Cherish the moment.
That’s the message Jimmy Satterfield had to the Lexington football team as it prepared for Saturday’s Class 4A, Division II championship game against Northwestern. Satterfield was the coach the last time the Wildcats made it to the title game in 2000, losing to Dorman.
“You will remember this for the rest of your life,” Satterfield told the players Wednesday before practice. “They are going to remember all this stuff, the practices, the Spartanburg game last week, so it is important to cherish it, because it is going to go by so fast.”
Satterfield was one of a handful of former Lexington coaches and players coach Josh Stepp brought in this week to talk to the team. Bobby Lowman, the quarterback the last time Lexington won a championship in 1950, also spoke to the team.
Satterfield, who lives in Easley, liked what he saw when he attended practice. He enjoyed the coaches teaching and interacting with the players and also liked that music, which was classic rock that day, was being played as players went through practice.
The former coach said there are a lot of similarities in the Lexington program when he was there and this year’s version. He took over at Lexington in 1996 after the Wildcats went through a one-win season the year before but won at least eight games until he left in 2003.
When Stepp took over in 2013, the Wildcats were coming off a 3-9 season.
“We had some great players and great coaches and kind of turned the thing around,” Satterfield said. “But Josh has taken it to another level.”
Stepp helped turn around the Dreher program, taking it from a winless team his first year to eight wins two years later before he left for Lexington in 2013. The former Pelion and Newberry College standout brought a youthful enthusiasm and coaching staff and stressed changing the culture during his first year. Some of the players had doubts early, but Stepp and the coaching staff won them over.
“It was a little uneasy about a stranger coming in and taking the reins. We bought into, and it has been good ever since,” Lexington linebacker Trey Mitchell said.
“When coach Stepp walked through the doors, I knew we were going to do great things in the future,” Lexington running back Slade Carroll said. “We bought into what he was preaching and kept working.”
Carroll and Mitchell are three-year starters and part of that foundation built the first season. Lexington won 10 games the first season and seven last year and made it to the second round of the playoffs both years.
This year, the Wildcats have won a school-record 13 games in a row since dropping the opener against Westside. They knocked off defending state champion Spartanburg to make to the championship game.
Now, the Wildcats hope to cap it with the first title in 65 years.
“This is why you coach,” Stepp said. “We set out in year one to build a foundation where Lexington High School can be competitive year in and year out. We had a great group that first year that started the foundation.
“This year, it has taken off with a group of seniors who were with us when we walked into the door. They have given their heart and soul to the program and believe in what we do as a coaching staff. It is a hard-working group, and this season is a testament of their character.”
All games at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday
Class 4A, Division I
Dorman vs. Fort Dorchester, noon
South Pointe vs. Midland Valley, 3 p.m.
Class 4A, Division II
Lexington vs. Northwestern, 6 p.m.
RADIO: 93.1 FM, online at www.lexingtonwildcats.com.
LIVE STREAM: All games will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com for a fee of $9.95. Burch Antley, Stacey Hough, Emerson Phillips and Tyler Cupp will be on the broadcasts.