South Pointe center Dakota Mozingo said the goal of every football team in the state is to play in the Turkey Bowl.
Its a term that has spread and one that has special meaning. The Turkey Bowl is the game on the day after Thanksgiving. If a team makes it to that point, it needs one more win to advance to the state championship.
And practicing on Thanksgiving? No problem. The teams meet early in the morning so the players can get home and eat with their families.
There are two local teams, both familiar faces to the Turkey Bowl, playing Friday night. Northwestern (11-2) hosts Bluffton (12-1). South Pointe (12-1) is home against Greenwood (13-0). The winners advance to the Class AAA Division II state championship next Saturday at noon at USCs Williams-Brice Stadium.
The four teams remaining in the DII playoffs have a recent history, and depending on which teams win, there could be three rematches.
Last year South Pointe and Bluffton were in Class AAA. South Pointe beat Bluffton 42-27 in the title game.
Northwestern beat Greenwood 42-10 in the 2010 DII championship game.
South Pointe and Northwestern met in the 2008 DII title game and the Stallions came away with a 35-17 victory.
But any coach will tell you history is history and that each team is different as far as the players, but they stick to their systems, and there are some intriguing match-ups tonight.
Northwestern and Bluffton are throwing teams. Dont be surprised if the two come near 100 combined passes in a game that should be long.
Trojans quarterback Mason Rudolph has passed for 3,614 yards and 38 touchdowns. His top two receivers are Dupree Hart, 91 catches for 1,117 yards and 17 TDs, and Rontavious McClure, 75 catches for 963 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Bluffton is led by quarterback C.J. Frazier, who has passed for 2,885 yards and 37 TDs. His favorite target is Marquis Webber, with 68 grabs for 1,132 yards and 15 touchdowns. Demetrius Smalls has 60 receptions for 895 yards and 10 TDs.
Greenwood and South Pointe also mirror each other, looking to run first.
Leading the way for the Stallions is tailback C.J. Pendergrass, with 171 attempts for 1,028 yards and 18 TDs. Quarterback Devin Pearson has run for 808 yards and 7 touchdowns on 156 carries. He can also throw, with 1,396 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Greenwoods offense starts with quarterback Evan Sims, who has rushed for 935 yards and 23 TDs and has thrown for 598 yards and 4 scores. His top running back is Octavious Morgan, with 1,090 yards and 15 TDs. The Eagles also have two runners who have each gone over 650 yards and have combined for 14 touchdowns.
Sims suffered a concussion in last weeks win over North Augusta and his status is uncertain. Kaleb Chalmers and Thomas Turner will likely share snaps.
So regardless of which teams win Friday night, a game featuring a passing team versus a running team is assured. Should be interesting, especially for this area, if it comes down to South Pointe and Northwestern again.