High School Sports

Football success holds back Bluffton's winter sports

Brett Macy considers himself one of the biggest fans of the Bluffton High School football program. But its run through the Class 3-A playoffs isn't exactly helping his team's chances.

Macy's second season as the Bobcats boys basketball coach officially will start Dec. 8 when Bluffton travels to Beaufort High. At the current pace, the Bobcats will be a tad behind schedule.

For three weeks -- and counting -- Macy hasn't even had enough varsity players at practice to field a starting lineup. Only two players attending daily practices -- Bryson Bell and Brandon Rivers -- got playing time for the Bobcats last season.

The rest of the Bobcats' core group is occupied with the most successful football season in Bluffton school history. That group will be in football uniforms again Friday night when the Bobcats host Myrtle Beach in the Class 3-A Lower State championship.

"No one will be rooting harder for those guys than I am," Macy said. "... I would rather have them winning, because it creates a mentality that we need to have in the basketball program. We need the mentality of winning and them to experience the lesson of how winning feels. You can't teach that."

Even if the Bobcats were to lose Friday night, which is far from a guarantee, the basketball team will have less than two weeks of practice before taking the court at Beaufort High. Macy said he has plans to install new defenses to take advantage of the team's athleticism, but now it appears the players will have to learn them on the fly.

Bluffton's wrestling program has been similarly affected. Coach John Hollman said football players often try out for wrestling at the 11th hour, but with the football season continuing into late November, he isn't sure what to expect in terms of numbers.

Other key wrestlers -- such as C.J. Johnson and Edgar Prada -- are sure to wrestle this season, Hollman, said, but he doesn't anticipate them picking things up right away.

"They will be very far behind," Hollman said. "No amount of football conditioning can even remotely prepare you for the physical demands of wrestling. That's not to knock football, but your legs, your lungs, your conditioning -- none of that compares to six minutes of grinding it out on the wrestling mat."

A bigger issue with wrestlers may be their weight. Per rules of the National Federation of State High School Athletes (NFHS), a wrestler must get his weight certified before taking part in his first competition of the season. The NFHS then will give the wrestler a chart -- based on the wrestler's current weight and body fat, among other factors -- detailing a weekly allowance of weight loss.

With football players often designed to gain strength throughout the season, Hollman said he expects most wrestlers coming over from football to be above their wrestling weight. One option would be to allow them to lose weight before becoming certified by the NFHS.

"It depends on who it is, what our goals for him are and what his individual goals are," Hollman said. "To some of them that have individual goals for the end of the season, by all means, we may hold them out."