Stephen Aldred sweated his team's injuries Tuesday and wasn't looking forward to a lengthy bus ride later in the week.
The Beaufort High School boys soccer coach will only have to worry about one.
The host Eagles defeated Cane Bay on Tuesday, 3-0, after a slow start to open the Class 4-A Lower State playoffs. They lost defender James Cato and midfielder Brandon Videtto to injuries but received some good news after the game, learning No. 4 seed Lexington had beaten top-seed South Florence.
Instead of the bus ride, Beaufort High will host Lexington on Thursday in the second round. The Eagles will wait and see if they will have two important pieces back in the lineup.
Cato injured his ankle during the first half Tuesday and did not return. Videtto is battling a sore hamstring.
"It was hard to put two players in and compete," Aldred said. "That was the hardest part. We don't have depth on this squad."
But the Eagles showed they had players who could come off the bench and deliver, as sophomore Prescott Hendrick did with his cherry-on-top goal in stoppage time. Three different Eagles scored, none from senior Josh Vellucci, who leads the team in scoring.
Santee Rabon scored his 14th goal of the season, out-running two defenders for a ball down the right side in the 52nd minute. The goal broke the tension for Beaufort High, which attacked fast to start the game, but couldn't punch one in and sweated a scoreless half.
"Everybody was giving it up in the middle, giving it up out wide," goalkeeper Willie Mack Stansell said. "There was not a lot of communication. We couldn't get anything going ... Once we got that goal in the second half, it was a huge relief."
Cane Bay, in its first season in 4-A and the No. 3 seed from Region 7, finished 7-10. Coach Michael Burris said the Cobras expected the Eagles' aggressive start and worked to keep them from getting out wide, to shut down the angles.
With Beaufort High on the offensive, Cane Bay never successfully attacked at the other end. The Eagles took 14 shots to the Cobras' two.
"We couldn't get it beyond their defense," Burris said. "We couldn't get it to finish. If we had put one in early, who knows what it would have been? Probably a really good game."
Beaufort High improved to 13-8 and will host Lexington, which improved to 13-9-1 on Tuesday. The Eagles said Wednesday's practice would be key in developing chemistry with new players asked to step in for the injured, if Cato and Videtto can't go.
"We know how they play," Stansell said. "We know what their weaknesses are, what their strengths are. We've adapted to that. Having somebody else come in, we have to change our whole view of how we're playing. It can be hard, but if we work and sort it all out and make sure everything goes well, we should be fine."
Beaufort High 3, Cane Bay 0
Goals: Santee Rabon, Josh Gutierrez, Prescott Hendrick