The field at Dolphin Stadium emptied within 20 minutes following the game Friday night, with only Battery Creek players and coaches left on the field.
An emotional scene played out there. Coaches charged players not to give up. Players challenged other players.
The reshaping process hasn't proved easy for Battery Creek since its opening-week victory. But the Dolphins are trying to develop a tougher response to losing than in the past.
The Dolphins, adapting to a new coaching staff and system and trying to leave the past behind, endured another tough night Friday against a non-region opponent. Class 4-A Carolina Forest utilized standout running back Harold Atkinson and capitalized on Battery Creek's turnovers en route to a 48-0 victory.
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"I've been here, I've felt those losses," senior lineman David Ratliff told his teammates after the game. "I don't want to feel that. The second you hang your head, you've lost."
Atkinson, courted by several major NCAA Division I programs, rolled up almost 200 yards during the first half and found the toss sweep open much of the night. He rushed for three touchdowns.
"He does this about every week," said Carolina Forest coach Drew Hummel, whose team improved to 3-1 after traveling nearly four hours from the Myrtle Beach area. "He's big and powerful and can do a lot of good things."
Hummel said he knew the Dolphins had a new coaching staff and that Battery Creek was trying to establish a new identity. He said he could tell from watching film that the Panthers' opponent was playing hard.
And that's why he wanted to strike early and often.
"They play hard and want to win," Hummel said. "But there's still that doubt in their minds that they can get it done. It was real important that we didn't allow that to take charge of the game."
Battery Creek (1-2) moved the ball on the ground early and was in the game after the first quarter. But the Dolphins' momentum was halted by several turnovers.
The Dolphins muffed a punt and had to cover, fumbled the ball away inside the Carolina Forest 20-yard line and had a pass intercepted inside Panthers' territory.
Frustration set in when the Panthers scored on a long, fourth-down pass with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
But coach Jim Shuman remained encouraged. Battery Creek's defense showed promise, with Willie Doe stopping Atkinson in the backfield for a 5-yard loss and the Dolphins forcing five fumbles during the first half.
The Dolphins have two more games to work before the Region 7-AAA schedule begins. They travel to Edisto next week.
"We look forward to good things," Shuman said. "Going into region, we could still be 3-2."