BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Welcome to 15 Teams in 15 Days! This is WSAV’s annual high school football preview series where we do a deep dive on a new team for each of the first 15 days of August. This year, we will ask and answer four standard questions of each team, which are all listed below:

Why are you interesting?

The Beaufort Eagles were one of the best stories in all of South Carolina in 2021.

Just weeks after a 24-21 loss to May River that prevented the Eagles from repeating as region champs, they soared to new heights in the postseason, ripping off four straight victories, including a road win over top-ranked Myrtle Beach in the quarterfinals. A 42-10 home drubbing of West Florence put the Eagles in the state title game, only their second appearance since 1945.

The only thing that stood between Beaufort and a state championship was a loaded South Pointe team, led by their former coach Devonte Holloman. Although South Pointe defeated Beaufort, 41-7, in that title game, the Eagles had nothing to hang their head about.

This season, Beaufort is determined to take that last step toward a state championship against their new Class 3A competition.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we learned that everybody wants the same thing and everybody wants to reach the one goal and that is to win a championship,” defensive lineman Eamon Smalls said.

“Practice has been going really well,” added defensive end Jack Sumner. “Everyone has been paying attention and we’ve been getting after it in practice. There’s been some good plays being made.”

Who are your dudes?

Smalls is definitely one of them; he just committed to West Virginia this summer and is renowned as one of the area’s top defensive players.

However, he is hardly the only one. Quarterback Samari Bonds has been drawing high marks from his teammates as he takes the reins from departed senior Tyler Haley.

“He’s going to be real young as a sophomore but he’s really good. He’s the real deal,” Sumner said.

Bonds will be looking to wide receiver and running back Kacy Fields quite a bit. Fields has lofty goals for himself in 2022-’23.

“I would like to get some offers of course,” Fields said. “I’d like to get 1000 yards receiving and probably like 400 or 500 rushing.”

Two-way senior Colton Phares will also be a presence on both the wide receiver corps and the defensive backs group. He committed to App State this summer.

What’s up with your coach?

Hey, look, it’s reigning Team Lowcountry coach Bryce Lybrand!

When he’s not leading the South Carolina All-Stars to a come-from-behind win in the 2022 Blitz Border Bowl, Lybrand is coaching the Beaufort Eagles with his standard mix of task-oriented discipline and care for his players.

“He’s hard on you, but he’s loving. Everything he does is for a reason. We have some fun, but at the same time, we’re going to get coached,” Smalls said.

Lybrand has gone 21-11 overall in the Beaufort job with two region championships.

“Offensively we’re a spread, you know, we probably run a little bit more than we pass, but we can do both,” Lybrand said. “Defensively, we’re based out of a 4-2-5, but we’re pretty multiple. We’ll be able to figure out the identity of the team as we go, then try to mold it to be the best we can be.”

When’s the big game?

We already took a look at the May River-Beaufort rivalry in our Sharks preview, so how about we choose something else?

The Eagles’ game against the Hilton Head Island Seahawks at the Nest on Sept. 2 looks like an intriguing one.

Beaufort has beaten the Seahawks in 14 of the last 15 meetings, but cross-county rivals tend to make for good spoilers. Hilton Head will look to play that role once again.

Once region play starts, Beaufort will play a lot of opponents from outside the county. They will open that part of their schedule with Philip Simmons on Sept. 30, then go away to Battery Creek and North Charleston before finishing the regular season on Oct. 28 with Hanahan.