Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 7 preview/wk 6 recap

High school football in 2014 in the Lowcountry has been something where there have been many factors affecting things. Injuries; weather; and the momentum that goes with high school kids playing on the field every Friday night with emotion on their side.

The season has been a fun one so far, with many surprises, and Goose Creek, Timberland and Northwood Academy rising to the cream of the crop in their regions. Every other region in the area appears to be up to grabs as everyone is in region play this week.

Shrine Bowl rosters were named on Monday. We have nine players from our coverage area in the Shrine Bowl, and no more than one from any area school. Here is a link to the full list of players:

Who would have thought Summerville would have three losses before region play, with two of those at home? It is a lot like the Gamecocks troubles. Injuries have played a big part, with Sawyer Bridges being out for a little while, and Zack Bailey as well, but still, that is two out of three seasons with three non-region Ls for McKissick. Summerville fans are starting to question Coach McKissick, and are wondering if a change should be in the offing after this year.

Wando has been schizophrenic. They are the team you don't know what they are going to do each night. One week, they beat Summerville by 23. Then they get blown out at home by Fort Dorchester. The next week, they blow out Bluffton at homecoming. If they get all their pieces right they could be a scary team.

Bishop England has improved with a freshman QB, Leo Albano, but they are still win less at 0-6, which is hard to believe when you think about where they were the past few years. A loss this week at home against Battery Creek would make them 0-7 for the first time since '96, when they were still based in downtown Charleston.

As we get to all region games, it will be an interesting week of football. All games start at 7:30 Friday unless noted.

4A: Cane Bay (3-3) at Stratford (4-2): This is a game which has become a very good one all of a sudden. Cane Bay has rapidly improved this year, still at .500 at 3-3, and has a chance to pull out a big road win. Stratford under Joe Marion already has four wins, and for the second time in three years blew out the Green Wave. That was a huge impetus going into region play, where the games really matter.

If Stratford wants a chance of winning the region, they have to win this game. They can't look ahead to next week's important game at Wando. Stratford's defense has improved, only giving up 25 points in the last 3 games. Cane Bay has to play at Goose Creek next.

James Island (5-1) at Goose Creek (5-1): Goose Creek has seemed to improve every week during their five game winning streak. Not that it is anything new under Chuck Reedy. Tyrik Johnson ran for 202 yards against Ashley Ridge, and earned Channel 5's player of the week. The last time they lost a game on the field against a Lowcountry team was November 27, 2009, the famous OT Bruce Ellington TD run for Berkeley, who won the state title the next week. This game is Goose Creek's homecoming.

They face a surprise team in James Island. Most people did not see this team coming with Coach Ike Allred's new offense and his new no-huddle style. The Trojans already have five wins, and have found a good RB in Buss Hamilton and a young lefty QB, Gage Moloney. They are major underdogs in this game, as the Trojans haven't beaten Goose Creek since 2002. The Gators will have to prepare for this style, and they did so against ECA two weeks ago. This game could be interesting.

Wando (4-2) at West Ashley (2-4): West Ashley has tumbled over the past few weeks. Starting 2-0, they are now 2-4 and have lost their last three games by at least two touchdowns. Now, they face a hungry Wando team. This rivalry has always been one of the best in the area, as they battle in every sport. West Ashley's last win in the rivalry was in 2011.

Wando now has a two QB system, with Bailey Hart and Olivier Michaud sharing the duties. It has been very successful, as Wando has played better in their last couple of weeks and have gotten some important wins. This is an important game as the region opener, as the winner will gain some new life headed into the rest of region play. This game is also the TV game on MyTV Charleston.

Ashley Ridge (4-3) at Colleton County (4-3): Amazingly, this is the final home game of the year for Colleton County, as they finish the season with three straight region games on the road. This would be a big game anyway, especially in this region with only four region games, but with what has happened to Summerville and Fort Dorchester not proven as of yet against a region opponent the region is wide open.

