The aftermath of the dominating performance by the Marlboro County Bulldogs over the Cheraw Braves (46-0) this past Friday night will forever linger in the minds of the die-hard Braves’ fans.
However, fans can find solace in the fact that the “best is yet to come” from this corp of players.
Coach Johnny White purposely scheduled the non-conference games with the intent of developing the mental and physical toughness of his team for conference play. By the time conference play rolls around, fans will look back at this game as the turning point of the season.
Yes, the Braves were a little undermatched in the contest and would have needed an extraordinary performance to have a legitimate chance of winning against the Bulldogs. The coaches prepared well and the players were motivated, but this was simply a case of the Braves being overmatched in talent. The Bulldogs are a top ten team in the AAA class and they were able to capitalize on the athleticism of their quarterback — Xavier Adams — as well as their running backs and receivers. The play from these skill positions were aided by the strength and size of their offensive and defensive lines.
The Braves protected the ball and actually held an advantage in time of possession in the first half of play. Nevertheless, several big plays and a couple of quick strike opportunities by the Bulldogs in the first quarter led to an early Bulldog advantage of 14-0 and the demise of the Braves.
In spite of the lopsided defeat, the Braves demonstrated toughness and a willingness of refusing to quit until the final second of the game clock. This grittiness in the eye of defeat will only serve to help the Braves improve. It is unlikely that the Braves will face another team this season who will be as good as the Bulldogs were on Friday night.
Life teaches us that the lessons learned in the midst of disappointment tend to better equip us for future successes more than the lessons learned from the thrill of victory. Expect the Braves to adapt, adjust, and find ways to overcome the setback to the Bulldogs.
The Braves are off this week and suit up again on Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. against the Swamp Foxes of Marion. The game will be played in Marion. Coach White invites all of the Braves’ fans to come out and cheer the Braves to victory.