Battery Creek hopes to reach new frontier this week in Class 2-A playoffs

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High School Football

Battery Creek hopes to reach new frontier this week in Class 2-A playoffs

Dolphins trying to reach third round for first time
By STEPHEN FASTENAU
sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2012   |  700 Words  |  

From the lines of Battery Creek High School football players warming up before Tuesday's practice, a voice could be heard over the breeze.

"Big game," someone said. "Big game."

This is a reward of the Dolphins' move to Class 2-A before the season. The Dolphins travel Friday to Loris for the second round of the Class 2-A Division I playoffs.

After fighting bigger and deeper teams for two years, this is as far as any Battery Creek team has been in the postseason, and players are enjoying the ride.

After being off for fall break this past week, the football players returned to school Monday to a better buzz in the halls. The talk from past seasons about what might have happened had Battery Creek retained its previous population has stopped, Dolphins coach Jim Shuman said.

"I think last year was maybe the end of that," Shuman said. "Now, it's kind of like we've regained our identity as a school. People don't think about 'It used to be this way,' because now we are what we are, and that's how we do things. As a school and as an athletic program, I think we've definitely gone beyond that."

Last Friday, the Dolphins won their first playoff game since 2002 -- the program's third postseason victory overall. A win this Friday would send Battery Creek to the third round for the first time.

The Dolphins know the task will be difficult. Loris (7-3) is a solid team, and rested after a bye week. During the regular season, Loris dismantled Waccamaw, the team Battery Creek slipped past in Round 1.

The Lions' defense allows 9.1 points per game while scoring 27 and will be waiting at home while the Dolphins drive four hours to a school north of North Myrtle Beach.

But after what Battery Creek's program has been through, this is an opportunity, and the Dolphins welcome the challenge. So they don't mind the chilly weather that recently settled in the Lowcountry and enjoyed a spirited practice Tuesday, though some wore hooded sweatshirts or long-sleeved T-shirts.

To knock off the Lions, Battery Creek will have to eliminate the turnovers that have plagued it all season, Shuman said. The Lions are better than the teams Battery Creek has escaped.

The Dolphins defeated Waccamaw despite losing three fumbles during the first half.

"After showing them on film a couple weeks, they seem to understand this is what you can't do to make this happen," Shuman said. "They see their problems and they've done a better job. A lot of it comes down to focus. They're worried about making cuts and shifts before they get the handoffs."

The Dolphins' focus on defense will be Loris running back Levi Moody, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and accounted for 14 touchdowns. Loris likes to jump on teams early, outscoring opponents 105-38 during the first quarter.

The Lions run their power sets but also spread the field, as several Dolphins' opponents have done this season.

"We didn't have to do anything new this week," Shuman said. "We just had to revisit some things we'd done in the past."

After a scare during last week's 21-13 victory over Waccamaw, Battery Creek standout Yuneek Crittendon appears ready to contribute, even if in a limited role. Crittendon missed practice Monday but Tuesday participated under close watch, with a brace on his injured right knee and without pads. The Dolphins' standout left Friday's game early in the second half and did not return. Crittendon said Tuesday he was good to go. Shuman said the injury was only a deep bruise, which coaches at first thought might be worse.

Offensive lineman Justin Frazier dislocated a finger before the playoff win over Waccamaw but has not been limited much. And quarterback Raekwon Smalls bruised his shoulder during the victory but is expected to play Friday.