HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Vance Bailey kicked four field goals and the Berkeley defense shut down Hilton Head as the Stags claimed a 26-6 victory on the road.
Hilton Head suffered its third straight defeat after an improbable 7-0 start and No. 8 ranking in Class AAA earlier this year. The latest defeat saddled the Seahawks with the final seed from Region 8-AAA, meaning Hilton Head must travel to unbeaten and third-ranked Socastee next Friday for the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s the little things,” Hilton Head coach B.J. Payne said. “We were doing the little things the first seven weeks. Taking care of our responsibilities and making sure we were doing everything right. For some reason, we’ve gotten away from that.”
The Seahawks couldn’t seem to do anything right on this night. Hilton Head (7-3, 2-3 Region 8-AAA) found the end zone just once against the stingy Berkeley defense, which limited quarterbacks Ben Oliff and Aiden Hegarty to a combined 6 of 15 passing with a pair of interceptions.
The offense netted just 53 yards through the air and finished with nine first downs, a handful of which came in the fourth quarter with the game’s outcome already determined.
“I just thought our kids had a great week of practice,” Berkeley coach Jeff Cruce said. “They took the challenge of knowing how big the game was. We had to win. We wanted to finish third, we didn’t want to go to Socastee.
“We went there last year. Socastee is pretty good.”
Instead, it will be the Seahawks who get that honor. By virtue of its victory, Berkeley (5-5, 3-2) earned the right to travel to Myrtle Beach for next week’s postseason opener, as the Seahawks moved to 6-4 following an upset of 8-2 North Myrtle Beach.
“Our defense played great,” Cruce said. “They kept us in the ballgame. And our kicker kicked the ball well.”
Vance Bailey booted four field goals for the Stags, the last of which came from 44 yards out. Tailback Joshua Sellers had 149 yards on 14 carries, 77 of which came on his touchdown run early in the second half, while quarterback Joshua Dress added 75 yards and a 26-yard score.
Their efforts were enough to get past a Seahawks offense that sputtered despite the return of senior Khalil Lewis. The tailback led the team with 107 yards on 17 touches, but was largely ineffective due to the struggles of the Hilton Head quarterbacks.
Berkeley 3 3 17 3—26
Hilton Head 0 0 6 0—6
Berkeley — Vance Bailey 26 kick
Berkeley — Bailey 20 kick
Berkeley — Joshua Sellers 77 rush (Bailey kick)
HH — Tyler Hamilton 4 rush
Berkeley — Joseph Dress 26 rush (Bailey kick)
Berkeley — Bailey 35 kick
Berkeley — Bailey 44 kick