Over the years, Fort Dorchester High School football coach Steve LaPrad has noticed one thing about players -- they get over losses a lot quicker than coaches.
It might take LaPrad a couple of days before he can put a loss behind him. His players, however, are a resilient bunch. It seems to only take a good night's sleep.
The Patriots are coming off a heartbreaking 28-21 loss to rival Summerville last week, and LaPrad said it took him the weekend to recharge and get focused on today's game with Goose Creek.
"I think it has always been like that," LaPrad said. "Kids just seem to forget about things a lot quicker than adults. It's much easier for them to put things behind them and look to the future or to the next game. As a coach, you go back and look at the film and you tend to dwell on things a little longer than you should.
"We talked about the Summerville game on Monday before practice. That's a big rivalry game for us. It was a tough loss, especially because we felt like we had chances to win the game. But it's like I told them, one game isn't a season. Win or lose, you have to move on to the next game."
The Patriots (2-2 overall, 1-1 in Region 8-AAAA) are in a particularly brutal stretch of their schedule. It began in the second week of the season when they traveled to Irmo, then took on Beaufort, Summerville and now Goose Creek in successive weeks.
"People forget we opened with Woodland, and they've a very competitive AA team that could beat a lot of the bigger schools around here," LaPrad said. "Beaufort is a very good team, Summerville is, well, Summerville, and Goose Creek might be the best team in the state. But that's life in AAAA football."
Beating the 4-0 Gators means stopping their running game. The Gators are averaging more than 345 yards a game on the ground. Goose Creek has three players who have rushed for more than 300 yards.
"Goose Creek is a big, physical team," LaPrad said. "They just line up and run right at you with their option game. It's not a big mystery. They've got a lot of weapons, a lot of great athletes. It's not just one guy. They've got two or three quality players in their backfield."
Jerome Jordan leads the Gators with 395 rushing yards, and Virgil Smalls has 316 yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Jaquan Marsh is averaging 8.1 yards a carry.
The Gators have also improved their passing game as well. Marsh has completed 16 of 27 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
"If you put eight, nine guys in the box to stop the run, they're capable of making big plays in their passing game," LaPrad said. "I think that's where they've really improved since last year. You can't just stop their option game and expect to win."
Despite the Gators recent success, they have not beaten Fort Dorchester since 2005.
"I don't think it'll be a problem getting the kids focused on this week's game," said Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy. "We've had some success around here lately, but the seniors in this team have never beaten Fort Dorchester. That should be motivation enough for this team."