Friday, July 25, 2014
The Timberland football team does not like to put the cart before any horses when talking about beating Dillon in 2014.
There is a 10-game regular season and three rounds of the playoffs to get through first.
But the Wolves have played Dillon every year for the past nine. In 2014, unlike any other season since Timberland returned to Class AA in 2008, the Wolves are taking some proactive steps to prepare for that potential Lower State Finals showdown.
Timberland’s record against Dillon stands at 1-6 since the Wolves’ return to Class AA.
Gone are Manning and C.E. Murray from the 2014 THS schedule. In their place stands Crestwood and former state champion Bishop England.
“We have to pick up a tougher schedule if we are to have any chance of beating Dillon,” said Timberland Coach Art Craig. “We have to get ready as a team and the only way to prepare for a team like Dillon is to compete.”
Crestwood finished with a 9-4 record out of Region 6AAA and fell to eventual state champ Myrtle Beach in the first round of the AAA playoffs.
The Battling Bishops, Region 7AA champs in 2011, the year both Bishop England and Timberland took state titles when Class AA split into two divisions, finished with a 9-3 mark in 2013. The Bishops lost to Bamberg-Ehrhardt in the playoffs.
Throw in tilts with Hanahan, Berkeley and Cross and Timberland faces a tough schedule leading up to Region 7AA play.
“Hanahan and Berkeley, Cross and Bishop England, I’ll put our pre-region schedule up against anybody’s,” Craig said.
Craig has changed things up from the status quo of the last few years, deleting the Week 0 game and agreeing to play in the Sertoma Classic. The scheduling move also eliminates the Wolves’ bye week before playing Berkeley.
“We had a scheduling opportunity and decided to change things up a little this year,” he said. “So we decided to play in Sertoma.
“We’re the kind of team that needs to play the week before playing Berkeley. The bye week didn’t do us any favors the past two years.”
Timberland is in the middle of a two-game losing streak to Berkeley. The Wolves self-destructed in both contents.
“You can’t turn the ball over ten times in a game and expect to beat a team like Berkeley,” Craig said following his team’s 21-20 loss in 2012.
The Timberland - Berkeley rivlary stands at 2-2 since the two schools resumed play in 2010.
The Stags made it two in a row with a 31-12 win in 2013 that saw Timberland turn the ball over six times.
In 2011, the year THS won its state title, the Wolves rocked Berkeley 41-0. In 2010, THS beat the Stags for the first time in the school’s history, 24-21.
Playing the week before their Sept. 26 matchup with Berkeley will keep his team sharp, Craig said. It has long been a Timberland philosophy to worry about business on their side of the field first.
“We have to play our style of Timberland football and worry about ourselves,” Craig said.
After scrimmaging Stratford for two quarters in the Sertoma Classic, Timberland opens its season with Hanahan on Sept. 29.