PETTICOAT JUNCTION, S.C. - Silver Bluff won back-to-back Class AA state championships with a blend of quick and talented skill players who could strike for touchdowns from virtually anywhere on the field.
Those Bulldog teams might be a thing of the past, but Silver Bluff got a taste of its own medicine Friday night in a 33-20 win against a speedy Edisto team.
Silver Bluff, ranked No. 3 in the state, put together a pair of time-consuming, 17-play drives to score touchdowns in the first half. Together, those two drives chewed up more than 15 minutes.
"We knew we had to control the ball," Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said. "Those two long drives gave us confidence and kept them off the field."
The Bulldogs (1-1) had their 30-game winning streak snapped in a 23-7 loss at Newberry last week, but they started a new one Friday night. Silver Bluff will face a stern test in its next game when it travels to Abbeville, also a Class AA power.
The Cougars (1-1) were playing their second game in five days. Edisto beat Class AAAA Orangeburg-Wilkinson 19-14 on Monday night in a game that was pushed back by the weather.
Lown singled out the offensive line, which paved the way for nearly 300 yards on the ground, and quarterback Tyrone Smith, who connected on a touchdown pass late in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 19-7 lead at the half.
Lown knows his squad doesn't have the explosive speed of years past, but he pointed out that the Bulldogs have yet to commit a turnover in two games and have kept penalties to a minimum.
"I think it paid off for us tonight," he said of the team's discipline.
Edisto was hit with a number of penalties, including a roughing-the-passer call that gave Silver Bluff a third down midway through the first quarter. The Bulldogs made the most of the opportunity and stretched their lead to 26-13.
The penalty was costly for the Cougars, who could get no closer than six points the rest of the game.
Silver Bluff senior running back De'Angelo Bryant led the rushing attack with 18 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He switched from quarterback to his new position and is being courted by Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and South Carolina State.
"We've been fortunate to have a high-powered offense the last few years," Bryant said. "We're trying to become great."
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.