Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 9 preview/wk 8 recap

The weather is getting cooler. The games are getting bigger. This year is heading toward a climax with region play heading toward its end. A couple of regions will be decided this week, and games in other regions will play important parts toward the end of the season.

Last week was a week where the favorites mostly won. Summerville shut out Beaufort 17-0, which was a huge step in them locking up Region 8-4A. Fort Dorchester was thought to be on upset alert... they beat Colleton County on their homecoming 56-14. Bluffton beat Ashley Ridge, 41-28.

Goose Creek traveled to win-less Cane Bay and won 55-7; Stratford beat Wando 35-7 in a game that wasn't expected to be that lopsided; and West Ashley blew out Conway 49-14 to get their 5th win.

In 3A, Hanahan continued to prove themselves as one of the top teams in the area, blowing out James Island 41-8 on their homecoming. Berkeley beat Stall as expected, while Orangeburg-Wilkinson beat Hilton Head. O-W, Hanahan and Hilton Head are competing for the region title, but Hanahan has a huge upper hand. They host Hilton Head, and with a win clinch the region title. James Island and Stall also play this week, at Stall.

In 2A, Woodland and Bishop England each got big wins which led up to their major showdown this week on Daniel Island; while in 1A, St. John's continues to surprise, moving to 3-0 in region with a win over Military Magnet. They have just one region game left against one-win Lincoln.

In SCISA, James Island Christian has stayed undefeated, with a win over Faith Christian.

This week's schedule, with a rare sight, two Thursday games. It is a stacked week of games, with almost every game playing an important part in a region race.

Quick hits: Cane Bay (0-8) at West Florence (4-4) (Thursday): Winless Cane Bay heads to Florence to face West Florence on Thursday because another Florence team is home Friday.

Cross (4-5, 2-1) at Baptist Hill (5-3, 1-1): Cross, amazingly, is playing their last regular season game Friday night. It still has meaning, because it could determine playoff positioning in 1A. A Baptist Hill win would clinch a winning season.

Thomas Heyward (6-3) at Northwood Academy (6-2): Northwood Academy has an important home game in SCISA against Thomas Heyward, who are both battling for hosting a playoff game.

Summerville (6-2, 2-0) at Colleton County (2-6, 0-2): The Green Wave can get ever closer to a region title with a win at Colleton County Friday night. They are a steadily improving ball club who is playing well at the right time.

Stratford (8-0, 2-0) at West Ashley (5-3, 0-1): In a stacked week for games, this is still a very good one. West Ashley came back with a big homecoming win over Conway, while the Stratford train has kept on rolling with a win over Wando. West Ashley will be hoping to ruin the Knights' perfect season.

Goose Creek also hosts Wando this week in 4A play at John Fulmer Field.

Top games: 5. Beaufort (6-2, 1-1) at Ashley Ridge (3-5, 1-1) (Thursday): A very important Thursday game in Region 8-4A. Ashley Ridge has played their share of Thursday games since the TV package started back in 2010. They have played at least one each year, and this year have this game, along with a televised game on November 8. Ashley Ridge lost last week to Bluffton, but have improved throughout the season.

They can still make an impact in their region. Beaufort is coming off a shutout loss against Summerville where they have several good chances, but missed two FGs and had a TD called back. Beaufort is on a short week, playing in Summerville on a Thursday night. This could be a closer game than thought.

4. Orangeburg-Wilkinson (7-1, 2-1) at Berkeley (4-4, 2-1): One of two big games in Region 8-3A. Orangeburg-Wilkinson beat Hilton Head last week, and already have as many wins as they had all of last year. Berkeley under Jeff Cruce has been a team searching for an identity. Last week, they beat Stall as expected, and they have won two home games this year, as many as they won last year.

Coach Cruce is on the hot seat by many in Moncks Corner, and a win here would go a long way toward loosening the buckle on him. This game is also big for playoff positioning, possibly determining if a team will go on the road or stay home. But will the Bruins spoil senior night in Moncks Corner?

3. Hilton Head (7-1, 2-1) at Hanahan (8-0, 3-0): This is basically the Region 8-3A title game. A Hanahan win will clinch the region title for the Hawks; a loss would allow Hilton Head and Orangeburg-Wilkinson back into the race. Hanahan though is one of the best teams in the state. The Hawks have allowed just 66 points after 8 games; with 51 of those 68 points allowed in 3 games. In other 5 games combined, they've allowed just 17 points.

Hilton Head lost last week at O-W, denying them a chance to take the region title with a win, but it is still a very impressive season along US 278. They have come a long way from 2011, when they won just four games. The home crowd in Hanahan will look to be a major factor against the Seahawks.

2. Bluffton (5-3, 1-1) at Fort Dorchester (5-3, 1-1): People on the Palmetto Football Talk message board frequently reference Doodle's Doodles, a feature on the High School Sports Report website. Every game has a favorite or underdog in this system. This game is a complete toss-up on that system. You rarely see that this late in the year. This is a big game for points purposes.

Both teams, especially Bluffton (after playing several smaller schools) need points in order to ensure a playoff berth. Fort Dorchester is a young and steadily improving team, while Bluffton was used to dominating their division in the past few years. Reality has set in this year, as they've already lost 3 games, including to one of their main rivals, Beaufort. A win for Fort Dorchester would likely give them a big boost for a playoff berth. Look for this to be a very close game.

1. Woodland (8-0, 5-0) at Bishop England (6-2, 5-0): This game is one of the games of the week, and for good reason. The Region 6-2A title will be determined in this game most likely. Woodland has looked impressive, beating Colleton County early in the season, while BE's two losses have been to an improved West Ashley and Hanahan at the beginning of the year.

Bishop England started the year with a retooled offense, but have become a very good team later on with players like Nick Shiver (who's scored 12 rushing TDs on the year along with 1 on defense). The Bishops very rarely throw. They've only thrown 68 times all season, while Woodland loves to light up the scoreboard. Except for the Colleton County game, they haven't scored less than 34 points in a game all season. This will make this game a very interesting one.

Can the Bishop England defense stop the Woodland offense? Or what is often the case, the opposite? This will determine who wins this very important game.

Enjoy the games!

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