The hardest game to lose for any football team is the last one. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth all offseason. But ask Williston-Elko, it's a worst taste when the last game is the state championship.
The Blue Devils finished an impressive 12-2 last season. The first loss coming to rival Blackville-Hilda. The second loss coming to Scott's Branch in the state title game. That second loss now serves as the motivation for this year's team, because now that they know they can get to the state title, they want to win it.
"Well, that's the goal for every football player and football team," said Williston-Elko head coach Dwayne Garrick. "Play for a state championship and not just play, but win it as well. We fell a little bit short last year so naturally, we'd love to get back there again and just have an opportunity to play for it again."
"It got us ready. We know we've got to get back," said senior Quantel Mack. "When we get back, We've got to win it so it's motivation."
The Blue Devils did lose a key player in last year's title game run in running back Josh Epps. But they feel good about who they have coming back, including another playmaking tailback Dexter Staley. Add in plenty of experience on the line and on defense and there's a reason this team is confident they can make another run.
"Right now, we feel like we've got a good mixture of both juniors and seniors coming back so we look to have a successful season," said Garrick.
"We're just focusing on repeating right now," said senior Michael Wallace. "Just coming back stronger than we were last year. We were good last year but we want to improve every year."
The Devils start the season on a Thursday night versus Barnwell. But you might as well circle October 30th on your calendar. That's when they face rival Blackville-Hilda in what could be the region championship.