Bluffton football coach Ken Cribb was thankful to be talking about, practice and watch football on Thursday morning after more than a week of playoff uncertainties.
“It’s looking like it could be a shootout,” Cribb said of tonight’s Division II-AAAA state semifinal game at Northwestern. “We’re excited to play. Both teams do like to throw the football and have speed at the skill positions. The styles might be a little different, however.”
The game features two outstanding quarterbacks. C.J. Frazier is capping an impressive career at Bluffton. The senior has passed for 2,885 yards and 37 touchdowns this seasonm while the Trojans’ Mason Rudolph is one of the top juniors in the state. He’s passed for 3,614 yards and 37 scores.
It’s a game that’s been on again, off again and now on again.
Goose Creek was banned by the High School League for using an ineligible player, and Bluffton was set to host Conway last Friday.
But that afternoon, a judge issued an injunction reinstating Goose Creek and ordered the High School League to rehear the case on Monday.
Goose Creek beat Bluffton, 35-25, but the High School League voted to uphold the playoff ban. That meant Bluffton was back in the picture with a road trip to Rock Hill. But on Wednesday, the ineligible student asked a federal judge to file an emergency injunction. The judge denied the request.
“I heard about the federal court when I was walking off the practice field,” Cribb said. “This started last week and continued this week until it ended Wednesday. To be honest with you, I’m not sure it’s over yet.”
Cribb said the entire sequence of events has been tough on Goose Creek, Conway, Northwestern and his Bobcats.
“You have to be careful about what you say,” said Cribb, who went to the Class AAA state championship last year, losing to South Pointe. “You can say something politically correct although it might not be truthful.
“But I just don’t want people to put Bluffton in a negative light and say we don’t deserve to be here. Our kids did nothing wrong.”
Last week, Bluffton thought it had a home game against Conway. But at 1:30 p.m., the Bobcats were ruled to head to Goose Creek for a game that started in six hours. The team had six turnovers and botched a snap on a punt that gave Goose Creek excellent field position. But Cribb refused to say the team was distracted.
“We’ll never know,” he said. “But it was a tough day. It might have been better to play the game on Saturday. Either way, we don’t know for sure. But Goose Creek had the right to fight its case.”