Silver Bluff football coach Al Lown doesn’t need to scare his team with warnings or keep them focused by talking up the opponent.
His players are all too familiar with this foe – and how slow starts could mean the end.
A couple of weeks after the Bulldogs beat rival Barnwell 28-27 in overtime – Silver Bluff had trailed 21-0 – the rivals play again at 7:30 tonight at Silver Bluff in the second round of the Class AA Division II state playoffs.
“It’s good because it’s great for the fans and the community,” Lown said. “The bad thing is we’re playing a good football team.”
Silver Bluff is 9-1 and a No. 1 seed; Barnwell is 5-6, but it did beat Academic Magnet in the opening round. The Warhorses have won a state playoff game two years in a row.
Not surprisingly, the two rival programs aren’t foreign to each other. From 1985-2000, they met twice in a season eight different times. In 2012, they will meet twice in three weeks.
“We always had to end up playing Silver Bluff twice,” said Barnwell coach Ed Moore, referring to battles in region play and then in the state playoffs. “That’s the way it was. We haven’t been up to par with them, but we’re trying to get there.”
In the season’s first matchup, Barnwell used Silver Bluff fumbles — the Bulldogs’ rushing game has usually bullied opponents with Shaquez Wright and others — to jump ahead by three scores. The Warhorses then made some mistakes of their own to assist the comeback.
The setback was another miss for the Warhorses’ seniors. They haven’t beaten Silver Bluff, which has won five in a row in the series.
But Moore, who’s a 1995 Barnwell graduate, is excited that group and the rest of the team got another chance to beat “The Bluff.”
“Most of the time in life, you don’t get that opportunity,” Moore said. “Fortunately, we do, and we don’t have to wait a year.”