All accounts indicate this week will be a very tough test for our Red Devils when they travel to Abbeville, South Carolina, to face the Abbeville Panthers on Dennis Botts Field at Tommy Hite Stadium.
Abbeville is 3-0 this season and is riding a 25-game regular season win streak. The Panthers were 12-1 last year, losing in the third playoff round, and 11-1 in 2006. That's winning 26 of their last 28, or 29 of their last 32. The losses were by 10 points or less.
But that's not unusual. Abbeville had a 19-game win streak and was defending AA champs when the two teams met for the first time in 1982. That 17-2 win for our Devils was the first of 6 in the series that stopped in 1987. (see series link below)
The Panthers opened 2008 with a 40-16 whipping of Ninety Six, then traveled to Hartwell to play Hart County, a team often in the AAA playoffs. Abbeville won 35-21. (Thomson defeated Hart 19-3 last Friday in the Brickyard.)
Of course the Abbeville game is special to Devil head coach Larry Campbell, since he is an alumnus and has family in the area.
Abbeville used two fake punts to overcome a heavy air attack by Woodruff last Friday to gain a 21-19 win.
One thing is for sure: coaches raised or now working in the Abbeville area have been known to sandbag a bit. Consider these comments from Abbeville Coach Jamie Nickles appearing in the Greenwood newspaper (2nd link below):
As for the teams' first meeting in 21 years, Nickles indicated he just hopes his squad can survive. ..."Please tell coach Campbell to take it easy on us," Nickles said. "We're going to need them to. They've got the best team in America."
This was right after his team beat Woodruff, a traditional AA power in South Carolina.
(Our thanks for Guil Mattison for the Greenwood Index-Journal links.)