MONCKS CORNER — Two of the top offensive teams in the lower state showcased their skills in Monday night’s region 8-AAAA clash between Hilton Head Island and Berkeley.
On the other hand, neither team did much on the defensive side of the ball.
Hilton Head improved to 6-0 on the season, outscoring the Stags, 73-52. Berkeley dropped to 2-4 overall while allowing 70 points for the third time this season.
“Really happy to win,” Hilton Head Island coach B.J. Payne said. “We knew it might be this type of game. Berkeley has a really good offense and we do as well. We’ve been in a lot of games over the years where we gave up 52 points and loss. Tonight we managed to win one of those.”
The two teams combined for more than 1,200 total yards and ran nearly 200 plays. Hilton Head finished with 660 yards, led by the one-two punch of senior quarterback Aidan Hegarty and junior running back Tyler Hamilton.
Hegarty passed for 314 yards and rushed for 67 more while Hamilton rushed for 206 yards, scoring six total touchdowns.
Berkeley amassed 616 total yards, paced by junior quarterback Darius Douglas, who tallied 269 yards passing and 90 more on the ground.
“It’s disappointing, really disappointing,” Berkeley head coach Jeff Cruce said. “Anytime you score 52 points, you should win the game. It was a game with two really good offenses and they played just a little better defense. We have to fix it, somehow. To give up 70 points three times in a season, that’s disappointing.”
The Stags took an 8-0 lead on D.J. Chisolm’s 23-yard run midway through the first quarter. DJ Robinson’s 55-yard scoring run gave the Stags a 14-7 lead but Hamilton’s first touchdown run of the game gave Hilton head a 15-14 lead with a minute left in the first quarter and the race to 70 was on.
Berkeley’s last lead came on Austin Miles’ 13-yard run, giving the Stags a 20-15 lead with 9:17 to play in the second quarter.
Hilton Head’s Jestin Morrow returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to begin a 30-0 scoring run. Hegarty tossed three touchdown passes during the run and ended the half with a 44-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 45-20 halftime advantage.
“The kick return really hurt, and then they score and get an onside kick and scored again,” Cruce said. “They just got too far ahead in the second quarter. I thought our kids really played hard in the second half. We got it close a few times but we never could stop them.”
Robinson opened the third quarter with a 51-yard run but Hamilton scored on a 31-yard run minutes later to up the lead to 52-28. Douglas tossed touchdown passes to Harry Dorsey and Rionaldo Phyall to cut the lead to 52-40 with 3:45 left in the third but Hamilton scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to keep the Stags at bay.
Both teams will have a short week to prepare for Friday night’s games. Hilton Head Island will host Beaufort, while Berkeley travels to Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
“We weren’t perfect,” Payne said. “Defensively we have to get better. We had 17 days off and the rust showed some defensively. But I am proud of our kids. It’s a big win for us and now we have to get ready for Beaufort in a hurry.”