Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 6 preview/week 5 recap

Hard to believe, but it is already October. For teams in 3A and smaller divisions, there is only one month left in the regular season for high school football. Most schools there are done with half their season.

Six games remain for teams in 4A. Region play will start for all but 4A schools this week. Last week was a fun one for fans of high school football. In what was probably the game of the week in the state, Goose Creek beat Dutch Fork, the best team on their schedule so far, 35-21. Nearly 8,000 showed up at Goose Creek for their homecoming, as the Gators trailed at halftime for the first time in a long time.

Fort Dorchester beat up Wando on their homecoming, while Summerville handed West Ashley their first loss, coming back from a kickoff returned for a TD by the Wildcats on the first play. Stratford did away with Colleton County, while Ashley Ridge got its first win over Cane Bay.

The story so far of local football is Beaufort County. Hilton Head went in unbeaten hosting their biggest rival, Bluffton in the battle of 278. Hilton Head was down 18-0 in the 2nd quarter, but came back to earn a 33-32 upset. There's more about this game here in a Beaufort Gazette article:

Beaufort bussed to Carolina Forest in Myrtle Beach, always tough when you have to go 4 hours on a Friday, and won 49-35 to stay unbeaten. Their game this week may be the best of the week. This week is one of the best in the season coming up. Your schedule:

My quick hits:

Ashley Ridge (1-4) at West Florence (3-2): Ashley Ridge finally got their first win of the year last week. Now they head to Florence to face a West Florence team on a three-game win streak.

St. John's (2-3) at Baptist Hill (4-2): St. John's and Baptist Hill battle in their first region game of the year. Baptist Hill has lost its last two, both on long road trips (to Midland Valley and Charlotte Latin).

Hilton Head (5-0) at Stall (1-4): Hilton Head takes their perfect 5-0 record to North Charleston and Stall as Region 8-3A play begins. Stall stumbled at Andrews last week.

Bible Baptist (3-2, 0-1) at Palmetto Christian (4-1, 1-0): Bible Baptist makes the long trip from Savannah to face one of the top QBs in the Lowcountry, J.T. Waters and Palmetto Christian.

Garrett (4-1, 1-1) at North Charleston (0-5, 0-2): Garrett football has had a resurgence so far, with a 4-1 record heading into their third region game. A win here would be important for Garrett.

Colleton County (1-4) at Cane Bay (0-5): This is a big game for Cane Bay. Colleton County is hoping for their first road win in four seasons, while Cane Bay's homecoming is this week. This game is almost a must-win for the Cobras; a loss and they could be facing a win less year unless they pull an upset in Region 7-4A. 

Top games:

5. Berkeley (2-3) at James Island (1-4) (Thursday): Berkeley and James Island start Region 8-3A play on Thursday night with each playing their only televised game of the season. Berkeley had a nice win over a rebuilding Timberland squad last week, while two weeks ago, James Island took Bluffton on homecoming to the last minute before falling 35-34.

This series has been one of the most interesting in the Lowcountry in the past few years, as the Trojans last year won by two TDs, spoiling Berkeley's homecoming. Before that, they hadn't played since 2009, when in one of the best games of the past few years, Bruce Ellington's amazing last-second TD was the difference in a 34-33 win. Both teams will be looking for a big win Thursday.

4. Hanahan (5-0) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (5-0): The Hawks will be facing by far their toughest challenge of the year in Orangeburg Friday night. OW didn't play as well as they hoped last week in their homecoming, getting by Richland Northeast 28-21. Hanahan QB Mason Schwerzler threw for six touchdowns last week against Wade Hampton, and was named the Post and Courier Offensive Player of the Week.

This week, both the Hawks and the Bruins will be primed to continue their unbeaten streak in a huge game for Region 8-3A implications.

3. Fort Dorchester (3-2) at West Ashley (4-1): Has Fort Dorchester finally turned the corner? A big win last week over Wando may have been the answer. The team has steadily improved in their past few games; giving Stratford a tough fight before succumbing 26-13, and playing very tough against Goose Creek before last week. West Ashley started 4-0, and to begin last week's game against Summerville, ran a kickoff back for a touchdown.

The Wildcats though, like many teams trudging into John McKissick Field, eventually got overwhelmed by the Wave, as a blocked punt was a huge turning point in the game for Summerville. West Ashley has their biggest home game of the year so far, hosting the Patriots. They start a stretch of three of four games at home before going on the road for two games to end the year. Thus, this is a big game before their region starts.

2. Goose Creek (5-0) at Beaufort (5-0): This is a huge game for both sides. Dutch Fork proved last week that Goose Creek can be beaten if you have the right personnel and play mistake-free football. DF led at halftime before succumbing to the Gators in the second half. Goose Creek won by 14, their closest win since last year's 8 point win against Stratford. Beaufort is 5-0, with four of those wins on the road.

Beaufort is playing just their second home game of the year Friday night. That has to be among the lowest in the state. They haven't been home since August 30. With the Eagles undefeated start, there will be a huge crowd at this one. The Eagles are hoping to feed off the home crowd in order to hoist the upset of the top team in the Lowcountry. This will be very interesting.

1. Summerville (4-1) at Stratford (5-0): I was conflicted between the Goose Creek-Beaufort game and this game as my game of the week. They both are really good games. But I decided on Summerville-Stratford because both teams come in with lots of momentum. Stratford had a nice shutout of Colleton County, while Summerville won big. This is one of the biggest rivalries in the Lowcountry, with the two most legendary coaches, John McKissick and Ray Stackley.

This is a video of their 1991 game. Look at how young Ray Stackley is.

This game will be a battle between Jacob Park and Sawyer Bridges. The offense that makes more big plays in this one will have the advantage. Stratford's home crowd has been told to wear all red for this one. This game will be one of the best of the year so far, with a raucous crowd, two of the biggest rivals in the Lowcountry, and a potential for a lot of big plays.

Enjoy the games!

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