The scenarios facing the Hilton Head Island High football team are pretty simple.
The Seahawks face four different outcomes over the next few days, three of which would send Hilton Head High to the playoffs while the other would send them home for the season.
For all you math students out there, that’s a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs. But the odds of the one “not so good” option are still pretty darn high.
The Seahawks, losers of two straight Region 8-AAA games, need to win and have James Island beat Orangeburg-Wilkinson to capture the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game. Should they and O-W both win, the Seahawks would travel for a first-round road game.
The Seahawks (5-4) can still make the playoffs if they lose, however, provided James Island knocks off O-W. But if O-W indeed does win in that scenario, Hilton Head High would be out of the postseason.
Pretty simple, right?
The situation is much clearer for undefeated Bluffton, which escaped its first loss of the season last Friday after Fort Dorchester missed a pair of late field goals.
The Bobcats (9-0) face Colleton County on Friday, which has lost 32 (yes, 32) consecutive games. But Bluffton can sleepwalk through this game and still win Region 8-AAAA provided the Bobcats beat Summerville next week on the road. Outside of an undefeated season, this game means nothing.
Hilton Head High (5-4) at Berkeley (3-7), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
The tale of Hilton Head High’s football season has been pretty simple.
The Seahawks have been blown out by a pair of teams ranked in their respective polls. Bluffton (9-0) is ranked fifth in Class 4-A and Hanahan is ranked No. 6 in Class 3-A.
Then Hilton Head High lost a pair of games that, quite frankly, the Seahawks should have won. They lost by a point in the season opener to Whale Branch and by six to Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Had those games gone in the Seahawks favor, they would be 7-2 and 3-1 in league play and Thursday wouldn’t matter.
But it does. Hilton Head High needs to win to assure that its season will continue. Berkeley’s record is a bit deceiving (the school played a handful of Class 4-A teams to start the season) and the Stags will come to play.
They’re a balanced team that has shifted from being under center to the I-formation to now operating out of the pistol.
“They have about 200 different formations,” coach B.J. Payne said, laughing.
What Berkeley does offensively means little. The Stags will get their yards, mainly because defense has been such a struggle of late for Hilton Head High. That means it’s going to come down to the offense for the Seahawks to get a win. Look for running back Khalil Lewis to get as many carries as possible.
“I was disappointed in some aspects,” Payne said of last week’s loss. “Whether the effort was there the full time (I don’t know). ... Other than that we have to regroup and rally.”
Prediction: Hilton Head High earns a postseason bid. The Seahawks squeak out a win over Berkeley, 21-20.
Colleton County (0-9) at Bluffton (9-0), 7:30 p.m.
Ken Cribb’s first words this week when asked about Bluffton’s 1-point escape against Fort Dorchester?
“It woke our kids up a little bit.”
That’s a fair assessment. Bluffton hasn’t been challenged much of the past few years, albeit not in the regular season, and Fort Dorchester was more than ready to provide the undefeated Bobcats with a wake up call. Bluffton watched as two turnovers turned into 14 points for the Patriots but still managed to escape thanks to the pair of missed field goals.
Don’t expect the same Bluffton team to show up against a Colleton County squad looking for its first win, despite the fact that the game means nothing in terms of the region standings. The big one lies ahead a week from now, when Bluffton travels to Summerville.
“You can’t hide stuff like that. They know it,” Cribb said. “You don’t want to go in to the last game with a blemish on your record. Let’s take this week to really work hard on us and try to prepare for the region championship game.
“We’re not looking past Colleton County, we want to win that game. But it’s not like we have anything to lose. So play loose, concentrate on us and playing smart.”
The Cougars primarily employ a 3-4 defense but have shifted to a 4-2 scheme in recent weeks. They’ll look to stop Bluffton’s passing attack, led by quarterback C.J. Frazier, but the Bobcats’ ground game has looked good over the last few games. Offensively, Colleton County operates out of the double wing option, so Bluffton will look to its speedy defense to stop things on the ground.
“They’re going to bite somebody,” Cribb said. “I told my guys, ‘Hey, you don’t think that’d turn their program around, beating Bluffton?’ They’ve got nothing to lose.”
Prediction: You have to think the Bobcats are ready to take it to someone after experiencing some closer games the past few weeks. They’ll get that done this time out against the struggling Cougars. Bluffton wins, 48-10.