VIDEO: Heritage trash turns to treasure for Bluffton Bobcats

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comApril 13, 2012 

A few months ago, the Bluffton High School Bobcats were on top of the world, 14-0 and playing in Clemson's Death Valley for a state football championship.

Now they're picking up trash and hauling garbage.

The team works from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., or however long it takes, to empty every trash and recycling bin at the Harbour Town Golf Links -- all day, every day, over and over again Monday through Sunday.

It's the least glamorous job at the $5.7 million RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

That's the way head coach Ken Cribb likes it.

"I always preach that we outwork everyone we play," he said. "This is a perfect example."

Where other people see empty beer cans and half-eaten hot dogs, Cribb sees pride, work ethic and character.

Where other kids see "spring break" on the school calendar, the football players see, "Meet at the school at 7 a.m."

They load into three vans for the trek to the south end of Hilton Head Island and the opportunity to be subservient while everyone else is partying.

This is the fourth year the team has performed the nasty chore for the Heritage Classic Foundation, which conducts the tournament. Bobcats defensive coordinator John Houpt secured the job for the team. The foundation pays the team and provides the vans. The proceeds go to uniforms, technical equipment, footballs or whatever the team needs.

In Cribb's two seasons, the Bobcats have gone 26-3. One of those losses came in the Class 3-A Lower State championship game, another in the state title game.

Trash at the Heritage has a lot to do with it.

At the tournament, it's all for one and one for all.

It's a shared experience, shared labor, maybe even shared embarrassment.

It all adds up to shared pride.

The players come dressed neatly in khaki pants and green shirts.

They come as equals, from the fourth-string tackle to star quarterback C.J. Frazier.

They are told to show their best manners.

They want their self-discipline to reflect well on the Bluffton community, which supports the team on Friday nights and contributed to a new athletic weight room a year ago.

Cribb also wants them to see successful people at the tournament, particularly the athletes.

Pro golfers show the Bluffton boys the training and discipline it takes to rise to the top.

"They see athletes who are prepared physically and mentally," Cribb said. "You MUST prepare. You MUST train. You MUST concentrate on every play. It's the same in football. In our state championship game, they ran two punts back on us."

On Sunday evening, long after the crowd has left, the Bluffton Bobcats will be hard at work, turning trash into treasure.

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