SPARTANBURG - Dorman defensive lineman Drew Bailey will be teammates with Marcus Lattimore later this month. But for now, the Byrnes tailback is just the most recent star runner Bailey and the Cavaliers must stop.
Bailey has had time to secure early acquaintances with other fellow Shrine Bowlers as Dorman prepares to face a runner selected to the game for the third time in four playoff outings.
"Of course (we get more pumped up)," Bailey said of facing another offensive all-star.
"Anybody who's a Shrine Bowl running back definitely has done a lot, and Lattimore definitely has that type of resume. We just have to try and stop him like we have the others. But it's going to be the toughest test of the three."
The Cavaliers' defense has consecutive shutouts of Irmo (14-0) and Gaffney (10-0) the past two weeks. Dorman opened the playoffs with a 31-28 victory against Clover, holding Shrine Bowl tailback Max Elliott to 98 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Two weeks ago, Dorman held Irmo Shrine Bowler Mustafa Greene to 80 rushing yards and no touchdowns.
"In the past, we've been successful in stopping those highly touted players, and it just gives us the confidence and courage to let us know we can do it again," linebacker Ryan Pruitt said.
"We kind of stopped the run first with those other teams," Bailey said. "But with Byrnes you have to try and focus on others because they have so many big-play caliber players who can score on any play."
Dorman coach Dave Gutshall said the key to stopping those all-star tailbacks has been old-fashioned assignment defense and taking care of the fundamentals.
"We'll just try to be a good tackling football team," Gutshall said. "Make sure that we tackle well and in space and keep the ball in front of us. That's going to be a key. Lattimore is as good a receiver as he is a running back, so you've got to be conscious of him all the time.
"We won't have a plan to stop him. We've just got to be solid everywhere, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I've learned over the years that if you try and take something away, it will come back to haunt you and hurt you in other areas."
Dorman has allowed justmore than 10 points and 106 rushing yards per game this season.
"You just have to trust your teammates to do their jobs, and you can't ever worry about trying to pick up the slack for somebody else," Pruitt said.
Dorman certainly will need to continue believing in that close bond if it hopes to dethrone the Rebels. Of course, the Cavaliers are one of the few teams in the state who relishes the matchup and won't be intimidated.
"We know we can play with them," Pruitt said. "I think some teams are scared of them, but we've always wanted another chance. We've had it in our heads we'd face them again somewhere down the line. I hate to say it, but some guys in the locker room have been talking about it throughout the playoffs, just kind of looking ahead and hoping for that second chance."