Colleton County got a big win last week over South Aiken, while Ashley Ridge suffered a loss against a powerful Goose Creek side. This time, region play gets started in earnest. The winner of this game still has a chance at winning region, while the loser is most likely out or has a very hard road.

Bluffton has an off week.

Fort Dorchester (6-1) at Summerville (4-3): Fort Dorchester, with all the great players and teams that Steve LaPrad has had, has not defeated Summerville in football since 2001. Seniors on this year's football team were four years old the last time the Patriots beat the Green Wave.

They have a great chance to do it Friday night. The keys have been handed to Dekareon Joyner, who became QB earlier this year, as Kobe Garrett was moved to RB/WR. Joyner, as a 9th grader, has already drawn praise from John McKissick. This is a gut check game for Summerville. Win this game, and all they need to do is win the next three and win another region title. A loss and there is a chance they don't even have a winning season. This is always a huge game, and it is even more so this year.

3A: Georgetown (5-1, 1-0) at North Myrtle Beach (1-6, 0-2): Georgetown travels to 1-6 North Myrtle Beach this week. A win will clinch a winning season.

Beaufort (3-3, 1-1) at Stall (1-5, 0-1): Beaufort suffered a tough loss last week at home against Berkeley. They were leading most of the game before Berkeley pulled ahead in the fourth quarter to get the upset win in the Eagles Nest, 27-21. Stall has had a tough season so far, and in the last two games have been shut out 87-0 by Colleton County and Orangeburg-Wilkinson. It doesn't get much easier this week with a Beaufort team that always plays hard.

Berkeley (2-4, 1-0) at Hilton Head (5-2, 0-1): There usually isn't such a thing as a must-win game on October 3, but last week for Jeff Cruce and Berkeley was one. They had to pull a win out in order to get some semblance of momentum for region play. Now, at 1-0 in region play, they face a Hilton Head team who suffered a tough loss at Hanahan last week. Hilton Head led thru most of the first half (in a game that started 90 minutes early due to weather) before succumbing in the second half.

A win for either team will help to continue momentum, especially as Berkeley hosts O-W next week and Hilton Head plays one of their main rivals, Beaufort.

Hanahan (3-3, 1-0) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (6-0, 1-0): A battle of teams who won their first game in the region. O-W is still undefeated, and has one of the best defenses in the state. They've scored 187 points in their first six games, and only allowed 36. Orangeburg-Wilkinson has a Shrine Bowl inductee in Albert Huggins on the defensive line, and he leads that defense.

Hanahan had a big win last week, and hopes to get above .500 with an upset win here.

2A: Ridgeland-Hardeeville (4-2, 1-0) at Woodland (3-3, 1-0): Ridgeland-Hardeeville is a perfect 3-0 at home but only 1-2 on the road, while Woodland has had only two home games. Woodland hopes to continue the winning streak that began against Edisto last week here.

Academic Magnet (5-1, 1-0) at Garrett (5-1, 1-0): Who would have thought that these two schools, not known for having great football histories, would be a combined 10-2 and in a battle for a region title? These two schools are. Academic Magnet has never won more than 6 games in a season, while Garrett has a new coach, Nick Hopp.

Garrett hasn't started with a 5-1 record since 1986, while Magnet has one of the leading rushers in the area, Nate Schlosser, with over 1300 yards on the year. This will be a huge game in this region, likely determining the region title.

Battery Creek (1-6, 0-1) at Bishop England (0-6, 0-1): Hard to believe, but this may be Bishop England's best chance at a win this season. BE has gotten gradually better throughout the season, losing to Whale Branch last week, but Battery Creek only lost by three points at home to Garrett last week.

Whale Branch (2-4, 1-0) at North Charleston (2-4, 0-1): Both schools have been better this year, as North Charleston only lost by a touchdown last week at Academic Magnet, while Whale Branch beat Bishop England by 20 points, including a punt return for a touchdown.

Kingstree (3-3, 0-1) at Andrews (3-3, 1-0): Kingstree had the tough task of facing Timberland last week, getting shut out at home, while Andrews had a very rare forfeit as Lee Central's homecoming game against them was postponed and later cancelled after deadly shootings in the Bishopville area.

