The concept is simple: Make one more big play than your opponent, and it could be the difference between winning and losing.
That's the mantra at Silver Bluff this year, and it paid off in a wild 48-45 victory over Aiken on Friday in a game that took five overtime periods to decide.
But in a game that featured more twists and turns than a suspense novel, which play was the one that put the Bulldogs over the hump?
Silver Bluff coach Al Lown didn't have to think about the answer very long.
In the third overtime, with Aiken ahead by 7 and the Bulldogs facing fourth and goal from the 8-yard line, Austin Pollock rifled a touchdown pass to Robert Green to tie the score.
"(Assistant coach) Keith Radford made that call. I was searching for a play," Lown said. "We ran the same play Robert had caught and broke early in the game for a touchdown. It was a great call by coach Radford."
Two possessions later, Kyle Mackey kicked a field goal from 27 yards to end the game.
"I knew we were going to pull it out," said Green, who scored four touchdowns.
Silver Bluff won the game on the field, but Lown points to a summer conditioning program for giving the Bulldogs the will to succeed.
"It was pretty exhausting," he said of the team's running regimen. "We had them timed, and there were penalties if you didn't make it in a certain time."
The conditioning paid off as only one Bulldog -- Green, after his touchdown run in the fourth overtime -- succumbed to cramps.
"To have only one cramp in a game with five overtimes is pretty incredible," Lown said.
Silver Bluff adopted the one-more-play philosophy after a 2008 season that ended with a 15-13 loss to Dillon in the second round of the playoffs. The Bulldogs' other two losses each were by seven points.
Lown acknowledged that his team made several big plays Friday:
- Green and Cordrea Tankersley each scored on long touchdown passes in the first quarter.
- Mackey's booming punt led to an Aiken fumble late in the fourth quarter that put Silver Bluff up by seven.
"It's hard to preach in June and July that it's going to pay off in September, October or November," Lown said. "For us to preach how hard we worked this summer, for that to show up it's a big plus."
It all added up to a win over Aiken, something Silver Bluff hadn't accomplished since 1997. Aiken had won five in a row since the rivalry resumed in 2004 after a break of seven years.
The game brought back memories of Lown's first game as head coach of the Bulldogs. It was 1993, and the opponent was Aiken. The game went into overtime, but Silver Bluff -- like it did Friday -- made one more play.
"We stopped them and coach Radford said 'let's kick it,' " Lown said. "We kicked it and beat them 10-7. That's kind of eerie."
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.