High School Sports

Beaufort High football team keeps focus on routine

Spectators at Wednesday's Beaufort High School football practice were few.

Two men looked on from a John Deere utility cart. Eagles baseball coach Brook Dixon and his 10-year-old yellow labrador retriever watched from just outside the black fence.

But that was it. The calm before the storm.

The Eagles' practice field protects them from much outside intrusion. On Friday, when the Summerville Green Wave visit for a game that should decide the Region 8-AAAA title, expect more of a frenzy over at Eagles Stadium.

Beaufort High's players and coaches expect as much, which is why they stressed the importance of routine Wednesday.

"They know what time they're going to be here, know what to do, know what time practice is going to happen and what time it's over," Eagles coach Mark Clifford said. "Whatever happens during the day, whenever they come here, it's all routine. They know how important this game is."

Beaufort High (8-1, 2-1 Region 8-AAAA) last beat Summerville in 2005, the second of two consecutive victories for the Eagles. Both years Clifford's teams won region titles.

The same is on the line Friday. The Green Wave, 8-1 on the season and 2-1 in region play, would win the Region 8-AAAA title with a victory Friday. Beaufort High would need a win and a Fort Dorchester loss to Ashley Ridge the following week.

Beaufort High players are trying to push the scenarios aside and do what's best for their chances.

"We're not really too worried about it," Eagles quarterback Beau Brown said. "We're really more focused on the season ahead of us. We still got a tough game this week, a tough game next week and then going into the playoffs. We're just trying to focus on just winning ball games. That's our biggest thing, just come out with a win."

To do that, the Eagles will have to overcome not only the distractions over region finishes and playoff seedings, but also the lore. Summerville, with its 10 state titles and John McKissick, the winningest high school football coach in the country, presents a striking image.

And the Green Wave will be ready to play, Beaufort High coaches preached to their players this week.

"We got to come prepared on Friday," Eagles linebacker Maliek Maldonado said. "They will come prepared. They're a good power football team. We haven't really seen that all year."

Maldonado and the rest of Beaufort High's defense have worked this week to prepare for the Green Wave's spread attack and I-formations. The spread is similar to what the Eagles faced against James Island, Maldonado said. But the things Summerville does from the "I" will be new.

Offensively, the Eagles should get back running back Josh McPherson. He sat during last week's win over Colleton County while recovering from a groin injury.

Clifford said before the season he felt the Eagles burned all of their offensive plays too soon the season before and that he would like to hold something back for the latter stages this year.

But don't expect much trickery. A new wrinkle could be as simple as throwing the slant more often, Clifford said.

"If something works, you've got to do it," Clifford said. "We've got a little bit different something we're going to do. But you got to do what you do well."