Drew Hummel tried to tell people.
But at Carolina Forest, what the coach says isn't always backed up with such conviction. The Panthers, following a "philosophical" change in the offseason, made sure they were going to be ready for their first game of the year.
"Us running the ball like that, maybe it shocked the world, but it didn't shock us," Hummel said Monday, three days after his team went berserk on the ground against Socastee. "We didn't expect to run for 271 yards, but we ... made a big commitment in the offseason [to the run]."
In that mix was the best single-game performance by a running back in school history.
Senior Mark Timmons, listed at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, finished the night with 22 carries for 209 yards and four touchdowns. The latter two marks eclipsed nine-year-standing records, both set by Kenny Chestnut in 2001 - Chestnut had 197 yards and three scores in a game.
Not a bad night for Timmons, who last year was primarily a defensive back and lightly used slot receiver. This year, he and Harold Atkinson, also a former receiver, will be sharing the load.
"It just so happened Mark got hot, and we kept handing him the ball," Hummel said. "He's quick and he's tough. Friday night doesn't surprise me. He has that type of ability."
They'll certainly need it again this week.
Carolina Forest will be playing host to back-to-back defending Lower State champion Myrtle Beach and its distinguished passing game. Keeping the Seahawks' offense off the field may be the only chance the Panthers have at staying in the ballgame.
It's a strategy Hummel is comfortable with.
"If it isn't broke," he said, "don't try to fix it.
Brown runs wild for Loris
Up at Loris, senior R.J. Brown had a similarly eye-popping night, even if he didn't break his school's rushing record.
Brown ran for 236 yards Friday against St. James, and all of those yards came in the first half. He received a major boost when he busted off an 89-yard scamper on the first play from scrimmage.
Coach Jimmy Longerbeam, though, wasn't even sure as of Monday where his yardage tally stacked up in the schools annals.
"It's probably a pretty interesting question," Longerbeam said. "I do know in his last 11 games, he's got three 200 [yard-plus] games."
Brown wasn't going to sneak up on anyone this year, especially after he ran for 1,029 yards and 13 scores a season ago. The production followed with a number of visits from college coaches, including some from Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Presbyterian and Newberry, according to Longerbeam.
And even though Brown has yet to receive an official offer, more games like Friday should change that in a hurry.
"As the season progresses, I'm sure he'll be getting more attention," his coach said.
More importantly, opposing teams better be ready.
After Brown spent the spring running track, Longerbeam believes he's in much better shape than he was as a junior. It showed against St. James early and often as 212 of his yards came before halftime.
As if that wasn't enough to worry about, Loris' running game is actually a two- or even three-headed monster. Junior Fred Bryant put up a seven-carry, 139-yard performance against the Sharks.
And third-stringer Markeise Jackson, another junior, showed in a game last year against Aynor that he can put up similar numbers.