Thomas Heyward Academy took a big bite when the three-time defending SCISA 1A champions scheduled both Class 3A Battery Creek and Class 4A Bluffton for a pair of rare matchups between area public and private school programs.
The Rebels chewed up the first of their public-school opponents, dominating every phase of the game Friday in a 44-3 romp at Battery Creek.
James “Turbo” Townsend took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown to set the tone, and freshman quarterback Dietrich Shuford rushed for a touchdown and threw two TD passes to Cutter Williams to lead a surgical performance by THA’s offense.
After Townsend took the opening kick to the house, Shuford hit Williams over the middle for the first of two TD hookups. Eighth-grade phenom Tony O’Banner’s 30-yard touchdown run made it 22-0 early in the second quarter, and Shuford scored from 5 yards out to push it to 30-0.
The Dolphins showed signs of life on offense when Will White launched a deep ball up the right sideline to Talon Lee, who took it inside the 10. Battery Creek made it to the 3, but the Rebels pushed them back on consecutive plays, leading to a field goal from Ivan Huerta to get the Dolphins on the board before halftime.
The Rebels slammed the door in the third quarter, as Shuford hit a streaking Williams up the left sideline for a long touchdown and Townsend took a jet sweep to the end zone to cap the scoring.
Battery Creek’s offense was never able to get in a rhythm in its first game action after the Dolphins had their preseason scrimmages wiped out by two separate COVID-19 quarantines.
But THA’s defense had a lot to do with that. Cameron VanGeison delivered a crushing hit early in the game, and Brandon Howard flew around the field as the leader of a relentless Rebel defense.
The Rebels (1-0) will slide back to the SCISA ranks next week, hosting Dorchester Academy, before traveling to Bluffton for another chance to prove a point Sept. 10.
WEEK 2 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
St. Andrew’s at John Paul II, 7 p.m.
Hilton Head High at Lower Richland, 7:30 p.m.
Benedictine at Beaufort High, 7:30 p.m.
Beaufort Academy at Bethesda Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Dorchester Academy at Thomas Heyward, 7:30 p.m.
Aynor at Whale Branch, 8 p.m.
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Pictured: Battery Creek quarterback William White seems to be swallowed up by the Thomas Heyward Academy defense Friday night at Battery Creek High School. THA routed the hosting Dolphins, 44-3, in the Rebels’ first game against a public school. Photo by Bob Sofaly.