Burned building likely a total loss

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PETTICOAT JUNCTION, S.C. --- Representatives from the Aiken County school district paid a visit to Silver Bluff High School on Tuesday to inspect the damage from a concessions fire that delayed the start of the second half of Silver Bluff's home opener last week against Aiken.

Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said the general consensus seemed to lean toward demolishing the small building completely instead of trying to make repairs.

"It doesn't look like we can do anything but that," he said. "If you look inside there you can see there's not much you can do with it."

The building served as the concessions stand on the visitor's side of the stadium. Lown said considering its location, which is next to the field and in between a storage shed and the visitors' bleachers, the event could have played out much worse. At least two propane tanks were pulled out of the building before the flames engulfed it, and the storage shed about 15 yards away contained gasoline, paint and other equipment.

"We were fortunate that no one was hurt. We really did avoid a major disaster," Lown said. "We had as good of an outcome as we could have had."

Silver Bluff will play at South Aiken this week, and Lown said a temporary concessions stand will be in place by the next home game.

BACK TO BASICS : Aiken won't play Friday night thanks to a bye week, but the Hornets couldn't afford to take a "light week," according to coach Carey Johnson .

"It's all fundamentals this week," Johnson said. "The kids are playing hard, but we're making mistakes at the fundamental level, and we can't have that."

Aiken (2-1) has made a bad habit of starting games slowly. It fell behind 17-0 at South Aiken before waking up late in the second quarter in a 27-17 victory. The Hornets also had to come back from a 14-0 deficit at Silver Bluff on Friday. They tied the game but lost in the fifth overtime.

"We need to start getting ahead early, instead of going out and falling behind and getting in the game later on," quarterback Billy Vickers said. "I made some mistakes that put us back in the South Aiken game. Silver Bluff -- they're just a good team. They're really athletic."

Aiken will return to action next week at home against Boiling Springs.

MEASURING STICK : North Augusta coach Dan Pippin didn't need to check the ticket sales from last week's home opener vs. South Aiken to tell there was a large turnout.

He used his own unorthodox measuring stick -- the southeast corner of the home bleachers.

"When that corner gets full, we know we've packed the stadium," said Pippin, whose team plays host to Strom Thurmond this Friday. "It wasn't completely full, but it was getting there. That's a good sign."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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