PETTICOAT JUNCTION — The last time Silver Bluff advanced past the second round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs were the toast of Class AA football.
Silver Bluff won 30 consecutive games, and the Troy Williamson-led squad claimed back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001.
Friday night against Aynor, the current crop of Bulldogs exhibited speed and athleticism in a 34-6 victory that puts Silver Bluff in the third round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
“Let’s just say it’s been a long time,” Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said. “People can say what they want about AA splitting up, but we played Dillon, Cheraw and Manning, and we played some great teams in the second round and played them really well.
“It was almost like a state championship-type game in the second round. It feels good for us to go to the third round.”
Like those previous title teams, Silver Bluff (8-3) wasted little time in taking the lead. The Bulldogs took the opening kick to Aynor’s 35, and needed only two plays to score. Dontay Ingram scored on a 33-yard burst.
After the Blue Jackets mishandled the ensuing kickoff, Silver Bluff struck again in just two plays. Tyler Fishalow did the honors, scoring from 2 yards out.
Aynor (4-8) answered with a 47-yard run by Damion Riggins, but that proved to be the lone highlight for the visitors. The two teams combined for three touchdowns in the game’s first three minutes.
Silver Bluff padded its lead with a 7-yard run by senior Cordrea Tankersley, then put the game away when Shaquez Wright outraced the Aynor secondary to turn a short pass into a 60-yard touchdown.
“We’re pretty quick. This is a young team and it’s going to be a fast team,” Lown said. “You put our fullbacks in the backfield with Tankersley and some of those guys, we can run pretty good.”
Wright closed out the scoring in the third quarter with a 13-yard run.
Silver Bluff’s defense forced three turnovers in the second half.
“We did a good job not letting them break anything on us, and stopping them when we had to,” Lown said.
Up next for Silver Bluff is Mullins, which knocked off higher-seeded Woodland on Friday night. The upset means Silver Bluff will be at home for the third-round playoff game.