PETTICOAT JUNCTION — The path to the Region 5-AA football title always seems to include Highway 278.
Silver Bluff is located off that busy road, and for the better part of three decades the Bulldogs have been an annual contender for region supremacy.
After Silver Bluff’s 13-12 win over Edisto on Friday night, it looks like another Region 5-AA title is coming to The Bluff.
On a night when their offense was held in check, the Bulldogs (7-1, 3-0 region) used their defense to stifle the Cougars (5-3, 2-1) and hang on for the win.
“It puts us in the driver’s seat,” Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said of the region title race. “We only need to win one out of the next two. We’ve had this date circled for six weeks. We knew how important it was going to be.”
The two teams battled to a 6-6 tie in the first half. Silver Bluff reached Edisto’s 10 on its first two possessions, but came away with no points.
Edisto scored first when Tyrell Maxwell found Tyler Hickson for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Silver Bluff scored its only touchdown of the half thanks to Shaquez Wright. After their defense set them up in great field position, Wright ripped off a 34-yard gain then scored on the next play from 2 yards out.
On the first play of the second half, Silver Bluff’s Gyasi Yeldell recovered a fumble and needed only three plays to cover the 36 yards. RJ Stallings scored on the 6-yard run and Nicholas Casares made the extra point to put Silver Bluff up 13-6.
After both teams struggled to move the ball, Silver Bluff coughed up the ball early in the fourth quarter and Edisto took advantage. Maxwell connected on a fourth-down pass to Daniel Seawright.
The Cougars, who were without regular kicker Tyler Black because of an injury, opted to go for the 2-point conversion. Maxwell scrambled and thought he had an open receiver, but Wright stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it.
The Cougars had one more possession, but Silver Bluff’s defense held again.
“Credit to our defensive coaches and players,” Lown said. “We’ve gotten a lot of publicity on our offense all year, but our defense played great.”
The Bulldogs ran off five consecutive region championships between 2006 and 2010 before Swansea ended that streak in 2011. Silver Bluff bounced back with another region title in 2012.
Silver Bluff’s remaining region games are at home against Calhoun County and on the road at Barnwell. Neither team has a winning record.
“We’re going to try and win them both,” Silver Bluff lineman James Jacks said. “We’re going to keep on working hard.”