifford said he was less concerned with X's and O's than with helping his team play with fire during what has been a tough season. Beaufort High should be able to get back on track at winless Colleton County this week.
"It's about keeping these kids jacked up, keeping their spirits up and making something out of the season," Clifford said. "As hard as these guys work and as many bad breaks as they've had, something good's got to happen."
HHP'S HAIDON ON THE MEND
Hilton Head Prep fans endured a scary moment Friday night, when quarterback Jeremy Haidon took a shot in the back that left him lying on the ground for several minutes before leaving on a stretcher for precautionary reasons.
But it appears Haidon will be OK, and he hopes to return in time for the playoffs, if not for the regular-season finale at Hilton Head Christian on Oct. 28.
Haidon's father, Tom, said Sunday his son suffered a concussion and minor neck injury. He will be reevaluated this week to determine how soon he can return.
FACEBOOK FAN VOTE
The Thomas Heyward voting bloc flexed its social media muscle again last week, with Andrew Fowler taking home the top honors with 44.1 percent of the vote.
Will this be the week the big public schools get out the vote in support of their star players? You can have your say by voting in the poll at www.facebook.com/IPBGSports, then check out the official results on Friday's Preps Plus page.
The nominees are:
BLUFFTON TO HOST NCAA WORKSHOP
Bluffton High School will hold a free seminar Oct. 24 for athletes and their parents interested in learning more about the NCAA clearinghouse, college eligibility and recruiting regulations.
The seminar will take place at 7 p.m. Oct 24 inside the school's auditorium. Parents and athletes from ninth through 12th grade are encouraged to attend. For more information on the seminar, contact athletics director Dave Adams at 706-8926.
LOWCOUNTRY GOLFERS EARN ALL-REGION HONORS
Bluffton and Hilton Head High swept all-region recognition following the Region 7-AAA golf meet last week.
Sammie Buchanan, Brandi Hammonds, Kylie Nizolek and Kasidy Beckel were selected to represent the Bobcats on the all-region team. Bunchanan and Hammonds led the 18-hole meet with a 70, as the Bobcats ran away with the region title.
Lily Bartell, Jackie Budidharma and Nathalie Lezcano were named all-region from the Seahawks.