Beaufort coach Mark Clifford tweaked his team’s pregame routine for last week’s Class 4A playoff opener at Lugoff-Elgin, arriving a little later to condense the warmup time.
It paid dividends, with the Eagles mounting long touchdown drives on their first two possessions and adding another before halftime. Everyone was valuable, too, needing a defensive stand to hold off an L-E comeback bid in the final minute.
With the Eagles (8-3) back on the road Friday night to face Chapin, the only thing the coach wants to change is perhaps the anxiety at the end.
“It’s getting to where we’re starting to like being on the road,” Clifford said. “We’re going to try to do the same this week. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play.”
They’ll need to. Chapin (9-2) carries a seven-game winning streak into their second-round matchup, last beaten all the way back on Sept. 9. Those Eagles handled Wilson with ease in their playoff opener, winning 48-14.
Chapin took back last week’s opening kickoff for a touchdown and scored on six of its nine offensive series, coming away with its biggest margin of victory all season.
“They’ve got some pretty good athletes,” Clifford said. “You know we’re going to work on the run, but we’ve gotten a lot of work (this week) on the passing game — both pass defense and executing our own passing attack.”
A ball-control ground game was good enough last week for Beaufort, which divided 303 yards between Omar Cummings, Wyatt Sherpensky and Kyliek Middleton. That helped the Eagles jump out to a 23-0 lead before Lugoff-Elgin began its comeback.
Cummings (ankle) and Sherpensky (knee) suffered minor injuries in the second half, but Clifford said both should be ready to go against Chapin.
“They all can kind of do the same thing,” the coach said. “And we’ve got Logan Atkins, who can probably start for a lot of people. So we’ve got a good little stable in the backfield.”
Clifford also hopes last week’s nail-biting result is a good sign if things go down to the wire again Friday. Seven of Chapin’s 11 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, posting a 6-1 mark in those outings.
A Beaufort victory would send the Eagles to their deepest playoff venture since 2007, when they fell to Clover for the state Class 4A-II championship.