It’s been smooth sailing so far for the Bluffton High School football team, which has won each of its first three games of the season by a whopping 152-8 margin. I know, shocking, right?
And while the same can’t be said for Hilton Head Island High, the Seahawks still managed to get past a frustrating season opening loss to Whale Branch by routing area foe Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 54-12, last week.
Week 3, however, will present new challenges for both schools. The Bobcats will take their unblemished record on the road for the first time this year against Wade Hampton while the Seahawks will travel up Highway 278 to Battery Creek, where they will face a Dolphins team still looking for its first win.
Here’s how both games stack up:
Bluffton (3-0) at Wade Hampton (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last week, the Bobcats got their first 4-A test in Georgia school South Effingham. And Bluffton, to no one’s surprise, passed with flying colors.
Now comes Bluffton’s first road game of the season, a date with Wade Hampton, an opponent the Bobcats are certainly familiar with. Bluffton hasn’t lost to the Red Devils since in three years, as the Bobcats have registered wins of 55-7, 30-18 and 14-0.
The Bobcats’ familiarity doesn’t stop there, however. The Red Devils employ a pistol offense modeled after the one that Bluffton has had such success with in recent seasons. Cribb naturally doesn’t expect his defense to have much trouble, seeing as how it sees a similar offense each and every day.
Here’s Cribb’s take: “They, like always, have athletes with good speed. They’re attempting to run the same stuff (as us). ... I think we’ve played them just about every year all the way back, many years. In 2010, we had a tough game over there. We were actually trailing at halftime (before winning 30-18).”
Prediction: The first road test of the season presents just another hurdle for the Bobcats before they finally get to their much-anticipated Class 4-A schedule in a few weeks. Bluffton wins this one easily, 52-6.
Hilton Head High (1-1) at Battery Creek (0-2), 7:30 p.m
One of the first things Seahawks coach B.J. Payne referenced in the immediate aftermath of last week’s win was his team’s work in the weight room the day after its loss to Whale Branch.
The Seahawks’ best lift of the year led to their first win of the year. This week’s lift was “good,” Payne said, and he’s expecting no drop-off against Battery Creek.
The two schools are playing their first game since the former Region 7-AAA rivals adjourned to new divisions. The Dolphins dropped down to Class 2-A while the Seahawks are now members of Region 8-AAA.
Payne is hoping to see the turnover margin start to turn in the Seahawks’ favor. Hilton Head High still does not have an interception this season and the defense hasn’t fallen on as many fumbles through the first two games as the Seahawk coaching staff would like.
Outside of that, however, it was a bunch of clichés from Payne, who happily admitted as much. Payne just wants to see steady improvement from his group and for them to be more consistent. Here’s what the first-year Seahawk coach had to say about Battery Creek....
“They do a lot better job with their blitz packes and how they bring it. Offensively, they want to line up (come at you). The quarterback (Raekwon Smalls) makes good decisions. I think they’re playing like four sophomores on offense right now. Those kids are going to get better every single week. Obviously, it’s a big game, but we’ve got to continue taking care of us.”
Prediction: Battery Creek is better than its 0-2 record indicates, but Hilton Head High should have little trouble getting past its formal rival. I’d look for the Seahawks to come on top, 47-13.