I have to admit, I couldn’t imagine a year ago (or even a month ago, for that matter) writing one of these weekly blog previews and discussing Bluffton High School’s 2-0 start and Hilton Head High’s inability to even find the end zone in the first two weeks of the season.
But here we are.
The Bobcats will try to win three straight to open the season — all on the road and all against opponents they lost to last year — when they travel to Hardeeville on Friday night.
Hilton Head High is in danger of losing three home games to start the year when Ridgeland visits The Nest.
Here’s more on each matchup:
BLUFFTON AT HARDEEVILLE
I think we all expected an improved offense from Bluffton this year — how could we not with offensive guru Ken Cribb taking over the reigns?
But 84 points in two games is another story. The Bobcats aren’t just moving the ball. They’re pounding down their opponents’ throats at will.
Five different players have factored into the scoring, and while most of the credit will go to the diverse run game, some of it has to go to Corey Stoner, who has quietly managed the offense and thrown for four touchdowns compared to just one turnover. On top of that, he’s finding receivers downfield. One of Eric Boyles’ three touchdowns last week was through the air. Wideout B.J. Kitty caught a pair of touchdowns. Alfonza Powell came within two yards of adding another for the receiver group.
Considering Hardeeville is big up front, just as Ridgeland was a week ago, the Bobcats may lean on Stoner a little more heavily Friday night as the junior transfer from Ohio gains comfort in the Wing-T offense, especially since Desmond Jenkins will miss a second week with a high ankle sprain.
“He understands what we’re doing. He gets it,” Cribb said. “There aren’t a whole lot of reads in our offense. It’s mostly passes by design. He executes it pretty well.”
Before you predict a shootout, however, keep in mind Hardeeville’s offense strategy is to move the ball on the ground using powerful Jarrell Knighton. The Hurricanes earned the win against Bluffton last year by eating up the clock and keeping the Bobcats’ offense on the sidelines. You can bet that will be coach Blake Raley’s strategy again this year. The Bobcats allowed Ridgeland to rush for 282 yards last week, a number that must improve against Knighton and the Hurricanes.
RIDGELAND AT HILTON HEAD HIGH
This matchup provided one of the most entertaining games of 2009, a 49-42 shootout that Hilton Head High eventually won.
The Seahawks wouldn’t mind a repeat. After consecutive weeks in which they failed to score a touchdown, the Seahawks are getting anxious to make something happen offensively.
Michael Julian’s first two starts haven’t gone to plan. He has completed only 11 of 34 passes for 104 yards, an average of three yards per pass attempt.
The rushing game has been even more pedestrian, totaling negative yardage over the first two weeks of the season.
The only drive in which the Seahawks were able to move the ball was through the spread offense, a set Seahawks coach Tim Singleton said may be used more often against the Jaguars on Friday but not one he wanted to exclusively rely on.
“We have to get some confidence at the quarterback position first. And we need some confidence on the line in order to do those things,” Singleton said. “It seemed like that drive was good. But as a whole gameplan, when people start to figure it out, then what? So we have to continue to put our package in and get better as an offensive unit.”