This is not as far as the Battery Creek High School football team hopes to go as a program, but it is a start.
The Dolphins rolled past short-handed Burke on Friday, 62-0, to improve to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in Region 6-AA. Battery Creek can finish .500 for a second-consecutive year with a victory at Academic Magnet next week. And another Class 2-A playoff berth waits after the regular season.
The milestones might seem modest, but considering where the program was for several years, the seniors who played what was probably their final home game Friday are pleased.
"It's come a long way," said senior receiver and defensive back Raheem Cooper, nodding to third-year Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman.
Said Shuman: "I can't do it without these seniors working hard. I give a million percent credit to these seniors and their commitment to our program."
After a last-second victory the previous week, Battery Creek enjoyed the cushion against Burke, which fielded only 17 players.
Cooper took the opening kickoff 72 yards for a score. Fellow senior Yuneek Crittendon added two rushing touchdowns and 104 yards in a half of work.
When Shuman swapped out the backfield, Battery Creek continued to move. Sophomore Malik Morgan, a backup quarterback, threw a touchdown pass to Eric Freeman on the final play of the first half.
Junior Raekwon Smalls continued his return from a preseason knee injury, taking snaps at quarterback but also playing running back for the first time this season. He scored on a fourth-quarter run and broke off a 63-yard run during the first half.
"It felt good to be back out there running around," Smalls said.
The Dolphins will try for their third consecutive victory to close the regular season with a 5-5 record.
Last season, Battery Creek won its first playoff game since 2002. The plan was to continue building. Battery Creek wanted to improve on 2012, to finish the regular season above .500.
If the final week plays out as expected, the Dolphins would finish fourth in the region and travel to open the playoffs.
"We know we had some opportunities this past season, we could be sitting here right now already at .500 or better," Shuman said. "Our guys know that. We challenged them to recognize when we go in the playoffs, we're a tough matchup for people."
The Dolphins will have to replace the important pieces who lined up 5 yards apart at halftime on Friday. The Battery Creek seniors helped guide the Dolphins through their transition to Class 2-A.
They closed in front of their home fans in style and allowed a glimpse of younger players coming up.
The Bulldogs converted only six first downs, two in the second half. Battery Creek forced four turnovers.
There is still work to do with this team. The Dolphins committed 130 yards of penalties to Burke's 20. They lost a fumble, threw an interception and muffed a snap when attempting a fourth-down conversion.
But the Dolphins, who have battled injuries throughout the year, remain confident.
"We're getting close to getting back healthy, then we lose one or two more," Shuman said. "We know we can be a good team if we stay strong, especially in our division."
Battery Creek 62, Burke 0
Burke 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Battery Creek 7 29 3 20 -- 62
BC -- Raheem Cooper 72 kick return (Zach Mahan kick) 11:43
BC -- Yuneek Crittendon 33 run (kick failed) 11:50
BC -- Crittendon 4 run (Mahan run) 5:09
BC -- Safety 4:48
BC -- Malik Morgan 10 run (Dalton Bowers kick) 3:01
BC-- Eric Freeman 27 pass from Morgan (kick failed) :00
BC -- Raheem Cooper 35 run (kick failed) 8:09
BC -- Raekwon Smalls 4 run (Reese Bowles kick) 11:18
BC -- Morgan 47 interception return (Bowers kick) 10:25
BC -- Alterell Chatman 2 run (kick failed) 2:40
First Downs 7 13
Rushes-Yards 23-4 34-286
Comp-Att-Int 2-20-2 2-5-1
Passing Yards 17 28
Punts-Avg 3-20 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 3-20 15-230
Third-Down Conv 1-8 2-7
Fourth-Down Conv 1-4 1-3
PASSING: Burke -- Darrell Harley 2-12-1-17, Antonio Godfrey 0-8-1; Battery Creek -- Zach Mahan1-4-1-1, Malik Morgan 1-1-27.
RUSHING: Burke -- Bruce Mitchell 5-66, Ishmael Evans 1-(-4), Harley 2-(-5), Godfrey 2-(-12), Richard McNeil 5-(-7), Rashawn Lowry 8-(-34); Battery Creek -- Yuneek Crittendon 11-104, Raekwon Smalls 4-69, Tyrone Dilbert 8-48, Raheem Cooper 1-35, Alterell Chatman 4-15, Malik Morgan 2-8, Zach Mahan 3-7, Lorenzo Williams 1- (-5).
RECEIVING: Burke -- Evans 1-21, Sidney Robinson 1-(-4); Battery Creek -- Eric Freeman 1-27, Crittendon 1-1.