HILTON HEAD, S.c. (WSAV) – Heartbreaking losses will stick with a team long after the stadium lights shut off and the players ride the bus home. Hilton Head Christian and their quarterback J.P. Peduzzi are no different.
“We all think back to last year and what happened then.”
Hilton Head Christian was dealt its toughest blow of 2019 season at a crucial moment — a 55-49 overtime loss to Trinity-Byrnes in the state championship game. The Eagles entered the new year determined to flip the script.
“I promised myself I wasn’t losing the state championship this year,” Peduzzi explained. “[Winning] would mean everything in my high school football career to me.”
Peduzzi and his teammates have a shot at redemption Saturday afternoon. The Eagles will face Carolina Academy in the SCISA AA state championship at Charleston Southern University.
“I get nervous before every game to be honest with you,” running back and linebacker Jackson ‘Bulldog’ Lanier admitted. “But as soon as that ball gets kicked off and I see that ball in the air it’s just ‘game on’ from there on out.”
The Eagles’ offense has lit up scoreboard all season long — scoring an average of 45 points per game. The defense, nicknamed ‘The Junkyard Dogs”, has shown some bite recently with just 14 points given up over the last game and half of playoff football.
“On offense we like to keep the ball moving and keep up the tempo,’ Jace Blackshear, who returned an interception 90+ yards in the playoff win over Pee Dee Academy last week, said. “Whenever the defense gets three-and-outs it gets us more hyped because we want to keep it moving and score points.”
Saturday’s game isn’t just a chance to avenge last year’s loss. It’s a curtain call for ta talented group of Eagles’ seniors who, throughout the summer, weren’t sure if the season would happen at all.
“There’s been so many people who have had a tough year on so many levels,” head coach Ron Peduzzi explained. “I think it would mean a lot for them to win.”
WSAV will be at the Eagles’ game against Carolina Academy on Saturday afternoon. You can catch the highlights in the evening newscasts.