Week 8 of this year's high school football season is upon us. Amazingly, for most non-4A teams, only three games remain in their seasons. 4A teams have another week, but this season is closing fast.
Last week was a very interesting week around the Lowcountry. Several key players were injured or suspended for two of the top 4A schools in the Lowcountry, Stratford and Goose Creek. QB Jacob Park of Stratford was hurt. Tramel Terry of Goose Creek was also hurt, and Caleb Kinlaw was on a one-day suspension that precluded him from playing.
Many thought, including me, that Stratford would have trouble with Cane Bay. They didn't. Stratford won 28-6. Goose Creek was only up 14-6 at half over Carolina Forest, but exploded in the second half for a 56-6 win for their 20th win in a row.
Beaufort swallowed a tough pill to bitter region rival Bluffton, 34-10. Now they will go to Summerville. James Island disappointed in losing to Hilton Head, who has been a big surprise this year. They have five wins, mostly over lesser competition, but with a new coach, nobody expected them to be competitive like this.
Summerville pulled out another rabbit in their hat to defeat Fort Dorchester again. Berkeley succumbed to Hanahan in the Cruce Bowl, clinching another non-winning season unless there's a run in the playoffs. Bishop England also keeps on trucking, overwhelming Burke to go 6-1.
This week may be one of the best in several years. It is rare that a nationally-televised game between two region rivals is not the game of the week in the state, but this week that is the case. You have several big region battles.
5) Summerville at Beaufort. Did Coach McKissick pull a rabbit out of his hat with last week's upset of Fort Dorchester? We will find out. Summerville, left for dead before last week, now has new life. They are 1-0 in the region, and McKissick needs 3 wins for 600. He faces a 3-4 Beaufort team who struggled last week, but hopes to bounce back.
This will be a good one to watch. Watch for a lot of points on the board. It is Beaufort's homecoming, so their stadium will be packed.
4) James Island at Hanahan (Thursday). This is a big region game. Hanahan has already clinched a winning record at 6-1, and are a perfect 2-0 in Region 8-AAA. James Island has been a very interesting team to follow. Every game but the Bluffton game has been competitive in the 4th quarter, but they have gotten just 3 wins out of that.
They nearly upset Wando the first game of the year, and last week led by 9 late in the 3rd quarter before succumbing late. This week they go on short rest to Hanahan, who will be amped up for a Thursday TV game, like what most schools are. If Hanahan wins, they go to Hilton Head next Friday for basically a winner-take-all for the region. If James Island wins, the region is wide open.
3) Bluffton at Ashley Ridge: Bluffton is looking to gain whatever respect they have in the Lowcountry. They face their first 4A road game this week at Ashley Ridge. Ashley Ridge beat Colleton County last week, and at 1-0 in the region (even with just 2 wins overall), is playing for a high region finish.
Bluffton is looking for big wins in order to enhance their point situation for the playoffs. Their high-potent offense led by QB C.J. Frazier will be important here.
2) Cane Bay at Goose Creek (6pm Friday): This game, most weeks, would be one of the best in the Southeast. This week, it only shares best in the area honors. ESPNU is coming in to televise the game with Adam Amin on play-by-play. They televise games based on prospects, and Tramel Terry sure is one.
He opened up his recruitment, as he is a Georgia commit but he visited Clemson last week. He is one of the top recruits in the nation.
This week, they continue region play, hosting Cane Bay in probably the most exposed game locally since Summerville with AJ Green and Berkeley with Andre Ellington played FL schools in 2007 (both teams lost). This game will be a good one, as Cane Bay hopes to continue their very good first year in 4A. It will be a tough task though in this game.
1) Stratford at Wando. You rarely have two undefeated teams playing this late into the season. This game has been anticipated for several weeks. Both schools are 7-0. Wando has never had a season start this well, while it has been a decade (2002) since Stratford had a record like that.
It will be billed as the battle between two of the best QBs in the Lowcountry. QB Jacob Park didn't play last week for Stratford, but they still won easily over Cane Bay. QB Christian Hart won Post and Courier Offensive Player of the Week honors for his great performance against West Ashley.
They have been region rivals for years, and it is interesting to see them in such a huge game. The winner stays close to Goose Creek, and will have a huge battle ahead. Wando faces Goose Creek next week at Wando, while Stratford has a somewhat easier road (only West Ashley and South Florence) before their battle the final week of the regular season.
Enjoy your games!