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In a season of firsts, Friday’s a good time for another

I read a lot of stuff.
I have read items where it is obvious the author has absolutely no concept how to correctly use an apostrophe. I have read “contains 100 percent juice” on the front of a bottle only to rotate that same bottle around to the back to shockingly read the first ingredient is “water.”
I also have read quite a few blogs on newspaper web sites. It is the sports ones of those that intrigue me the most.
The sports reporter/blogger/hacker/self-annointed all-knowing athletics guru provides a fact and sometimes factless-based commentary. And then there it is – a reader fires off the initial provoking acknowledgement.
So what is that reader’s response? “FIRST!!!.” Of course.
In the world of blogging, to some it is paramount to be first.
In the world of sports, people do things first on the field of play so they can hopefully be first in the standings at the end of the season.
This Screven County High School varsity football campaign certainly has its share of firsts. Greg Manior was named the new Gamecock head football coach. Manior is the first African-American at SCHS to hold that position.
Jessica Markovcic became the first female to play a snap in a Gamecock regular-season game on Aug. 27, the first contest of 2010. She would become the first girl to score a gridiron point for SCHS when she kicked an extra point in the Tattnall County game a week later.
However, the “first” that Screven County supporters want has yet to happen. They want a “W” and so do the Gamecocks themselves.
Victories have not been easy to latch onto thus far. The closest the Gamecocks have come to a win – points-wise -- was a two-touchdown loss in the opener to Effingham County. In the two weeks that followed, the losses came to a couple more teams who are projected to be playoff contenders.
Last Friday’s opponent Jefferson County is expected to not only make the playoffs, but win the entire region. Jefferson County was 12-1 last season for a reason and this year’s squad also has standout players in key roles. SCHS dropped the contest by 16 points, but if you were in attendance at Kelly Memorial or listened to the game on the radio, you know first-hand that the Gamecocks played without question their best game of the year.
As a unit – the players, coaches, trainers and all the way down to the waterboys – came into the contest with a solid gameplan of utilizing players who could help anywhere possible. The Gamecocks’ leading rusher Rodderick Grace played with passion on offense and defense. Receiver Dylan Davis barely left the field all night as he saw action on defense, special teams and offense. SCHS’s leading tackler Duane Heindel also delivered punishing blows as a running back.
Nigil Campfield, Dandra Williams and Darius Wright also helped the “D.”
The scheme worked, but just not well enough to overtake the powerful Warriors of Jefferson County.
The Gamecocks are now 0-3, but just 0-1 in the all-important region play category.
Scoring one more point than the opposition this Friday night would even up SCHS at 1-1 in the region. With six more region contests on the schedule after this week’s Sept. 17 contest, it is not out of the realm of possibility that SCHS could find itself in the postseason.
Players, you got the Gamecock faithfuls’ attention Friday night with your performance. Now you must continue to listen and adhere to the directions of the coaching staff. Hard work during the week of practice leads to excelled play on Friday nights, inspires more spirit in the stands, and pumps the Gamecock mascot up that he might shake a tail feather and dance.
If the Gamecocks continue to build on how well they played on offense, defense and special teams Sept. 10, they can be in contention for a state playoff spot.
But the postseason opener on Nov. 12 is not tomorrow. There’s plenty of region games between now and that date.
As any ole ball coach would say, “You take them one game at a time.” Yep, you do and this week’s battle has more underlying tones than the Hell’s Angels have tattoos.
Being the wordsmith that I am, I will refer to this game as a “doosey.”
While the Gamecocks have not captured a win this season, their opponent in Brooklet has a pair of victories in three attempts. If you were to compare the talent levels of the three teams SCHS has faced to the trio of competitors Southeast Bulloch has faced, let’s just say they are not on an equal plane.
SEB’s opponents thus far won’t see the playoffs in 2010 unless they buy tickets, while, barring epic meltdowns only teenagers could have, all of SCHS’s foes so far will be in the state playoffs.
On this Friday evening, the SEB sideline will have a familiar face – that of Pat Collins, who has rejuvenated life back into what was a dormant Yellow Jackets’ football program.
After four years at the helm at SCHS, Collins resigned from here last year as he saw the proverbial writing on the wall. Certain decision makers within the local school system had wanted a replacement at the head football coach position. The Gamecocks had fallen short of the playoffs in recent years under Collins, who incidentally as the SCHS athletic director had region-winning success with the other prep sports.
Whether you liked or disliked Collins may be lingering in the minds of some of the Gamecock faithful, but the reality is for 48 minutes on Friday nights any opposition dressed in a different colored uniform is your enemy. Blue, yellow, green, purple – all of those hues are our adversaries.
This week happens to be blue, yellow and gold.
I agree that firsts – no matter what the vernacular -- are vital. However, the most prudent part of firsts is that they lead to seconds.
On Friday night at Fred Shaver Field, about 30 miles from our Kelly Memorial Stadium, the Gamecocks can capture their first triumph in region play and give the Yellow Jackets their second defeat in the region.
A SCHS victory may prompt you into blogging a “FIRST!!!” comment on a web site. In this case, you don’t have to say anything more.

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.