What a way for Whale Branch Early College High School to start the football season.
The Warriors travel to Bluffton High School on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, one of three area games to start the 2012 season. Yep, Bluffton, which played in the 2011 Class 3-A state championship game and has since moved up to 4-A.
This matchup might have been more intriguing had former Warriors coach Rob D’Amato and his staff stuck around. D’Amato and his assistants met with Bluffton High School coach Ken Cribb during the summer before the 2011 season and added some components from the Bobcats’ offense.
Tutor would have met student in Week 0. But D’Amato moved on, replaced with no-nonsense Jerry Hatcher, the forner defensive coordinator at Beaufort High School. His first instinct is to run between the tackles.
Some juicy elements remain.
Warriors assistant coach Dean Hawkins jumped to Bluffton during the offseason, so his former players might be looking forward to seeing him again. Hatcher will want to know the makeup of his team, whether players will remain physical throughout the game, even if the Bobcats begin pouring it on.
And has been the case the past two seasons, there will likely be scrutinty as to how Cribb handles a blowout, should this game reach that point.
You can read my game story online by about midnight or in Saturday's print edition.
From the sideline
Hatcher on Bluffton: “They’re going to do real good in 4-A, too, it looks like. It’s just going to be a carryover with that fan support and the weight room they’ve got over there. Coach Cribb has probably got 120 kids in that program. I’ve got about 38 over here, including JV. I guess I’ll get some more next week, when school starts. They’re pretty good. The quarterback, the Friazier kid, is extremely accurate. They’ve got some physical linebackers. They like to blitz, and they’re good at it. They hit hard, too. They bring it when they come.”
Cribb on Whale Branch (as told to my colleague, Chris Cox): The first year they were brand-new, so we kind of dominated that (scrimmage) pretty much, because they were just getting started. They were doing good things. Last year, though, I knew they were going to have a good season because they executed real well. It was a good scrimmage. You can’t let a team hang around. If they start high-fiving and having success, the ball bounces the wrong way a couple times early resulting in points, you’re in for a long night and a dog fight. Anybody can beat anybody on any given night. That’s as true as it comes. That’s better than fact.”
Prediction: The gap between these programs is too wide. Bluffton 56, Whale Branch 13.