If it were up to senior Zach Scott, Bluffton High School would have opened the season in this position some eight weeks ago.
Better late then never.
The Bobcats are on top of the S.C. Prep Media Poll this week for the first time in school history. Bluffton is the lone remaining undefeated team in Class 3-A.
The Bobcats are followed in the Class 3-A poll by Myrtle Beach -- the team that bounced them from last year's playoffs in convincing fashion -- South Pointe, Hartsville and Daniel, which defeated last week's No. 1 team, Belton-Honea Path, on Friday night, paving the way for the Bobcats to take over the top spot.
"It's good we're getting the recognition we deserve," senior Zach Scott said. "but we're not letting it get to our heads. We still know we've got Berkeley to beat."
Indeed, the No. 1 ranking comes at an interesting time for the Bobcats, who travel to Berkeley on Friday night with a chance to clinch the Region 7-AAA championship for the second straight year. The Stags handed Bluffton its only loss of the regular season last year, a 26-25 win Berkeley earned when Bluffton missed a potential game-winning two-point conversion in the final minute. The Bobcats still won the region the following week via the region's tiebreaker.
Bobcats coach Ken Cribb said he spoke to his team about the No. 1 ranking Monday, reminding them it can be taken away with one poor performance.
"I've been around long enough to know what rankings mean," Cribb said. "but it's great for the kids, and it's great for the program. They're excited about backing it up."
Following Friday's trip to Berkeley, the Bobcats will travel to Hilton Head High to close out the regular season. They defeated the Seahawks 76-0 in the opening week.
They are on an eight-game winning streak -- best in school history -- and already have clinched a spot in the Class 3-A playoffs, which begin Nov. 4.
Bluffton leads the state with 494 points, and its defense has allowed the second fewest points (91) in Class 3-A through eight games.
"We still got doubters out there, but if we do what we can Friday and beat Berkeley, we'll change the minds of some of the doubters," Scott said.