Above: Beaufort quarterback Tyler Haley, center, has to scramble during the first quarter of the Eagles’ Region 7-4A home game Friday night against May River. The Eagles (6-2, 2-1) lost 24-21 to the visiting Sharks (6-2, 3-0). Photo by Bob Sofaly.
The underdogs absorbed a couple of early punches and fought back with a flurry of big plays as May River went into the Eagles’ Nest on Friday and unseated two-time defending region champion Beaufort High with a 24-21 victory that puts the Sharks in the driver’s seat in Region 7-4A.
Garvin Douglas rushed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass, and the Sharks’ defense stopped the Eagles on downs in the final two minutes to end a two-game skid against Beaufort.
The home team came out hot, as star running back Amariee Morris announced his presence after sitting out last week with an ankle injury. Morris picked up 44 yards on four carries on the opening series, breaking away for a 26-yard TD run to give the Eagles a quick lead. He did it again on the next possession, sweeping around the left side for a 29-yard score and a 14-0 advantage.
But Douglas and the Sharks have shown their mettle all season, and they answered right back. The star senior quarterback broke a 54-yard run to put the Sharks in scoring position, then floated a pass over the middle for tight end Max Kimmel, who hauled it in for a 23-yard TD to get May River on the board.
An acrobatic James Dennison interception in the red zone preserved the lead for a moment, but May River’s Darrion Perry slipped through and blocked a punt to set the Sharks up at the 5 with less than a minute left in the half, and Douglas gambled on third-and-goal, tucking it and running when he couldn’t find an open receiver and powering over the goal line to tie it before halftime.
The Sharks got the ball first in the second half, and they cashed in on a big gamble. Douglas broke out of the pack on fourth-and-2 for a 47-yard TD run that gave the Sharks their first lead of the game — and one they didn’t surrender.
An Eagles fumble on their own 39 led to Jonah Comfort’s 39-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game, but Beaufort rekindled its dormant offense on the next series, as Tyler Haley hit McLeod Reichel for 26 yards, then punched it in from 1 to make it a three-point margin with 5:23 left.
Beaufort came up with a quick stop to give the offense a chance at some late heroics, but the Sharks closed in on a scrambling Haley on fourth-and-9 from near midfield and ran out the clock on a hard-fought road win that puts them in position to claim the region crown and the top seed in the Class 4A playoffs.
Douglas picked up 200 of the Sharks’ 250 rushing yards on 26 carries and scored twice, and he was 4-for-11 for 49 yards with a TD and an interception. The Sharks’ defense frustrated Beaufort for most of the night, as Jaeon Allen and Perry provided excellent downfield coverage, limiting Haley to 51 yards on 6-for-10 passing and slowing Morris after the quick start, as he finished with 139 yards on 19 carries.
May River (6-2, 3-0) returns home to face Colleton County on Friday, while Beaufort (6-2, 2-1) travels to Bluffton.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Week 9 Schedule
Hilton Head Prep at John Paul II, 7 p.m.
Beaufort Academy at Hilton Head Christian, 7 p.m.
Oceanside Collegiate at Battery Creek, 7:30 p.m.
Beaufort High at Bluffton, 7:30 p.m.
Hilton Head High at James Island, 7:30 p.m.
Colleton County at May River, 7:30 p.m.
Lake Marion at Ridgeland- Hardeeville, 7:30 p.m.
Whale Branch at Allendale- Fairfax, 7:30 p.m.
Thomas Heyward at Bethesda Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Greenwood Christian at Colleton Prep, 7:30 p.m.