High school football preview capsules for Week 4:
Military Magnet (0-2) at Ridgeland-Hardeeville (2-1)
Last meeting: N/A
The skinny: 1-2 and coming off a tough loss at Estill, the Jaguars will have a good opportunity to get back to .500 on the season ahead of region play. The Jaguars hung tight last week in a 24-20 loss, and have shown signs of improvement on offense.
Player to watch: Frank Fields. As goes the QB, so go the Jaguars. As Fields gets more accustomed to the option offense implemented by Jahmaal Nelson, look for R-H to become more potent. If Fields can find some form throwing the ball, there's plenty of speed on the wings to take care of the rest.
Key to the game: Diversify the approach. The Jaguars have talented players like Desjon Fraser, Gavin Bush and Craven Howard, each of whom have done damage on offense at one time or another. If they can all get involved, Nelson will have a much more dangerous team on his hands.
Ridge Christian (1-3) at Beaufort Academy (0-3)
Last meeting: 2012, Beaufort Academy 49, Ridge Christian 6
The skinny: Things have not gone well in the early going for the Eagles, who have stumbled through their first three games, two of them tight losses. In last week's defeat, star running back Reyn Robinson left the game early in the second quarter with an injury, though the extent of that knock was unknown. Even if he's out, Beaufort Academy should feel like it has a good chance to win against Ridge Christian, which is coming off three straight losses, including a 60-8 drubbing at the hand of Faith Christian.
Player to watch: Reyn Robinson. It's a pretty simple call here. If he's healthy, he's the focus of the offense. If he misses time, the Eagles will continue implementing coach Scott Richard's push for a better mix of offensive options.
Key to the game: Get some stops. The offense hasn't really been the problem. It's the defense that needs to come through. The Eagles have allowed 126 points in three games. Cutting that average down will go a long way toward getting that first win on the board.
First Baptist (0-4) at Hilton Head Christian Academy (1-2)
Last meeting: 2011, HHCA 15, First Baptist 0 (Forfeit)
The skinny: Have the Eagles fallen on hard times, or is their 1-2 record more a product of a tough schedule? We may find out more on Friday, as coach Ryan Mitch's team takes the field for its second game this week. The Eagles are coming off a heavy defeat to Northwood in a suspended game Monday. First Baptist hasn't yet won a game. HHCA hopes it will stay that way.
Player to watch: Joey Lankowsi has four touchdown catches on the year and 252 receiving yards. He's been a big weapon for Ryan Barrett, and could see plenty of opportunities to get to the endzone again Friday.
Key to the game: Recovery. After playing Monday, how much energy will the Eagles have left in the tank? Against an 0-4 team, things might be a little easier, but in SCISAA, it's hard to take anything for granted. The Eagles want -- and need -- this region win, so they'll have to find a way to stay healthy.
Northwood Academy (3-0) at Thomas Heyward Academy (2-1)
Last meeting: 2013, Thomas Heyward 52, Northwood 44.
The skinny: After sprinting their way to a 2-0 start, the surprising Rebels perhaps fell back to Earth a bit last Friday in a blowout loss to Bible Baptist. In a 50-0 defeat, Nic Shuford's team couldn't get anything going offensively. Northwood may not be the team to try to recuperate against, with the undefeated squad already having beaten both island prep schools this year.
Player to watch: Konnor Harrell. Before last week's faceplant, the Rebels had been piling up rushing yards like they were going out of style. The first-year quarterback was doing his part in that, and has performed well in the two victories. Northwood is a stiff test for the young signal-caller.
Key to the game: Steal the ball. Northwood has shown it can score, tallying 36 and 42 points in wins over Hilton Head Prep and HHCA, respectively. Can Thomas Heyward fare any better? Creating a few turnovers would help, especially after the defense got run over to the tune of 50 points last week.
Hilton Head Prep (2-1) at Palmetto Christian (0-3)
Last meeting: 2013, Palmetto Christian 56, Hilton Head Prep 50
The skinny: Kevin Wald has spoken all year about the need for improved defense. This contest is primed for a breakout performance on that side of the ball. After running up 56 points in last year's matchup, Palmetto Christian enters Friday having scored 16 points in three games, all losses. The Dolphins will be on the road for the second time, but this one looks like one they can win.
Player to watch: Tyler Fox. It still seems like the veteran quarterback is waiting to unleash a truly big game. He's been good so far, but with plenty of playmakers to throw to, he has the potential to really impress against a team on a downward slide.
Key to the game: Bar the gates. It bears repeating: Prep has a chance to make a defensive statement against a team clearly struggling to move the ball. If they come out flat in this one, some of the questions from the last two years will emerge for Wald, who has made stopping the ball a point of emphasis since summer workouts began.