A common theme is beginning to develop for the Beaufort High School football team, and it's one the Eagles would like to soon correct.
Coach Mark Clifford's team is still looking for its first turnover-free game of the season in a year that has seen the Eagles stumble of late to a 3-4 record and an early 0-1 hole in Region 8-AAAA. The problems reached their peak in Friday night's 34-10 loss to Bluffton, as Beaufort High surrendered a season-high five giveaways to the ball-hawking Bobcats.
"That's what really killed us," running back JaClay Mixon said. "That's what gave them momentum."
The Eagles lost three fumbles and put the ball on the ground five times in all. Quarterback Ben Vaigneur, meanwhile, watched as two of his 15 pass attempts went for interceptions to Anthony Smith, Jr.
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"You can't win with five turnovers, not against a team like they've got," Clifford said. "Obviously that's the most we've had this year."
The turnover-laden game came a week after Beaufort High was walloped 65-14 by Goose Creek in a game that saw the Gators score on both a fumble return for a touchdown and a pick-six. But the streak has continued even in victories, as the Eagles have recorded at least one turnover in all three wins this season, Clifford said.
"When you turn the ball over you can't win the game," he said.
BLUFFTON RECEIVER WEBBER BECOMING GO-TO THREAT
C.J. Frazier has seen the wide receiver talent in South Carolina. But that doesn't change his opinion on the guy who is rapidly becoming the Bluffton quarterback's favorite target.
That's Marquis Webber, who continued his impressive season Friday against Beaufort High by hauling in seven passes for nearly 150 yards and two touchdowns. The senior, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, has tallied five scores in the Bobcats' last two games.
"He's ridiculous," Frazier said. "People don't understand, but I really do believe he's the best receiver in the state. I honestly believe that. There's a lot of good receivers out there, but he steps up in big games. The bigger the games get the better he starts playing."
Count coach Ken Cribb among Frazier's believers.
"He's a D1 player. He's a second-level player," Cribb said of Webber. "We've got to utilize when you've got kids like that. We've got several. When he gets out in the open space he's good. He enjoys having the ball in his hands. I enjoy calling the plays so C.J. can put it in his hands."
Through seven games, Webber has amassed 21 catches and 355 yards, both numbers good for second behind fellow wideout Demetrius Smalls. But he leads the team with nine scores, none better than his jump ball reception on fourth and long last week against the Eagles. He also has accumulated 181 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 attempts.
"He's just ridiculously athletic," Frazier said. "People don't understand how fast, big and strong he is. He has the heart. He just wants to compete and has fun playing."
HHCA'S CHISHOLM HONORED
Hilton Head Christian Academy's Tyler Chisholm was honored last week as one of SCISAA's players of the week.
In a 31-14 win at Thomas Sumter Academy, Chisholm carried the ball 14 times for 133 yards and a touchdown, made five tackles, forced two fumbles, made 4 of 4 point-after attempts and nailed a 52-yard field goal for the Eagles (6-1), who host unbeaten Thomas Heyward Academy on Friday.
ROCK THE VOTE
Visit www.facebook.com/IPBGsports and vote in this week's poll for the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette's high school football player of the week.
The winner of the fan vote gets one of the five available votes, and your vote does make a difference. Last week, the fan vote broke a tie and tipped the scales in favor of Hilton Head Prep quarterback Charlie Wilmot.
Here are this week's candidates: