Beaufort Academy gives HHCA best shot, falls short

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Bob Sofaly photo Beaufort Academy running back Ja’Sean Lawson, center, tries to get a few yards during the first half of their conference game against Hilton Head Christian Acadamy on Friday at BA’s Merritt Field. Hilton Head Christian bested BA, 56-34. Beaufort Academy’s overall record dropped to 4-4, while HHCA remains undfeated at 8-0.

LowcoSports.com

Hilton Head Christian Academy took some big punches from a scrappy Beaufort Academy team Friday, but Ron Peduzzi’s Eagles are still the heavyweight champs of SCISA 2A football in the Lowcountry.

Jace Blackshear accounted for six touchdowns — two passing, two rushing, and two receiving — and Cameron Strickland had a huge night on both sides of the ball to lead HHCA to a 56-34 win in a shootout on Lady’s Island.

The teams traded blows early, with JP Peduzzi connecting with Blackshear for a pair of TD passes and BA answering each time with a long drive capped by a 3-yard TD run from Elijah Fess and a 45-yard scoring strike from Braydon Dineen to Jaxen Porter.

Then Blackshear and Strickland took over. Blackshear’s 2-yard TD run broke a 14-14 tie, and he hit Strickland for a 30-yard TD to make it 28-14. Strickland struck again, this time on defense, with an acrobatic interception on the BA sideline to set up Jayden Void’s 6-yard TD run.

That sequence proved to be too much to overcome for BA, which ran the ball effectively against a strong HHCA defense but couldn’t put up points fast enough or get enough defensive stops to close the gap.

Ja’Sean Lawson rushed for 193 yards on 22 carries and scored three times, Elijah Fess had 180 yards from scrimmage, and Dineen passed for 143 yards and a score, but HHCA just kept coming.

Twice BA marched down the field and Lawson punched it in to cut the deficit to two touchdowns, but each time Strickland wound up on the receiving end of a bullet from one of his two quarterbacks. First, JP Peduzzi floated a beauty into his arms for a 20-yard score to make it 42-20 on play after BA coughed it up on the opening possession of the second half, then Blackshear threaded a bullet over the middle and Strickland streaked away for a 40-yard TD.

BA had chances to close the gap late, but Troy Chisolm and Strickland pounced on fumbles to help HHCA put it away and remain undefeated.

BA (5-4, 2-2 region) can secure the No. 3 seed in the playoffs with a win at John Paul II this week and is likely to earn a playoff spot via tiebreaker even with a loss to the Golden Warriors. HHCA (8-0, 4-0) looks to complete a perfect regular season when it hosts rival Hilton Head Prep on Friday.

Above: Beaufort Academy running back Ja’Sean Lawson, center, tries to get a few yards during the first half of their conference game against Hilton Head Christian Acadamy on Friday at BA’s Merritt Field. Hilton Head Christian bested BA, 56-34. Beaufort Academy’s overall record dropped to 4-4, while HHCA remains undfeated at 8-0. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

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