For three weeks, Hilton Head Island High School football coach B.J. Payne has implored his team to cut back on mistakes. On Friday night, the Seahawks finally heeded his words, with spectacular results.
"We clean up the sloppiness and we're starting to play," Payne said. "We're starting to click on all cylinders."
Defensive back Jestin Morrow compiled 212 return yards, including an 80-yard kickoff return for a score, and took an interception back 35 yards to pace Payne's squad, which jumped all over the Dolphins in a 56-14 victory at Battery Creek High School.
It took the Seahawks' offense less than six minutes to fly out to a 21-0 lead.
"I thought we played excellent defense, obviously special teams, and that's what we have to do," Payne said. "I think maybe Jestin will agree with me, this week was maybe a little bit of redemption. He made a couple mistakes last week and he knew this was going to be his time to make up for it."
Payne noticed some positive signs in a loss at West Ashley, and Friday night, those manifested themselves into a nearly flawless performance on that side of the ball. Quarterback Aidan Hegarty found Tyler Hamilton, who had three touchdowns of his own, open down the middle for a 36-yard score on the third play of the game.
Just a few minutes later, DeAngelo Clark rumbled in from 4 yards out, followed by a Hegarty rushing touchdown to push the lead to 21.
The Seahawks did all of this without leading receiver Aaron Frazier, who was unavailable for Friday night's game, according to Payne, though he declined to specify the reason. The Seahawks are expecting Frazier to be available after the upcoming bye week, Payne said.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins could get nothing going Friday, and suffered injuries to fullback Alterell Chatman and running back Daquan Dilbert. The workload fell to Tyrone Dilbert, who piled up 200 yards rushing, including a bruising 43-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
Coach Jim Shuman said the Dolphins suffered from a heavy dose of bad luck, but was proud of Dilbert's effort in a game that got out of hand early. Both teams agreed to a running clock in the second half.
"Tyrone is a machine, he's an outstanding player," Shuman said. "Tonight I just felt like we had horrible luck. I just felt like we made mistakes, they capitalized on it. We've improved a lot, we just unfortunately ran into a very good team tonight."
But the undoubted star of the night was Morrow, who after the game could hardly believe what had happened, admitting it might take a while for the performance to sink in.
"We just had a hard week of work because after we got our butts kicked last week, we had to redeem ourselves," Morrow said. "It felt liked no one stopped me when I run it."
Hilton Head High 56, Battery Creek 14
Hilton Head 21 21 7 7 -- 56
Battery Creek 0 0 7 7 -- 14
HHH -- Tyler Hamilton 36 pass from Aidan Hagerty (Reier kick) 10:59
HHH -- DeAngelo Clark 4 run (Reier kick) 7:34
HHH -- Hegarty 6 run (Reier kick) 6:13
HHH -- Martin Duane 31 INT return (Reier kick) 9:21
HHH -- Hamilton 11 pass from Hegarty (Reier kick) 3:26
HHH -- Jestin Morrow 35 INT return (Reier kick) 2:27
HHH -- Hamilton 5 run (Reier kick) 10:30
BC -- Tyrone Dilbert 43 run (Kick failed) :42
HHH -- Morrow 80 kick return (Reier kick) (11:50)
BC -- Diamonte Blackshear 16 run (Blackshear run) 6:53
First Downs 9 7
Rushes-Yards 15-97 37-248
Comp-Att-Int 9-10-0 2-5-3
Passing Yards 118 11
Punts-Avg 1-25 2-32.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-Yards 5-30 3-30
PASSING: HHH -- Aidan Hegarty 9-10--0-118; BC -- Raekwon Smalls 2-5-3-11.
RUSHING: HHH -- Tyler Hamilton 4-26, Aidan Hegarty 4-33, Logan Toomer 3-24, DeAngelo Clark 3-11, P.J. Franklin 1-3; BC -- Tyrone Dilbert 24-200, Diamonte Blackshear 4-32, Alterell Chatman 3-10, Raekwon Smalls 6-6.
RECEIVING: HHH -- Tyler Hamilton 3-49, Jordan Rozek 3-29, P.J. Franklin 2-25, Ta'quan Pope 2-15; BC -- Eric Freeman 1-7, Chris Kennedy 1-4.