High School Sports

Beaufort travels to Hilton Head Island for an offensive Region 8-AAA showdown

Beaufort's Eli Glisson, left, and Andrew Jezewski combine to tackle Hilton Head Island's Tyler Hamilton (6) in the 2014 game between the Region 8-AAA rivals.
Beaufort's Eli Glisson, left, and Andrew Jezewski combine to tackle Hilton Head Island's Tyler Hamilton (6) in the 2014 game between the Region 8-AAA rivals. jkarr@islandpacket.com

Will anybody stop anybody?

That's a fair question heading into Friday night's game between Beaufort (4-2) and Hilton Head Island (6-0) at Hilton Head.

Beaufort rushed for 504 yards in last week's 63-6 win over Stall, its second straight 60-point performance.

"Practice and execution," Beaufort head coach Mark Clifford said.

And Hilton Head Island put up 600-plus yards in a 73-52 shootout win over Berkeley after a layoff of more than two weeks.

So, will either team stop the other?

"I would hope so," Hilton Head Island head coach B.J. Payne. "We will see. ... We will see if rest (from them playing on Friday and us on Monday) factors in."

The Seahawks' offense wa a coach's dream in Monday's win. Payne said it was the best offensive performance he'd been around as a coach.

"The thing I loved about it was that we were extremely balanced," he said. "Two 100-yard receivers, a 200-yard running back, a quarterback who threw for 324 and ran for 68.

"That's all on the offensive line. They were great."

Harvey King. Jackson Warren. Joey Kurkel. Hayden Riley. Tad Zmarzly.

Those are the names of the guys who made it happen up front for the Seahawks. They are the guys who made it possible for Tyler Hamilton to rush for more than 200 yards and score five touchdowns. And for Aidan Hegarty to throw for more than 300 yards.

To be fair, Beaufort has some guys who deserve to have their name put out there, as well.

Clark Henderson, Brice Adkins, Drew Bachmann, Woods Langehans, Kodie Strubie, Dylan Williams, Joe Crayton and John-Ryan Goneke.

Those are the guys who plowed a path and allowed the Eagles to rush for more than 500 yards. Beaufort passed just five times.

The Eagles' running back by committee, which now numbers at least four, chews up real estate.

"If we cant run the ball," Clifford said. "we won't win."

"Beaufort is Beaufort -- they don't change," Payne said. "(They) play smashmouth physical football on offense and defensively get after you from different angles, line up correctly and don't make mistakes.

"They also have the best group of running backs we will probably face this year and the best we have faced this year."

Wyatt Sherpensky lead the area with 852 yards and nine touchdowns on 100 carries. But make no mistake, Omar Cummings (41 carries for 305 yards), Jeffrey Tookes (45 for 236) and Kyleik Middleton (17 for 210) are serious threats.

As hard as it may seem, Clifford said there's no trouble getting them all involved.

"Some have special plays, some have special blocks, some have special fakes," Clifford said, "but they all do the basics."

Payne knows the Seahawks can't let Beaufort control the game on the ground.

"We have to be disciplined on defense and not get nosey," he said. "They didn't have to throw the ball last week. If we don't take care of business, they wont have to throw it this week either."

Conversely, Clifford reocgnizes the tremendous athletes on Hilton Head's side of the ball. In addition to Hamilton and Hegarty, Jestin Morrow, an obvious Shrine Bowl snub, and Bryce Singleton are dangerous.

Clifford's solution for slowing down the Seahawks?

"Responsibility football and open-field tackling," he said.

Clifford said every game at this point is tough, but both coaches know this may be the toughest game their teams play in the region the rest of the season.

"Each week, that game becomes the most important," Payne said. "We Have Beaufort, O-W and Hanahan left. All are important.

"But to this point, this is by far the most important game of the season."

Friday's schedule

Ashley Ridge at Bluffton, 7:30 p.m.

Battery Creek at North Charleston, 7:30 p.m.

Beaufort Academy at Coastal Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Beaufort at Hilton Head Island, 7:30 p.m.

Cathedral Academy at John Paul II, 7:30 p.m.

Hilton Head Christian at Thomas Heyward Academy, 7:30 p.m.

St. Andrew's at Hilton Head Prep, 4 p.m.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville at Wade Hampton, 7:30 p.m.

Whale Branch at Academic Magnet, 7:30 p.m.

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