Originally created 09/27/00

S.C. prep notebook



Blackville-Hilda coach David Berry took his team through a light workout on Tuesday, then struggled the next two days trying to get his squad back into game shape.

That's not the typical week of preparation Berry would have preferred heading into the Region 4-A opener, especially since it comes on the road against a tough North squad.

Thanks to Tropical Storm Helene, Blackville-Hilda had to postpone last Friday's game against Elloree until Monday. The Hawks won 24-14, but still suffered a few setbacks.

"That's a part of it," Berry said. "We practiced in shorts on Tuesday just to try to loosen everyone back up from Monday. I expected the kids to be a little sore. We just wanted to see what we could get done the next two days.

"Usually you have the weekend to relax and recover so you can go hard on Monday. Of course, it's not the preparation we need, but it's a part of football. We're not in this boat alone."

Aiken, North Augusta and Barnwell all played Monday games. McCormick and Batesburg-Leesville played on Saturday. Some squads, though, decided to play through the weather:

South Aiken beat favored Irmo, snapping its 21-game Region 3-AAAA losing streak with a 13-12 win.

Midland Valley recorded its first victory with a 25-20 win over Allendale-Fairfax.

Strom Thurmond wasn't as fortunate, losing 14-6 to Emerald.

"Everyone was affected one way or the other," Aiken coach Carey Johnson said after his Hornets lost 28-26 to Region 3-AAAA rival Lexington on Monday. "It's a part of football. You can't ask questions like what if. We have to work through it and try to get back on track."

TOUGH TO BEAT:

Silver Bluff has won 18 of its past 19 games after routing Hanahan 34-3 last week. The Bulldogs open defense of their Region 6-AA title when they travel to Jasper County tonight.

Al Lown's squad has outscored opponents 201-16 and has yet to allow a fourth-quarter touchdown.

Balance has been the key this season. The Bulldogs have three rushers with more than 300 yards, and senior quarterback Jamie Williamson has thrown for 556 yards and seven touchdowns.

TOP BACKS:

Two of the area's leading rushers will go head to head tonight when South Aiken travels to North Augusta.

Junior tail back Reggie Merriweather guides the Jackets, while senior running back Antwaun Carter paces the Thoroughbreds ground attack.

Merriweather utilizes tremendous speed and quickness to break long runs. Carter uses his strength to run through tacklers, but also has plenty of speed.

STILL SEARCHING:

Strom Thurmond first-year coach Dusty Triplett was a part of more than his share of wins as an assistant for the Rebels in the 1980s.

Triplett is finding that his work is cut out for him now in 2000.

The Rebels have yet to win a game under Triplett, heading into tonight's Region 5-AAA opener at Newberry winless at 0-5. Strom Thurmond has had little trouble getting into scoring position behind running back Eric Tolen and receiver Deric Tolen.

It's getting into the end zone that's been the problem.

Strom Thurmond has suffered only one lopsided loss, a 35-6 defeat to Union. But the Rebels have scored only 32 points in five games, making it hard for any defense to pick up the slack.

"It gets to be a burden," Triplett said of trying to get the first win. "You know what it takes to win and the kids play hard. You wonder why you're not winning."

BACK ON TRACK:

Midland Valley got its top two offensive threats back on track during Friday's 25-20 win over Allendale-Fairfax.

Senior running back Travis Mays, who totaled only 132 yards rushing in the first three games, carried 27 times for 152 with two scores. Mays has 262 rushing yards in the pasttwo games, finding his game just in time for the Mustangs Region 5-AAA opener at Brookland-Cayce.

Senior quarterback Morgan Quiller also is back in the starting lineup after missing three games with an elbow injury. Quiller threw the game winning touchdown last week.

Reach Patrick Green at (803) 648-1395.