High School Football

Week 6: Hilton Head High needs quick rebound for tonight's region opener

The word floating around the Hilton Head Island High School field house this week is a simple one. The theme is straightforward, its message clear as day.


Hilton Head High enters Week 6 with discussion over last Friday's blowout loss to rival Bluffton still running rampant. The Seahawks surrendered a school-record 80 points in the defeat -- the most since allowing 76 to Bluffton in 2011, which surpassed 70 surrendered at Summerville in 2004 -- and school officials went to the Beaufort County School District afterward with complaints over incidents surrounding the game.

How the Seahawks respond from what was arguably one of the most frustrating losses in program history remains to be seen.

"It's a rebound week for us," coach B.J. Payne said. "We have to make sure we have our focus back. Our kids have come in this week and done their work so far."

The Seahawks will get their first shot at redemption tonight at 7 against Stall, which travels to Hilton Head High as the first opponent in the newly-aligned Region 8-AAA. Hilton Head High will look to get off to a fast start in league play in the hopes of earning its first region title since 2008.

"We'll be ready," Payne said. "Our kids understand what we have to do. We've got something to play for every week. Our kids understand that and understand the importance of that. They're preparing as such."

Hilton Head High (3-2) will look to run its winning streak over Stall (2-3) to five, as the Seahawks earned four consecutive wins over the Warriors from 2006-2009. Stall has not beaten Hilton Head High since 1991, according to scfootballhistory.com

When the Seahawks finally tee it up against their new region foe, they'll see an opponent that looks quite familiar. Payne said Stall, which is led by dual-threat quarterback Jordan Carswell, mirrors Hilton Head High from a season ago. The Warriors run several different offensive formations -- from multiple sets out of the shotgun to the I-formation -- while employing a 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

Hilton Head High will look to bring pressure on Carswell, who will start for just the sixth time in his career at quarterback. The junior moved over to the position after the Warriors' normal starter transferred two weeks before the season began. Carswell had been one of the best wide receivers in the Charleston area, according to coach Johnny Boykin.

"He's definitely the focus of our offense," Boykin said. "We've had to change it quite a bit. Originally it was focused on getting him the ball and running the ball on play action. We try to be pretty dynamic in what we do and spread it around. We're definitely leaning on his ability to throw it and run it and to lead our team."

Hilton Head High can match last season's win total with a victory, but to do that, the Seahawks will first have to get past last week's disappointing Bridge Bowl.

Or, to put it simply, rebound.

"They're focused," Payne said. "They understand the task at hand."


Bishop England (4-1) at Battery Creek (2-3), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Battery Creek 42, Bishop England 6 (1997)

The skinny: Battery Creek is coming off consecutive wins for the first time since 2003. Bishop England is the defending Class 2-A state champion. The Bishops have scored more than 40 points in three of their four victories. Both teams are 2-0 in Region 6-AA.

Players to watch: Battery Creek WR Teyvon Jennette has an injured hand but is practicing and is expected to play. Bishop England RB DeAngelo Stephenson ran for two touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for a touchdown to help the Bishops defeat North Charleston last week.

Keys to the game: Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman wants the Dolphins' defense to stop the Bishops early. Battery Creek allowed Ridgeland-Hardeeville an early touchdown in Week 5, a trend Shuman has noticed throughout the season. "We've got to come out fired to play from the beginning," he said.

Academic Magnet (3-2) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (2-3), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

The skinny: The Jaguars are looking to get back on track in Region 6-AA after a tough loss to Battery Creek. The Raptors are 3-2, but 0-2 in the region with losses to powerful Bishop England and Woodland.

Players to watch: Stuart Walters is the go-to guy for the Raptors. They move him around in an effort to put the ball in his hands as often as possible. He leads the team in passing, rushing and is tied for the team lead in receptions. He's also a playmaker on defense. Jaguar Deo'vonte Doe is third in the area in rushing.

Keys to the game: Despite two region losses to tough opponents, Academic Magnet hasn't seen the level of competition Ridgeland-Hardeeville has. If the Jaguars can correct mistakes they made last week against Battery Creek, particularly in the red zone, they can get back to .500.

