A new buzz word among college football analysts is "complementary football." It refers to the offense and defense of a team assisting the other - the offense not putting the defense in bad positions and the defense giving the offense scoring opportunities.
Last Friday night, the Marlboro County football team played complementary football for the first time since opening night. The result was a convincing win.
"That is definitely what we are aiming for - a ball-hogging offense that doesn't turn it over and a defense that gets the opponent to punt or turn it over quickly," said head coach Bobby Collins.
"If you can do that, it surely puts you in a position to win. We still have lots of work to do, but that's what it is supposed to be like," he said.
While playing Darlington was just what the doctor ordered, this week's opponent will be a stern test.
"Wilson likes to go fast and score a lot of points. The way to combat that is to control the ball. If we can do that, we'll have a chance," said Collins.
With the win over Darlington, the Bulldogs are more than alive for a playoff bid.
In fact, if they can pull off an upset against Wilson, the Bulldogs would claim third place in the region and a guaranteed ticket to the postseason. This assumes struggling North Myrtle Beach does not upset Myrtle Beach or Darlington can't shock Hartsville.
If the Bulldogs can't get by the Tigers (and Darlington and NMB fall), Marlboro County will finish in a three-way tie for fourth place.
Unfortunately, North Myrtle wins the tie-breaker by giving up only 17 points to the other two teams in the tie. Marlboro County would take fifth place and Darlington would be last.
Three teams are selected for at-large playoff bids from Regions 4, 5, 6 and 7. Looking at the standings for those conferences, Marlboro County's 2-8 record would be just as good as any of the other candidates.
Those selections won't be solidified until Saturday.
If the Bulldogs are not invited to the playoffs, it will be the first time since 2003 that the team has not participated in the postseason.
Marlboro County High will be recognizing its senior football players, cheerleaders and band members during halftime.
Also, the Bulldogs will be celebrating younger football players in the county. Any youth wearing their middle school or recreation department football jersey will be admitted free to the game.
They will also be invited down to the field during pre-game ceremonies.
Scouting the Tigers
Two weeks ago, Wilson was riding high. The Tigers were undefeated and slicing through opponents like they were made of warm butter.
However, Hartsville provided Wilson with a reality check. The Red Foxes smashed their way to a 55-13 win, crushing the Tigers in every facet of the game.
On offense, the Tigers managed just 224 yards of offense, including a 64-yard trick play.
Last Thursday, Wilson led top-ranked Myrtle Beach 24-14 at halftime. The Seahawks outscored them 29-6 in the second half, however.
Now, the best the Tigers can hope for is a third-place finish in the region.
Junior quarterback Zayshaun Rice leads the prolific offense. Rice has 1954 yards through the air with 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He is also second on the team with 467 yards rushing.
Senior Jakobe Quillen is his favorite target. The highly-recruited wide receiver has 757 yards and 11 touchdowns. Yarvin Smith (353 yards, 3 TDs) and Ji'travious Sherrills (255 yards, 2 TDs) are other standout receivers.
Junior Chris Austin is the team's leading rusher with 492 yards and three touchdowns.
Linebacker Kalib Jones and safety Timothy Robinson lead the defense in tackles. Lineman Shamaree Timmons and safety Ahmad Bowman are also top defenders.
Keys to the game
Wilson's offense is similar to Myrtle Beach's, in both scheme and success. The Bulldogs struggled to contain the Seahawks, so they'll need a much better outing.
On offense, the Bulldogs will need to pick up where they left off against Darlington. They were effective running and passing and committed no turnovers.
Tee it up
The Bulldogs and Tigers will kick off the regular season finale at McAlpine Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.