The "must-win" label might be overused, but Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman felt it appropriate for the start of the season Thursday.
The Dolphins had not won a game since October 2009. And Estill provided a good opportunity to flush the streak at the start of the season.
Battery Creek capitalized, winning 21-16 to improve to 1-0.
"You hate to call the first game of the year a must-win game, but it really was a must-win game for the confidence," said Shuman, who was making his debut as Dolphins coach. "Myself and the coaches and players have seen the hard work we've been putting in and the progress we've been making since spring practice. It's been a steady progression."
Shuman said the Dolphins endured some tough scrimmages and jamborees during the preseason while they worked to nail down a new system. But the outcome was different Thursday.
Battery Creek, playing without an operational scoreboard, fell behind 8-0 early. But Dolphins quarterback Leroy Jennette ran for two touchdowns and Jayron Sneed added another.
Estill scored again after a Battery Creek turnover with about three minutes remaining, but the Dolphins held late, breaking up the Gators desperation pass attempts during the final minute.
Battery Creek is above .500 for the first time since the 2009 opener, when it defeated a Wade Hampton team coached by Shuman. Next for the Dolphins is rival Beaufort High School, which defeated Hilton Head High 54-0 last week.
Coaches traded film Friday after the short week. But before turning their focus to the Eagles, the Dolphins were able to enjoy breaking down their victory.
"The kids were obviously more than excited to watch the game film with a positive outcome like that," Shuman said.
BEAUFORT HIGH KICKERS KNOW THEIR ROLES
Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford believes the Eagles have two outstanding kickers.
And the only way he knows to be fair to both is to split their roles.
Mitchell Stewart will handle PATs and field goals, and Kyle Clark will kickoff and punt, Clifford decided. The pair saw a lot of action during the team's season-opening 54-0 victory over Hilton Head High.
Stewart was good on a 39-yard attempt and just missed from 52 and 44. Clifford gave Clark an attempt during the fourth quarter, and the senior was good from 32 yards. Stewart converted 6 of 7 PAT attempts, and Clark booted all but two kickoffs for touchbacks.
"They're both exceptional," Clifford said. "It was good practice (against the Seahawks), because we're going to have to use them. They're a weapon. You've got a horse like that, you've got to ride them."
The kickers have fun with their duties. Often on their own during practice, the team stops during Thursday's workouts to watch a field goal challenge. The drill starts at the 25-yard line and continues back from there, with the kickers alternating attempts.
Both were good from 50 yards last week, Clifford said.
BOBCATS ENJOYING NEW LOOK, NEW WEAPONS
After setting a school record for scoring a year ago, it seemed crazy to think Bluffton High School's offense might be even better in 2011. But after 136 points in two games, it seems the Bobcats will make a run at topping last year's prolific output.
The team returned most of its stars at the skill positions and added two new weapons in former Ridgeland High School running back Jerry Scott and former Hilton Head Prep receiver Dimitri Lowry, giving quarterback C.J. Frazier plenty of options.
"It's easy on my part," Frazier siad. "I just put it up, and they make great catches all night."
Lowry and Scott have quickly adjusted to playing in a new offense. Lowry has six catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and Scott leads the team with seven catches, 240 total yards and five touchdowns.
"It doesn't come easily," Lowry said. "It's practicing during the hot summer and practicing hard before practice and after practice. We throw a little extra just to get on the same page. ... It's pretty good, but it can get better."
BLUFFTON TICKETS ON SALE AROUND TOWN
Fans who are tired of waiting in long lines to get into Bluffton High School home games can buy advance tickets at two locations for the remainder of the season.
Tickets for all Bobcats home games will be on sale for $6 at Moe's and Bluffton Pharmacy. Fans who have purchased advanced tickets can skip the ticket line and head straight to the pass gate.