High School Football

Capsule looks at opening week matchups

FRIDAY

MAY RIVER AT HANAHAN

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: May River is new; Hanahan 8-3.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: It’s Season 1, Game 1 at May River, which opened its doors just last Monday as Beaufort County’s newest school. The Sharks go on the road for their debut, though. ... This is familiar territory for May River coach Rodney Summers, who endured an eight-game losing streak to start Westwood’s debut season in 2012. ... Hanahan won its region last year before being upended in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks are well-stocked on offense with QB Victor Colbert, WR Aaron Manley and RB Jerry Bailey.

JOHN PAUL II AT HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: John Paul II 1-9 (SCISA 8-man); Hilton Head Christian 2-7.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: After one season playing 8-man football, JP2 makes its debut playing the standard 11-man edition. A 22-man roster gives the Golden Warriors some depth, though not much. ... JP2 coach Kevin Wald went 2-2 against HHCA during his four years at Hilton Head Prep, with both wins coming in the two most recent meetings. ... The Eagles will endeavor to snap a run of four consecutive opening losses. The last time HHCA won its opener was 2011, launching a 13-0 season that brought the SCISA Class 2A crown.

THOMAS HEYWARD AT RIDGELAND-HARDEEVILLE

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: Thomas Heyward 6-6 (SCISA playoffs 0-1); Ridgeland-Hardeeville 2-8.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: A rivalry more than four decades in the making, as Jasper County’s public high school takes on its private counterpart for the first time. The campuses are situated less than two miles apart. ... Though Ridgeland-Hardeeville has a slightly larger roster, Thomas Heyward will bring more seniors to the battle. The Rebels are seeking to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in four years. ... Jaguars coach Jahmaal Nelson will rely on an active defense while the offense continues to work out the kinks.

BATTERY CREEK AT SWANSEA

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: Battery Creek 4-7 (Class 2A playoffs 0-1); Swansea 3-7.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: Though both teams have new coaches for 2016, Swansea would seem to have a significant edge from the opportunity to hold spring practice. BC’s Fred Hamilton didn’t get hired until June, leaving him to start from ground level when camp began. ... The Dolphins have the makings of a promising run offense, with Hamilton able to choose among Diamonte Blackshear, Eddie Dean and Alterell Chatman. ... Swansea saw a run of six straight playoff seasons come to an end last year, prompting Greg Wright’s hire.

BEAUFORT AT WANDO

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: Beaufort 5-6 (Class 3A playoffs 0-1); Wando 3-8.

LAST YEAR: Did not play. Their last meeting came in 2013, when Beaufort prevailed 17-14.

EXTRA POINTS: The Eagles open against perhaps the top player in South Carolina, with Wando’s OrTre Smith ranked among the nation’s top 20 receivers by 24/7 Sports. USC and Clemson are among 19 offers he’s received. ... With Wyatt Sherpensky and Kyliek Middleton patrolling the secondary, Beaufort should be able to hold their own against Smith in the speed department. Matching that 6-3 height, though, could be a challenge. ... It remains to be seen whether Eagles coach Mark Clifford has resolved his QB derby.

HILTON HEAD PREP AT ORANGEBURG PREP

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: Hilton Head Prep 8-4 (SCISA playoffs 1-1); Orangeburg Prep 2-8.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: Though Prep was a playoff team last year, the Dolphins lost their top two rushers from a year ago. It may not matter as much, though, with new coach Dave Adams converting the offense to a double wing attack. ... Adams will be on the sideline for the first time since his tenure came to an end at Bluffton in 2007, finishing that year with a 27-15 loss to Hilton Head Island. ... Orangeburg Prep also has a new coach in Andy Palmer, a former head coach at Edisto and assistant at Bamberg-Ehrhardt.

ST. JOHN’S CHRISTIAN AT BEAUFORT ACADEMY

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

2015 RECORDS: St. John’s Christian 0-10; Beaufort Academy 4-5.

LAST YEAR: Beaufort Academy won 40-0.

EXTRA POINTS: After barely missing the SCISA 8-man playoffs in each of the past two seasons, a veteran Beaufort Academy team has a postseason berth atop its to-do list. ... It should be entertaining to watch the Eagles’ offense, which has the potential to shuffle four core performers among three or four different spots. The question is how daring coach Scott Richards wants to be. ... St. John’s Christian brings an 11-game losing streak into the contest. John Paul II’s only victory last season, in fact, was a blowout of the Cavaliers.

SATURDAY

BLUFFTON VS. SCREVEN COUNTY (Ga.)

KICKOFF: 5 p.m., Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.

2015 RECORDS: Bluffton 5-6; Screven County 10-2.

LAST YEAR: First meeting.

EXTRA POINTS: The Bobcats will kick off the second night of the Erk Russell Classic, a four-game showcase at Georgia Southern named to honor the man who built the Eagles into an NCAA I-AA powerhouse. ... Anticipation is high at Bluffton, which returns 18 starters and drops to Class 3A after the split that created May River. ... Screven County returns 17 starters from a team that produced a second straight 10-2 mark in Georgia’s Class 2A. Only five of those returning starters are seniors, too.

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