Somewhere around midseason, opponents realized it wasn't wise to kick the ball to South Pointe's speedsters.
Punt the ball out of bounds. Kickoffs should be booted into the end zone - high schools can't run them out. If the opponent didn't have a kicker with the leg, squib the ball or kick it toward one of the sidelines.
No way, opposing coaches felt, were they going to get beat because one of the Stallions' speedy players had a long return or a touchdown.
"We returned five kickoffs and one punt all the way," said Robert Beckler, who oversees kick teams. "We have set plays on kickoffs but don't hold our players to them. They are so fast and have such good vision of the field, we tell them to go for it if they see an opening."
South Pointe is loaded with team speed, with four senior players who can burn the turf.
JaRyan Jennings runs a 4.42 40-yard dash. Tay Hicklin, Corey Neely and Montay Crockett clock in at 4.5.
"It's like an honor that teams see us as being good like NFL players Devin Hester (of the Chicago Bears) and DeSean Jackson" of the Philadelphia Eagles, said Hicklin, who starts at defensive back, with time at receiver and quarterback. "Teams stopped kicking to us about the time we played Fort Mill. They began realizing that speed kills."
Neely leads the Stallions with 11 returns for 395 yards (35.9 average) and two touchdowns; Crockett is second with five for 166 yards (33.2) and a score; Hicklin is third with five for 123 yards (29.6) and a touchdown and Jennings is fifth with two for 39 yards.
Neely has 11 punt returns for 129 yards and a score. Hicklin has four returns for 46 yards.
All told, the Stallions have returned 32 kickoffs and 19 punts, but that's not the only area speed pays off. South Pointe also has made big plays on defense.
The Stallions have intercepted 24 passes. Neely leads the way with six, three for touchdowns. Jennings has five and two scores. Crockett has four.
"Big plays are part of our game," Neely said. "We like to hit hard on defense and know if we do there will opportunities to score on that side of the ball. The coaches give the player who makes the best plays each week one of these. I lead the team, winning four times."
"One of these" is a red-handled, black-rubber head hammer. While the players talked Thursday after practice, Neely and Jennings held one of their prizes.
Bobby Carroll, who built South Pointe's program along with Herron, is in his first season at York. Carroll said Wednesday morning that to win tonight's rematch, his team can't allow big plays and must slow the streaking Stallions.
In their regular-season meeting four weeks ago, South Pointe wrapped up the Region 4-AAA title against Carroll's team with a 39-23 win. Hicklin returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. He also tossed a 72-yard touchdown pass to Crockett.
"Everything we do is based on team speed," Crockett said. "We like to get into the open and have a foot race ... the rabbit, not the turtle."
This one is a crapshoot, but the Stallions seniors are not lacking in motivation. The ones who were on the varsity have played in two state championship games and just missed in 2009 after a loss in the semifinals.
The four speedsters said they have been building for years for tonight, a chance to go to the state championship and go out champions.
"We knew we would be good again, that every team we played would be bigger but we'd be faster," Jennings said. "All of us look up to our 2008 state championship team, the one with our first group of seniors. We want to be just like them."