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Hilton Head High School

Close games the norm for Hilton Head football

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Hilton Head IslandHilton Head Island High School football coach B.J. Payne knew there would be a razor thin line between winning and losing this season. Nearly all the Seahawks games have been close to this point, with the team sporting a 3-2 (0-1) record after a narrow 21-16 loss to Berkeley in their Region 8-AAAA opener.

“We thought our offense would be a work in progress and that we would be solid defensively. That’s been the case,” Payne said. “If we wouldn’t have had a game canceled because of the hurricane, we’re eight points away from being 6-0 and 1-0 in the region with a win over the defending region champs. I’m proud of our kids for how hard they’re playing right now. It’s a group that perseveres and keeps fighting.”

The defense has carried the team through the halfway point, with defensive end Tyreke Young leading the way with 12 sacks. The Division-I prospect should be a Shrine Bowler or North-South all-star at the end of the season.

Helping Young up front are D.J. Johnson and Kevin Schofield. Sophomore free safety Cole Demarzo and linebackers Landon Jenkins and Luke French have been consistent as well.

“Across the board, everybody is doing their job. It’s like a no-named defense. The only game we had a hiccup in was Bluffton,” said Payne. “They play hard, they play physical, and they make teams take another snap. It’s high school football so you never know what can happen. They’ve been opportunistic causing turnovers.”

The main threat on the offensive side of the ball is junior Sterling White, who has 550 yards receiving while adding more than 250 yards rushing.

“We’re trying to get creative and find different ways to get him the ball. He’ll line up in the slot, as a single receiver at times, running back, quarterback. He needs to get 20 to 25 touches a game. We knew how dynamic he was going to be,” Payne said.

Diante’ Richard, the junior varsity quarterback a year ago, has made a quick transition to wide receiver, recording over 300 yards with three touchdowns. Quarterback Collin Kaiser has passed for a little over 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, and Schofield has 350 yards rushing as the team’s primary running back.

In the trenches, Joey Kurkul and John Welch are the returning starters on the offensive line, joined by newcomers John Ballenger, James Allen and Nick Magnin.

Hilton Head will try to even its conference record at Cane Bay this Friday before hosting Colleton County the following week. They wrap up the regular season against Stall (Oct. 20) and Beaufort (Oct. 27).

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