Coming into the Region 8AAA game with third ranked Hanahan having won three out of their last four games, including a 40-14 whipping of James Island, the Berkeley Stags had to feel good about their chances against the Hawks.
That good feeling was gone in about three minutes Friday night at HHS.
Hanahan quarterback Mason Schwerzler made his own case for the title of Berkeley County’s top quarterback, throwing for three first quarter touchdowns in the game’s first four minutes, 171 yards and four TD passes overall, to lead the Hawks to a 36-0 whitewashing of Berkeley.
This game was over before the Stags ever touched the football.
Schwerzler took the opening kickoff and got his offense in range with three quick handoffs to running back Quan Wade to bring the ball to midfield.
Then Schwerzler went up top, hitting Terrell Green in stride with a 49-yard touchdown pass down the far sideline.
On the ensuing kickoff Hanahan pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with an onside kick that caught the Stags so off guard that kicker Kyle Spigner was able to stroll along with the bouncing football until it reached 10 yards before falling on the ball to give the Hawks the ball at the Berkeley 49-yard line.
Lightning struck twice two plays later when Schwerzler again took to the friendly skies and hit Sam Denmark with an identical 49-yard touchdown pass at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter.
The Hawks had the lead, 14-0, and the Stags get the ball for the first time.
The revolving door at quarterback for the Stags of late had Matthew Harkness under center for the first series. On Berkeley’s third play from scrimmage Harkness fumbled, giving the ball right back to Hanahan at the Stags’ 30-yard line.
Four plays later Wade rumbled in from 10 yards out to make the score 21-0 before many Stags fans who made the trip down Hwy. 52 were able to find their seats.
Schwerzler wasn’t done.
After Berkeley went three-and-out on their next possession, Schwerzler once again found Denmark, this time with a 69-yard touchdown strike and Hanahan was on top 27-0 before the first 12 minutes of play ticked off the clock.
Life didn’t get much better for the Stags in the second quarter.
Joseph Dress, now in the shotgun set, drove the Stags to the Hanahan red zone before the drive stalled. A Vance Bailey field goal attempt hooked left and that would do it for the Stags offensively in the first half.
Though the scoring pace slowed in the second quarter for the Hawks, it was the defense’s turn to put some points on the board. Dominique Green’s pursuit of Harkness into his own end zone resulted in a safety when the Stags QB fell untouched for a sack and two points.
Schwerzler finished off his scoring night with just over 35 seconds left in the half, hitting Green for the second time with a 10-yard touchdown strike to make the score 36-0 going into the locker room.
Stags Coach Jeff Cruce told his team they needed to play with pride in the second half and they did, holding Hanahan to just 75 yards of offense in the second half.
The Stags were able to move the ball between the 20’s against Hanahan, garnering 175 yards of rushing offense of their own, but their three drives inside the red zone in the second half ended with an interception, a fumble and a turnover on downs.
“We got beat by a better team tonight,” said BHS Head Coach Jeff Cruce, whose Stags fall to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in Region 8AAA. “I thought we’d be better prepared.”
Hanahan improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in region play.
The Stags return home on Friday to host Stall for Homecoming, but then must face the other two Region 8AAA teams ranked in the top 10, Orangeburg-Wilkinson at home, and Hilton Head on the road.