By Wes Kerr
It was a first half to forget, but Hilton Head Christian Academy weathered a stellar Beaufort Academy effort to retain its region crown Friday.
Jaxen Porter picked off Jace Blackshear twice, but HHCA struck back with a pair of defensive scores Friday to race past BA 35-6 and lock down the SCISA Region 1-2A title on its new home turf.
After an opening stop on defense, Blackshear made some magic happen with his legs, shaking off tacklers and cutting across the middle of the field for a dazzling 32-yard touchdown run on fourth down. But the game changed in an instant with one throw, as Porter snatched an interception and waltzed into the end zone from 10 yards out to cut the HHCA lead to 7-6.
Beaufort Academy looked primed to go into the locker room down by just one point, but the Junkyard Dogs weren’t having it. With time winding down in the first half, Dylan Clark pounced on a BA fumble and returned the ball for a backbreaking 26-yard touchdown.
Blackshear got things started in a dominant second half, darting through a wide-open lane into the end zone for a 12-yard score to go up 21-6. Then, it was the birthday boy’s turn.
After the HHCA defense forced a hurried throw from Braydon Dineen, Riley Shinn reeled in the high toss and took it back 70 yards to the house, sending the crowd into a frenzy and giving the home team a 28-6 advantage. Joseph Robinson tacked on another score in the fourth quarter, keeping his balance after bouncing off a defender and diving across the pylon for a highlight-reel 9-yard touchdown to seal the region title.
Devonte Green led the BA run game, racking up 118 yards on 19 carries. Porter was spectacular on both sides, adding 38 rushing yards alongside two catches for 31 receiving yards and a pair of interceptions. Cody Dalrymple ran for an efficient 53 yards on five carries while making eight tackles, and Ben Lubkin added five tackles to go with his sixth pick of the season.
Hilton Head Christian (9-0, 4-0) looks to finish off a perfect regular season campaign Friday at Hilton Head Prep, while Beaufort Academy (4-3, 3-1) hosts John Paul II with second place in the region and a home playoff game on the line.
Above: Beaufort Academy quarterback Braydon Dineen (12) carries the ball against Hilton Head Christian Academy on Friday. Photo by LowcoSports.com.