When Oceanside Collegiate quarterback Sam Hartman comes back to the sideline after an offensive series, he almost immediately turns his attention to the Landsharks’ next possession.
Hartman is normally on the bench, huddling with the Oceanside coaching staff or talking with his offensive linemen or wide receivers about the adjustments the Landsharks will make the next time they take the field.
But this Friday night when the Landsharks (5-2) face undefeated Baptist Hill (6-0) in Mount Pleasant at Park West, Hartman admitted he might be forced to break his normal routine and take a look at Bobcats quarterback Corey Fields when Oceanside doesn’t have the ball.
“Corey can absolutely spin it and he’s got a bunch of good receivers that can go get the ball,” Hartman said.
The feeling is mutual.
“I saw Sam up at the Charleston Southern camp and he can bring it,” Fields said. “He’s stands tall in the pocket and he’s very accurate.”
While Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner is widely considered to be the top high school prospect in South Carolina this season, Fields and Hartman are, at least statistically speaking, the top two quarterbacks in the state.
Fields and Hartman have combined to throw for more than 4,500 yards and 53 touchdowns already this season. Fields, who verbally committed to play at Wake Forest next season, leads the Lowcountry with 2,344 yards and 24 touchdowns. Fields isn’t far behind with 2,250 passing yards and 29 TDs. Both have thrown for six TDs in a game at least twice already this season.
While there will be 20 other players on the field Friday night, Baptist Hill head coach Marion Brown said it’s only natural for fans and the media to be drawn to the match-up between Fields and Hartman.
“Two great high school quarterbacks that like to throw the ball down the field,” Brown said. “Sam and Corey are very similar athletes. They both have good arm strength and both are really smart, they’ve got really high football IQs.
“I think Wake Forest is getting a heck of a quarterback because people think Sam is just a pocket passer, but he can extend plays with his feet and he’s always got his eyes downfield to make an explosive play.”
Oceanside coach Chad Grier said Fields might be one of the most underrated passers in the state.
“I think Corey has special arm talent,” Grier said. “I think he throws the ball exceptional well, especially the deep ball. I told (South Carolina coach) Will Muschamp that this kid has an elite arm. I don’t know a lot about him, but from what I’ve seen on film, when the ball is coming out of his hand, he’s special.”
One coach who has seen more than enough of both Fields and Hartman is St. John’s head coach Josh Harpe. Hartmen threw for 310 yards and two TDs in a 28-14 in a Landsharks victory, while Fields threw 463 yards and 7 TDs in a 50-42 Bobcats win.
“I can tell you that I’m glad both of those kids are graduating,” Harpe said with a chuckle. “Sam and Corey are elite high school quarterbacks. They both throw darts and are great athletes that can hurt you with their feet.
“Sam has great composure, great pocket presence and he’s very accurate. Corey has a cannon for an arm and his accuracy is 100 percent better than last year. In the past, Corey has had issues with some of those short and intermediate throws. This year he’s lights out.”
Fields, who is being recruited by Newberry, The Citadel and Coastal Carolina, said he can’t caught up in the individual match-up with Hartman.
“You have to think about it as a team game, football is a team game,” Fields said. “It’s not about one person or me against him. We play as a team, that’s only way you can win.”
Grier said the key for the Landsharks will be keeping the Bobcats explosive plays to a minimum.
“I’ve never seen a team throw the ball down the field as much as Baptist Hill,” Grier said. “Most teams, might take a shot downfield two or three times a game. Baptist Hill does it all the time. We have to be ready for that.”
Brown said the Bobcats defense will spend most of the week preparing for the Landsharks’ multiple formations.
“They move around a lot before the snap to try and fool you and get you out of position,” Brown said.
Reach Andrew Miller at 843-937-5599. Follow him on Twitter @APMILLER_PandC