Johnsonville (2-4, 0-1) at Timberland (6-0, 1-0): Johnsonville nearly beat Berkeley to start the season, but have fallen on tough times, losing all three of their home games so far this year. Timberland is Timberland, as they have allowed seven or fewer points in three of their six wins so far. A important region game.

Waccamaw (4-2, 1-0) at Loris (6-0, 1-0): 6-0 Loris hosts 4-2 Waccamaw in one of the best games on the Grand Strand this week. Waccamaw won 34-18 last week at Mullins.

1A: Denmark-Olar (0-6, 0-1) at Branchville (3-3, 0-1): Branchville suffered a tough 52-8 loss to Estill last Friday, but face a Denmark-Olar squad that has only scored thirty points all year.

Cross (3-3, 1-0) at Baptist Hill (0-6, 0-1): Baptist Hill has played much better in their previous two games, losing by 12 and 16 respectively, but they are still win less on the year and face a Cross team who blew out Burke 67-13 last week.

Military Magnet (3-3, 1-0) at Burke (0-6, 0-1): Burke had a very tough loss last week, but play at home this week against a Military Magnet team that has won their last two games, at Scott's Branch and home against Lincoln.

St. John's (3-3, 1-0) at Lincoln (2-4, 0-1): Brad Bowles has improved his St. John's team each year he's been at the job; they hope to go over .500 with a win against Lincoln this week, who have lost their last 3 after starting 2-1.

SCISA: Colleton Prep (4-2, 1-1) at Holly Hill Academy (3-3, 1-2): Non-region game for these teams, but still important for playoff postioning.
Dorchester Academy (2-4, 1-1) at Bible Baptist (2-4, 0-3): A battle of 2-4 teams in region as the winner hopes to gain better playoff positioning.
Hilton Head Prep (4-2, 2-1) at Thomas Heyward (2-4, 1-1): An important game in this region, as WHHI-TV will televise the game for tape delay coverage later.
Williamsburg Academy (6-0, 4-0) at First Baptist (0-6, 0-3): First Baptist has a very tough task this Friday, hosting undefeated Williamsburg Academy; they lost 70-8 last week to Bethesda.
Christian Academy (1-5, 0-3) at Hilton Head Christian (4-2, 3-1): Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach makes the long trip to Hilton Head to face a good Hilton Head Christian team.
Palmetto Christian (0-6, 0-1) at Northwood Academy (6-0, 4-0): Back to back shut outs for Northwood Academy; they hope to keep it up this week against Palmetto Christian.
Pinewood Prep (4-3, 2-2) at Hammond (6-0, 5-0) (Thursday): Pinewood Prep travels to undefeated Hammond Thursday night in a game which could be huge if the Panthers can steal a win.
Porter-Gaud (4-3, 2-2) at Wilson Hall (4-2, 2-2): A big game in SCISA in the battle for playoff positioning on Wilson Hall's homecoming.
8-Man: St. John's Christian (3-3, 3-2) at Beaufort Academy (2-4, 2-3): St. John's won two in a row before last week, while Beaufort has won two out of three.
Ridge Christian (2-5, 1-3) at Cathedral Academy (3-3, 3-1): Cathedral has won all of their games inside the division, while Ridge won last week over James Island Christian.
Faith Christian (5-2, 4-0) at Charleston Collegiate (1-5, 1-3): Faith Christian is led by Alex North, one of the leading rushers in the state. He had 255 yards last week in a win.
Patrick Henry (6-1, 5-0) at Coastal Christian (0-6, 0-4): Another of the leading rushers in the state, Will Tuten, travels to Coastal Christian with Patrick Henry. He had 270 yards last week.
Clarendon Hall (5-1, 4-1) at James Island Christian (1-5, 1-4): A tough battle for the Lions as they face 5-1 Clarendon Hall, who has won two straight.

Enjoy the games!

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