Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week 8 preview/wk 7 recap

High school football is moving into the homestretch. Every season seems like it flies by, even though most schools begin in late July or early August with practice. Non-4A schools have just three regular season games left, mostly in-region. 4A schools have four games to go.

Last week was one with some very intriguing games. Summerville beat Fort Dorchester again, with a quick third-quarter surge. Ashley Ridge beat Colleton County. Don't look now, but the Swamp Foxes, once left for dead, are now 3-4 with a game at now-vulnerable Bluffton next. Wando saved their season with a win over West Ashley. They are also 3-4, but face the gauntlet of @ Stratford and @ Goose Creek next. Stratford beat Cane Bay as expected, while Bluffton fell again to Beaufort, now 6-1 and one of the bigger surprises of the season.

In 3A, Hanahan whitewashed Berkeley in one of the games of the week, 36-0. Hilton Head stayed undefeated by defeating James Island. Orangeburg-Wilkinson got the win at Stall. Hanahan goes to James Island for their homecoming this week while Berkeley hosts Stall.

In 2A, Timberland continued a winning streak by beating Lake City. Bishop England and Woodland stayed undefeated in their regions; so did Ridgeland/Hardeeville. Garrett also won to go 5-2. In 1A, St. John's improved to 4-3 and 2-0 in region play with a big win over Cross. James Island Christian also remained undefeated with a 72-0 win over Coastal Christian; they head to Faith Christian this week.

Here is this week's schedule. There is no Thursday night game this week:

Quick hits: St. John's (4-3, 2-0) vs. Military Magnet (at North Charleston HS) (3-4, 0-1): Military Magnet, the team where everyone is named Eagles, hosts St. John's in an important 1A game. If St. John's wins and Cross finds a way to lose at Lincoln, the region could be controlled by the Islanders.

Conway (1-6) at West Ashley (4-3, 0-1): If West Ashley wants to get a winning season, they have to win games like this one. Conway has lost six straight, while West Ashley has lost three in a row after starting 4-0.

Garrett (5-2, 2-2) at Bishop England (5-2, 4-0): Few thought heading into the season that this would be a battle of five-win teams. Coach Dirk Thomas though has greatly improved Garrett this season. They face a tough challenge with Bishop England Friday night.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville (5-2, 4-0) at Woodland (7-0, 4-0): A battle of unbeatens in St. George. Woodland has rolled through most of its competition so far, with only two of their seven wins by less than nine points. Will the Jaguars be a tougher challenge?

Goose Creek (7-0) at Cane Bay (0-7, 0-1): Goose Creek begins region play with Cane Bay. Stratford overwhelmed the Cobras last week; will another one of Cane Bay's crosstown rivals do it again?

Top 5: 5. Fort Dorchester (4-3, 0-1) at Colleton County (2-5, 0-1): This game will be an interesting one in Walterboro. Fort Dorchester may be mentally drained after last week's game against Summerville, where Coach LaPrad brought out all the stops, including special black uniforms. This didn't work, as Summerville continued its winning streak over the Patriots.

It is Colleton County's homecoming. The fans will be extra excited in Walterboro as the Cougars try to get their first region win since 2009. With Colleton's dynamic offense, the Cougars have a chance in this game. Players like Ramon Hall and Latrell Nieves can match up with most schools in the area.

4. Ashley Ridge (3-4, 1-0) at Bluffton (4-3, 0-1): Ashley Ridge has helped their season with three straight wins. What looked hopeless after an 0-4 start has gotten better. They head to Bluffton with a chip on their shoulder, hoping to stay undefeated in region play. After being one of the hunters the past few seasons, a team few knew about, they have become the hunted.

They've had several injuries, and went to OT with A.C. Flora, escaped 1-6 James Island by one point, and lost at Beaufort last week. Bluffton will be hoping to turn around their recent woes this week with the Swamp Foxes.

3. Wando (3-4, 1-0) at Stratford (7-0, 1-0): In this week's region 7-4A slate, this is the best game. Wando has had more injuries than almost any other team in the state. They've lost about 20 guys to some sort of injury this year. Their starting QB at the beginning of the year, Dalton Stubbs, is now starting at safety. In 4A football. Bailey Hart has become the new starting QB. Even with these injuries, they still beat West Ashley last week in their rivalry game.

Stratford with Jacob Park has gotten better every game. They won 42-7 last week, and this week Park got his commit to the U.S. Army All-American Game on Tuesday in a ceremony at Stratford. He was also named a Mr. Football finalist, the only one from the Lowcountry. Even though there are bigger games ahead, you can't overlook any games in region play.

2. Hilton Head (7-0, 2-0) at Orangeburg-Wilkinson (6-1, 1-1): Going into the season, few could have thought that a battle between these two would be with teams with a combined one loss. Hilton Head though has proved many wrong throughout the season. They upset Bluffton in the Bridge Bowl 33-32, and won their first two region games. Poona Ford, one of the best players in the state, has scored TDs on offense and defense this year.

However, O-W is their toughest game to date. They lost by just seven to Hanahan, and already have almost matched last year's win total with three games left. If Hilton Head wins this game, it will set up a battle of unbeatens next week at Hanahan. If O-W wins, Hanahan will have the inside track for the region title most likely.

1. Beaufort (6-1, 1-0) at Summerville (5-2, 1-0): This game is a battle for region supremacy as Summerville has their homecoming game. Beaufort has surprised to start the year. At 6-1, they have won all four of their road games so far this season. However, Summerville on homecoming is one of the toughest challenges in the state.

Summerville played well last week against Fort D, winning 24-7 as QB Sawyer Bridges improved, and Coach John McKissick has his team back in their usual position of competing for not just region titles, but high playoff seeds and home field advantage. Beaufort, on the other hand, won just four games last year and five in 2011. They've already won more this year. This will be a close game in my opinion. Beaufort has played well on the road this year, and will hang in for a little bit, but Summerville's home crowd may be the difference in this one.

Enjoy the games!

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