High School Sports

None bigger for Bobcats

Dave Adams never misses a football game at Bobcat Stadium. He has traveled to nearly all of Bluffton High School's road games, as well.

For the first three years of the school's existence, his view was from the sidelines, where he coached the team through 2006. In the four years since, he has remained a critical part of the football program while serving as Bluffton's athletics director.

He's seen the highs, though they may have been few and far between. He's felt the lows.

Nothing, he says, will rival Friday night.

The undefeated Bobcats are set to host Berkeley at 7:30 p.m. with a chance to clinch their first Region 7-AAA title while also ensuring themselves a home playoff game for the first time in school history.

"Naturally, I think the first time we played Hilton Head (High) was probably the biggest game we ever had," Adams said. "This one overshadows it. When you think about what it could mean if we won, this is the biggest game this school has ever seen."

The opponent, of course, has a lot to do with Friday's implications. After winning the Class 4-A Division II state championship last season, Berkeley was widely considered the heavy favorite to win Region 7-AAA after dropping down to Class 3-A this year.

Although the Bobcats have begun the season 8-0 in Ken Cribb's first year as coach, few have changed their mindset. The Stags have cruised through the first three region contests and enter the game with a 6-2 overall record after playing a difficult out-of-region schedule.

Still, Cribb promises his team will be ready.

"I think it's going to be crazy -- it's going to be a championship atmosphere," Cribb said. "My kids will respond. I really think they're going to step up to the plate and compete. These kids won't freeze. They're going to leave it all on the field."

With a Region 7-AAA championship on the line Friday against Berkeley, the consensus at Bluffton High School is that Friday's game is the biggest football game in school history in terms of impact. Read on as reporters Sam McDowell and Justin Jarrett break down the rest of the top 10.

2. Bluffton begins football rivalry with Hilton Head High -- Oct. 27, 2006

In the inaugural Bridge Bowl, the Seahawks take down Bluffton, 10-0, in sloppy conditions at Bobcat Stadium.

The game brings in more than $17,000 in gate revenue, which remains the largest in school history.

Hilton Head High kicker Michael Boher breaks a scoreless tie with a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Cavin Sunkins scores the only touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run to close out the victory.

Bluffton is unable to find the proper footing on the muddy field and manages only four rushing yards.

3. Bluffton football program holds opening night -- Aug. 20, 2004

Bluffton's football team takes the field for the first time in school history. The game, however, ends on a sour note when Jasper County escapes with a 16-6 win against the Bobcats, who go on to finish the year 0-9.

Jason Grant scores the first touchdown in school history on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter, but it's all the points the Bobcats can muster in the loss.

4. Bobcats taste first victory -- Aug. 19, 2005

It takes more than a year, but Bluffton captures its first program victory with a 15-6 win against Jasper County to open the 2005 season.

Running back A.J. Kinlaw scores two touchdowns, one on a 15-yard run and the other on a 34-yard pass from Adam Schultz. Fellow back Antwon Pinckney rushes for 96 yards.

The team soaks coach Dave Adams in Gatorade to celebrate the victory.

5. Bluffton plays in first playoff game -- Nov. 4, 2005

The second-year Bobcats again make school history by traveling to Marion for the team's first ever playoff game. The Swamp Foxes send Bluffton back home with a 23-6 defeat.

But not all is lost for the Bobcats, who follow up a winless season with a 4-7 record. Adam Schultz scores the team's lone touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.

6. Bobcats (finally) beat Hilton Head High -- Aug. 21, 2010

In a game that running back Desmond Jenkins says "lifted an elephant off a little kid's back," the Bobcats run wild at Hilton Head High and claim their first victory against their rivals, a 39-0 blowout.

Jenkins totals 174 yards and three touchdowns to earn Ken Cribb a victory in his opening game as the Bobcats coach. Cribb's new Wing-T offense rushes for 214 yards, while the defense holds Hilton Head High to minus-7 total yards.

7. Dave Adams coaches his final game -- Nov. 3, 2006

Bluffton returns to the playoffs for a second consecutive year but again comes up empty, falling 14-7 at No. 1 seed North Myrtle Beach.

The offense fails to score a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game -- Nick Shappee provides the only score on a 58-yard interception return.

Dave Adams, the only coach in Bluffton's short history, later announces he will retire as the school's football coach.

8. The Jeremy West era begins -- Aug. 17, 2007

Dave Adams' decision to step down paves the way for the second coach in school history -- Jeremy West, a defensive coordinator from North Augusta. Thomas Heyward gives the Bobcats a scare in West's debut, but the Bobcats hang on for a 21-13 win at Bobcat Stadium.

Both players in the Bobcats' one-two running back punch of Timmy Smith and Zack Frazier score touchdowns to avoid the upset.

9. Bluffton clinches first postseason berth -- Oct. 28, 2005

The Bobcats clinch the school's first playoff spot with a 20-6 win at North Charleston. Bluffton turns a defensive battle to its favor with two touchdowns in the third quarter and another in the fourth to upend the Cougars and claim the No. 3 seed out of Region 8-AAA.

Bennie Mitchell scores two touchdowns, and A.J. Kinlaw adds one. Eugene Francis, Herman Fuqua, Nick Shappee and Matthew Mitchell each intercept passes.

10. Seahawks knock off Bobcats with playoffs on the line -- Oct. 26, 2007

Hilton Head High wins Round 2 of the Bridge Bowl, and it cripples Bluffton's hopes of reaching the postseason. The host Seahawks win 27-15.

Bluffton enters the night knowing it's been put in an all-or-nothing situation. With a win, the Bobcats could have clinched the No. 2 seed in the region and hosted their first playoff game. The loss, however, officially ends their season.

DAVE ADAMS' TAKE

Dave Adams coached Bluffton High School for three years while also serving as the school's athletics director. He stepped down as the football coach following the 2006 season but has remained the only athletics director in school history. Here are his top 10 games in program history.

1. Berkeley visits Bluffton with region title on the line -- Oct. 22, 2010

2. Bluffton begins football rivalry with Hilton Head High -- Oct. 27, 2006

3. Bluffton football program holds opening night -- Aug. 20, 2004

4. Bobcats (finally) beat Hilton Head High -- Aug. 21, 2010

5. Bobcats taste first victory -- Aug. 19, 2005

6. Bluffton plays in first playoff game -- Nov. 4, 2005

7. Dave Adams coaches his final game -- Nov. 3, 2006

8. Bobcats host Beaufort High in first home game -- Sept. 2, 2004

9. Bluffton clinches first postseason berth -- Oct. 28, 2005

10. Bobcats defeat Jenkins, move to 3-0 -- Sept. 1, 2006

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