St. Andrew's (1-4) at Thomas Heyward (6-0), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Thomas Heyward won 49-14 (2011)

The skinny: The Rebels are coming off a big win and shouldn't have much trouble with the Lions, who have just 19 players on their roster.

Players to watch: Thomas Heyward's Ryan Day and JD Tuten are 1-2 in the area in rushing, combining for more than 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns. Their night may be through at halftime.

Keys to the game: The Lions are a wishbone-type team that tries to pound it, eating up the clock. But despite running the ball 81 percent of the time, The Lions have just one rushing touchdown on the season, aganst seven passing, and it was a 70-yard run. Barring serious injuries or other calamities, the Rebels should enjoy this homecoming matchup thoroughly.

Calhoun Academy (3-2) at Hilton Head Prep (2-3), 4:30 p.m.

The skinny: The Dolphins step out of league play this week to take on a Calhoun Academy team that enters fresh off a 14-point win over Dorchester Academy. The Dolphins are looking to rebound after losing each of the past two weeks.

Players to watch: QB Charlie Wilmot left last week's game against Northwood Academy due to injury, but reserve Tyler Fox played well in his absence. How the Dolphins handle the situation behind center will be key.

Keys to the game: Prep has surrendered over 40 points in each of its last two games, so a strong defensive effort and a clock-managing offense will help keep the Dolphins around. Prep finished last week with only 14 players due to injury and suspension, so keeping the team fresh late into the fourth quarter will be key for coach Kevin Wald.

Coastal Christian Prep (2-3) at Beaufort Academy (1-4), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Coastal Christian won 56-22 (2011)

The skinny: Coastal Christian has allowed 124 points its past two games. Beaufort Academy and Coastal Christian each allowed more than 70 points in Week 5. Beaufort Academy is still without QB Gibson Achurch and will also be without senior Bryan Strawn this week.

Players to watch: Beaufort Academy coach Wheatley Alford said RB/LB Reyn Robinson has been hurt and is questionable for tonight's game. Jack Dailey and Ashton Guest will be asked to step up.

Keys to the game: With all the Eagles are missing, Alford said a perfect game would be required to be competitive. Injuries and sickness have plagues the team throughout the season. Alford said the Eagles lack the size to compete with many of the teams they face. "The kids aren't throwing in the hat," Alford said. "We just don't have the size at this point to do what we want to do."

Beaufort High (3-2) at Goose Creek (5-0), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Goose Creek 31, Beaufort High 19 (2011)

The skinny: Goose Creek has defeated Beaufort High each of the past seven seasons. The Eagles' most recent victory in the series was a 37-6 win in 2004. The Gators are the final non-region opponent for Beaufort High, which travels to Bluffton High School next week. The Region 7 Gators are looking to earn their fifth victory over a Region 8 opponent this season.

Players to watch: Goose Creek RB Rico Blanding scored twice during a victory at Dutch Fork in Week 5. Beaufort High RB JaClay Mixon continues to take on more of a load as the Eagles' depth at the position thins.

Keys to the game: If the Eagles can make it a game, they'll have to keep the momentum into the second half. The Gators faced their first deficit of the season at Dutch Fork last week but controlled the clock during the second half and didn't allow anything inside the red zone.

Hilton Head Christian (4-1) at Thomas Sumter (2-3), 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Hilton Head Christian 35, Thomas Sumter 21 (2011)

The skinny: The Eagles and Generals meet for the first time since Hilton Head Christian downed its region foe in last season's state championship game. The Eagles have won four straight games while Thomas Sumter enters having lost 54-14 last week to Thomas Heyward.

Players to watch: Eagles RB Tyler Chisholm carried just eight times for 32 yards a week ago against Bethesda Day but will be asked to increase the workload this time around against a Thomas Sumter defense that has struggled of late against the run. Fellow RB Brad Meccariello, who ran three times for 23 yards, will also look for more carriers tonight.

Keys to the game: The ground game may decide the outcome of this one for the Eagles. Thomas Sumter surrendered over 350 yards on the ground last week in a blowout loss to undefeated Thomas Heyward, so look for coach Tommy Lewis to strike the Generals' defense early in a rematch of last year's title game.