The First Baptist locker room was nearly moved to tears before the Hurricanes got on the bus.
It’d been a trying week. A couple of the Hurricanes are in the hospital. A couple had deaths in the family. A few more were injured, unable to suit up. Six starters were missing in all. The captains carried their jerseys to midfield before kickoff.
A slot receiver was playing linebacker. A tight end had to change his jersey number to move to tackle. You would never know, though, judging by the final score, how much was pieced together.
First Baptist blew past Burke, 56-16, Friday in West Ashley. The Hurricanes improve to 3-0 with Wilson Hall visiting next week.
“You have to remember these are kids,” First Baptist head coach Johnny Waters said. “Everything we had going on this week, we wore it. I’m just so proud of the way they’ve handled everything.”
Hurricanes eighth-grader Davian Brown received the first start of his career and finished with a career-high 90 rushing yards, averaging 7.5 per carry, with three touchdowns. Brown also scooped a blocked punt and returned it 10 yards for another score.
“He’s just playing so well right now,” Waters said. “He’s a hardnosed kid. You can’t bring him down. And he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, getting better and better each rep.”
Hurricanes junior quarterback Will Daniel completed 6 of 8 pass attempts for 144 yards and three touchdowns. App State commit Sincere Brown pulled in three catches for 64 yards and a score. McKay Wilson added two grabs for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
First Baptist led 14-0 by the end of the first quarter. Burke responded with two scores in the second quarter to pull within 21-16 by halftime.
First Baptist outscored Burke 35-0 in the second half. The Hurricanes defense allowed 174 rushing yards in the opening half and just 38 in the second.
“We made some adjustments at halftime. I have to give my coaches a lot of credit. They’re so good at making adjustments,” Waters said. “Burke is much improved. They really are. But I think we started to wear them down some in the second half.”
Sometimes the game is more than a game. It was welcomed relief for the Hurricanes on Friday. A much needed release from the heartache of the week.
The team nearly shed tears before kickoff. They were smiling by the end of it all.