Bluffton coach Ken Cribb doesn't hide how he feels about tonight's game at Summerville.
"It's huge," Cribb said. "The kids are excited for the opportunity. It's the biggest game of our existence."
One could argue that last year's Class 3-A state championship loss to South Pointe was bigger, but there's no doubt this one is big.
In the first season in Class 4-A for the Bobcats (10-0), they face the Green Wave (6-4) with the Region 8-AAAA championship on the line.
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A Bluffton win likely would mean a No. 4 or 5 seed and a home playoff game, Cribb said. A loss and Bluffton likely would draw an 8 or 9 seed, meaning the Bobcats would have to wait and see if they would be at home.
Despite the move up in classification and the loss of a lot of talent to graduation, it's a game Cribb expected to be in.
"Yeah, we were hoping to be here," Cribb said. "We had a lot of returning experience from big games. Even though we lost some key players, our young guys have done what I hoped they'd do. It's just been a lot of fun coaching these kids. We have gotten better and better and better."
While he knows his team is good, Cribb believes the Bobcats as a whole might be greater than the sum of their parts.
"I think we think we're better than we are," Cribb said. "I'm not saying we're not good. These players are talented. But I look at my guys in their street clothes and then I see them between the lines, and I have to admit, I'm impressed. That's a compliment."
Cribb says he's not fooled by Summerville's 6-4 record. Despite a slow start, the Green Wave is peaking at the right time and he expects an exciting championship atmosphere tonight.
"They're traditional Summerville," Cribb said. "They have great size, they're very well coached, they're very deliberate, they've won four in a row and they've cut down on their mistakes."
Bluffton, as well, appears to have righted the ship after a late-season stretch that saw the Bobcats struggle in a couple of region contests.
"Three games ago at Ashley Ridge, they were the defending region champions," Cribb said. "I knew it was going to be a dogfight. Nothing surprises me at all. Then, Fort D was very physical, two turnovers led to two touchdowns and we made a ton of mistakes. To do that and come away with a victory, I'm very grateful. Last week, we got back on track and played a very good game.
"We're peaking at the right time, and I feel good about our game plan."
Win or lose, Cribb admits he is just gad he doesn't have to play at Summerville with John McKissick's 600th win on the line. The legendary coach took care of that last week against Ashley Ridge.
"I think somebody got a little video of me dancing a little jig," Cribb joked. "It's tough enough to play in Summerville."