South Aiken coach Dan Pippin looks at how Silver Bluff walks onto the field and says that's what he wants his program to become.
A team that expects to win every time.
"Every week, they think that," said Pippin, whose squad plays Class AA No. 6 Silver Bluff at 7:30 tonight at home. "You know that when you're playing them, you're playing their tradition too."
It didn't bother the Thoroughbreds (3-1) last season.
With standout running back Rashad Hunter rushing for 176 yards and scoring the final points of the game with a 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter, South Aiken held off Silver Bluff 13-12 for its first win against the Bulldogs since 1994.
"That was huge," he said. "That was a huge stepping stone for our program. That was a magical time for us. That was when people took notice of this team."
Tonight he wants to make sure last year's squeaker wasn't a fluke.
The Thoroughbreds have to battle some Silver Bluff (2-2) ghosts to do it.
"I don't know if it's a confidence (from last year's win)," Pippin said. "The thing I worry about is that our kids will think they're playing (former stars) Troy Williamson and Marcus Lawrence and all those guys in the NFL. We need to forget about them and focus on the people who are on the field."
YOUTH GONE WILD: Even though Blackville-Hilda, ranked No. 4 in Class A, has won its past two games by a combined 87-0, coach David Berry isn't content.
"We're playing well, but we're still making young mistakes because we have young kids without varsity experience," Berry said. "We've got to correct them, because those mistakes will get you at crunch time."
What hasn't been a mistake is the Fighting Hawks' running game.
Running backs Tharry Salley, Marcus Allen and Tyrone Williams have combined to rush for 845 yards and 13 touchdowns this season to lead Blackville-Hilda, which plays at Swansea at 7:30 tonight.
"The ball is shared around, and they try to complement one another," Berry said. "It's given us so much more of a team effort."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.