I covered many of the keys to the game in Friday’s edition of The Island Packet. And I will get into them a bit further a little later in this post.
But first I figured we could discuss something that will probably make Bluffton High School fans cringe — region tiebreakers. There are two big games in Region 7-AAA this week: Hilton Head High at Bluffton in the fifth annual Bridge Bowl and Cane Bay at Berkeley.
The two games will have a major impact on the region standings in the final week of the regular season. Believe it or not, three of the four can actually win the Region 7-AAA title on Friday night. The Bobcats can finish anywhere from first to fourth. But the good news, no matter what, is they won’t be left out of the postseason altogether by another tiebreaker.
Just so you know exactly which teams to root for (other than your own schools), here are the four possible scenarios that can play out Friday night.
If Bluffton and Berkeley win — Berkeley goes undefeated to win the region; Bluffton takes second with one loss; Cane Bay takes third with two losses; Hilton Head High finishes fourth win three losses.
If Bluffton and Cane Bay win — Here is when things begin to get tricky. There would be a three-way top atop the standings, with Berkeley, Bluffton and Cane Bay each at 4-1. Since head-to-head is a wash — each of them are 1-1 — you need to go to overall winning percentage, which would make Bluffton the region champion. After separating Bluffton from the pack, you return to head-to-head to divide the remaining two teams, which would give Cane Bay the second seed and a home playoff game. One-loss Berkeley would actually take third, and the Seahawks finish fourth.
If Hilton Head High and Berkeley win — Berkeley goes undefeated to win the region, but things again get complicated after that. There would be a three-way tie for second between Bluffton, Cane Bay and Hilton Head High. Again, head-to-head doesn’t do the trick, so you go to overall win percentage. The Bobcats’ 5-0 out-of-region mark gives them the No. 2 seed. Returning to head-to-head afterwards makes Cane Bay (who defeated the Seahawks) No. 3 and Hilton Head High No. 4.
If Hilton Head High and Cane Bay win — Cane Bay and Berkeley would finish with one loss each. Head-to-head would give Cane Bay the region title, and the Stags would take second. The Seahawks and Bobcats would each have a 3-2 region record. Head-to-head would give Hilton Head High the third seed and the Bobcats would finish fourth.
As for the Bridge Bowl, here are my three keys to the game:
1. The Seahawks must find offensive rhythm — Bluffton held the Seahawks to minus-7 total yards of offense in Week 0. I know I’ve said that multiple times, but that is an astounding number. Michael Julian needs to get his offense to move the football and to sustain drives by converting third downs. The Bobcats were heavy on the blitz calls in the opening week, so the Seahawks need to find a way to avoid the pass rush.
2. The Bobcats must stay balanced offensively — Bluffton used up many of its trick plays in last week’s showdown with Berkeley. I’m sure coach Ken Cribb has dialed up a few more for Friday’s matchup against the Seahawks, but the Bobcats would be better off if they don’t need to use any of them. They won’t need to if they stay balanced in their rushing attack. Super back Zachary Scott, hampered by leg injuries the past few weeks, will be a key in making that happen. Eric Boyles, who will likely be called on to fill in for Desmond Jenkins for another week, rushed for more than 100 yards in last week’s loss.
3. Come out strong — The Bobcats’ offense certainly has quick-strike ability. If Bluffton puts up a couple of early scores, it may be difficult for the Seahawks to bounce back, especially considering they realize they’re the underdog Friday night. If Hilton Head High can take an early lead, on the other hand, it can give the team confidence it can make it an interesting game.