The Conway Tigers have grown accustomed to lopsided scores this year.
But the perennial playoff program uncharacteristically has been on the losing end of a few this season.
With a probable playoff berth on the line for both teams Friday night, the Tigers reverted to their playoff form of old with a 56-14 blowout of county and Region VI-AAAA rival Carolina Forest.
"The bottom line is we try to play off our tradition. I mean, it's what you do," Tigers coach Chuck Jordan said. "And we've really been challenging kids along that line as, `Hey guys, we're Conway and you're not playing like it.'
Never miss a local story.
"I think they thought we had something to prove, and they did. We played well and we played with the kind of emotion that you've got to play with."
Conway(5-6, 2-3 region) is expected to get into the AAAA playoffs as an at-large team after South Florence (6-5, 2-3) captured the third and final automatic berth from the region with a 41-13 win over West Florence on Friday. Carolina Forest (3-8, 1-4) would have finished third in the region with a win.
"It's always exciting to have one more game. I don't want the season to end," said Conway senior receiver Spencer Goffigan. "We had a lot to prove. It's always a pride thing around Horry County. We really had to step it up this week in practice. It was either do or die, and we put on a show tonight."
Conway had the Panthers looking up from the opening kickoff, which the Tigers returned to the Carolina Forest 48. Conway freshman quarterback Mykal Moody scored on a 48-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and the Tigers were off and running.
A 17-yard scoring run by Moody, blocked punt and recovery at the Panthers' 17 by Deonta Gore, and 42-yard interception return for a touchdown by Damone Sherman contributed to a 28-0 Conway lead just 8:14 into the game.
"We were there in the (playoff) hunt. I really thought our team was ready to play," Panthers coach Drew Hummel said. "It couldn't have been a worse start. ... When things happen that fast in a game, momentum has shifted."
The Panthers couldn't stop Moody. He gained 105 yards and scored three touchdowns on 12 carries, and completed 6 of 12 passes for 169 yards and three scores, helping the Tigers improve to 11-0 against Carolina Forest and apparently reach the playoffs again.
"It's been a long year, and yet we're still playing," Jordan said. "We're going to limp into the playoffs but we're going to limp in with a win and that's always good. You're always trying to create momentum, and this was a good game for us tonight, there's no question about it. We controlled the game from beginning to end."