BLACKVILLE, S.C. -- You can build size and strength and you can teach basic football fundamentals.
But there's one thing you can't build or teach -- speed.
Blackville-Hilda took advantage of its superior speed on both sides of the ball to run past Bamberg-Ehrhardt 13-6 in a defensive shootout and spoiled Bamberg coach Butch Jacobs' return to South Carolina.
Jacobs, who returned to the Palmetto State for the first time since leading Silver Bluff to the Class AA state title in 1992, saw a lot of promise in his Red Raider squad.
But it was Blackville's defense who took center stage. The Hawks held Bamberg to just 50 yards of total offense and three first downs in the game while using its speed on offense to eventually wear down the Red Raiders.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt's only points came early in the second half when Russel Shepherd knocked the ball from Blackville-Hilda quarterback Raphael Isaac, scooped up the fumble and returned the loose ball 29 yards for the game's first points.
"The biggest thing tonight was we kept them (Bamberg-Ehrhardt) out of the end zone," said Blackville-Hilda coach David Berry. "We gave up the one touchdown, but our offense gave that one up. What we're hoping for is we can just build on it (defensive performance tonight) and go from there."
Less than three minutes later, the Hawks found the end zone on Wilbur Johnson's 22-yard scamper and kicker Ricky Willis provided the difference with the extra point for a 7-6 lead.
However, after racking up 150 yards to total offense in the first half, the Hawks managed just 85 yards in the second half. The victory wasn't secured until Michael Williams intercepted Bamberg quarterback Corey Kinard at the Raiders' 25-yard line and returned the interception 24 yards to the Raider 1-yard line with 6:13 left in the game.
Three plays later, Raphael Isaac gave Blackville-Hilda some breathing room with a 1-yard plunge for a 13-6 lead.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt -- 0 6 0 0 -- 6
Blackville-Hilda -- 0 7 0 6 -- 13
BE -- Russel Shepherd 29 run (kick failed)
BH -- Wilbur Johnson 22 run (Ricky Willis kick)
BH -- Raphael Isaac 1 run (kick blocked)
Records: Bamberg-Ehrhardt 0-1, Blackville-Hilda 1-0. Next: Bamberg-Ehrhardt at Denmark-Olar, 8 p.m.; Blackville-Hilda at Barnwell, 8 p.m., next Friday.
Tim Morse covers high school sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3216.