• Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It’s football season’s Grand Finale.
It’s playoff time.
This is like Christmas in October, where teams can salvage what has been a frustrating season so far and everybody starts over 0-0.
It’s third chance time and no one can complain about the “One and Done,” mentality now.
You either win or go home, and in the end, there can be only one.
This is Darwinism at its finest, or at least a new ‘Highlander’ film.
The Berkeley Stags have lived to play another Friday by beating Hilton Head 51-32 on Thursday night.
While their 4-6 mark is a half game better than last season’s mark, which culminated in a dismal 41-7 first round loss to Socastee in the Class AAA playoffs, there’s cause for better optimism going into this year’s playoffs.
Contrary to some public opinion, the Stags are a better football team than a year ago. They are winners of three in a row, the last two games against decent football teams. They tore it up against Hilton Head to secure the second seed out of Region 8AAA.
It was either win or go home for the Stags and they won.
Twice.
If not for two plays in the Cane Bay and Manning games and Berkeley stands 6-4 instead of 4-6 and all is forgiven among most Stags fans.
The others you just have to cut loose like the Eskimos do grandma on an ice flow.
So, what do the nay-sayers have to say now?
Berkeley has won three in a row.
They beat a good Hilton Head team with a premier D1 recruit in Michael Julian.
They posted a big crooked number, 51, on the scoreboard, a number not seen since 2009.
Running back Ezekiel Jenkins and his 323 yards of total offense and 3 touchdowns were “Ellingtonesque.” Take your pick, Bruce or Andre.
What more do you want?
These Stags are learning how to win.
Like wine you have to give these guys time to mature. The Stags will field a team stacked with 40 seniors next fall. You rush the wine and you’re drinking something akin to Mad Dog 20/20 with a screw-on cap.
The Baltimore Ravens won a Super Bowl a few years back based on their defense. So did the Green Bay Packers once upon a time.
Some football guru once uttered the phrase that while offense may win games, defense wins championships. You can’t average 50 points a game every year.
The Stags have an outstanding defense and it starts with their front four, highlighted by book end defensive ends Cyrus Pinckney and Jejuan Jefferson. The Stags punt and kickoff return special teams are lethal with Asanti Dantzler, Dee Harley, and Josh Sellers all with touchdown returns this year.
While unconventional, those are free points.
Only a fool scoffs at those, and it’s funny, you find more than a few fools watching football games that don’t know much about football. Einstein said insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I would suggest perhaps finding something else to do to occupy your Friday nights if this is the case.
The Stags are in the playoffs.
That was their goal at the start of the 2012 season.
They accomplished that goal.
They are the second seed in a strong Region 8AAA.
What more can you ask for?
Come on.
Say something nice.
I double-dog dare you.


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