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Holly Hill Academy High School

Holly Hill Academy football earns playoff berth

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Holly Hill – The 2017 football season has been one wrought with injuries for the Holly Hill Academy Raiders but the team persevered and fought their way to a playoff spot nonetheless.

Head coach Don Shelley says the injuries began early and were sporadic throughout the regular season, leading to a 3-7 record. But, the season can change dramatically in the postseason. Holly Hill will play Beaufort Academy in a first-round game of the SCISA 8-man Division I state playoffs on November 3rd.

The Raiders ended the regular season with a solid 26-18 win over St. John’s Christian and enter the playoffs on a positive note.

“They say it’s a new season now so maybe we can put a little run together,” Shelley said. “It’s gonna be a tough deal though. We’re still without some guys. The one thing I know is our guys will play hard. This group will give a great effort and we’ll see if that’s good enough to keep going.”

The Raiders enter the playoffs without starting quarterback Nick Strickland, a pivotal member of the offensive attack. Strickland returned from an achilles injury suffered early in the year only to suffer a shoulder injury a few weeks ago.

“I hate it for him, being a senior and all, but it definitely changes our offense without him in there,” Shelley said.

Wide receiver Grayson Hopkins has moved to quarterback and seems to be gaining confidence daily, according to Shelley.

The coach says junior Even Boyd has been a key performer as a receiver/running back and defensive back. In the win over St. John’s Christian, Boyd had an 80-yard touchdown reception and returned an interception for a touchdown.

“Even’s had a good year for us,” Shelley said. “He’s made some big plays throughout the year. He’s a good athlete.”

 Senior end Hanks Avinger has provided solid leadership defensively, despite being hobbled by a bum ankle for a few weeks. Senior Chandler Weatherford has been the most consistent lineman, while freshman fullback/linebacker Zack Cologne has been a pleasant surprise and will be a key player in the future.

This year’s team has five seniors on the roster. Boyd, Hopkins and Cologne will be key returning leaders next year. Holly Hill’s junior varsity posted a 6-1 record this fall.

“We have some ones coming along so we like our chances down the road,” Shelley said.

 

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