Coming into the season, Hilton Head Prep was counting on senior linebacker Austin Baker to anchor a defense that was losing four of its top seven tacklers.
But now Baker has joined a growing list of injured Dolphins.
Prep (2-3), which started the season with fewer than two dozen players, was down to 14 healthy bodies by the end of Friday's 40-13 loss to Northwood Academy.
Baker, who didn't play for the second straight week, had surgery on his foot Friday and is out indefinitely.
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Baker recorded 104 tackles, two interceptions and a sack as a junior.
"You just don't replace a kid like that in small school football," Hilton Head Prep coach Kevin Wald said.
The Dolphins host Calhoun Academy on Friday before returning to SCISAA Region 2-AA play Oct. 5 at Thomas Heyward Academy.
BLACK STEPS IN FOR AILING QB
Sophomore quarterback Shuler Black performed well in his first career start in place of injured senior starter Ben Vaigneur, helping lead Beaufort High School (3-2) to a 42-28 win over Carolina Forest.
"We tightened up the game plan and didn't make him do a whole lot," Eagles coach Mark Clifford said. "He really did well. He did a great job."
Black threw for 160 yards and a touchdown in the win. Vaigneur missed the game with an injured hip.
EAGLES LOSE INTENSITY
Clifford was unhappy with the way his defense finished the win over Carolina Forest.
Aead 42-14 with about nine minutes remaining in the game, Beaufort High surrendered two touchdowns.
"It was good because a lot of kids played," Clifford said. "But I had to put the first team back in with five minutes left. We got a little complacent at the end."
FRAZIER'S RETURN BOOSTS BC
When Battery Creek High School offensive lineman Justin Frazier went down in Week 2 with a knee injury, coaches expected their senior would be out six weeks.
Frazier was the Dolphins' top run blocker and was missed. Battery Creek dropped its next two games, to rival Whale Branch Early College High School and Hilton Head Island High School.
But Frazier's injury, a dislocated kneecap, was less serious than originally thought. He has been back on the field for the Dolphins the past two weeks, sporting a knee brace.
The Dolphins have rushed for 475 yards the past two games, both victories. In the two losses during Frazier's absence, the Dolphins totaled 315 yards on the ground.
"He's fine," Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman said. "We're just trying to make sure he stays fine. ... It was a great thing to have him back."
GET OUT THE VOTE
Fans can visit www.facebook.com/IPBGsports and vote for their candidate for the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette Player off the Week.
The winner of the fan vote gets one of the five votes cast each week.
This week's candidates are: