CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One-hundred and ninety-two minutes.
That's all the time guaranteed to South Charleston (3-3) for the remainder of the high school football season. The Black Eagles travel to winless Lincoln County (0-5) tonight.
And while the Black Eagles are heavy favorites, there is no margin for error for a .500 team at this point in the season.
"Our goal to get to the playoffs is to win seven football games," South Charleston Coach John Messinger said. "But we can't look past any one opponent."
Messinger knows all too well how tough a team with a losing record can play. Last Friday he watched his Black Eagles get matched point for point in the first half against St. Albans.
"I've got just as much or more respect for those guys that come out on Monday morning that are 0-6 than those guys that are coming out every week undefeated," Messinger said. "It takes a great salesman when you are facing an 0-6 start."
What is required of South Charleston now is a sustained sense of urgency.
"One little mental lapse and you can put yourself behind the eight-ball real quick," Messinger said. "There are no guarantees ... your schedule is as tough as your opponent that week."
South Charleston has to do it without running back A.D. Cunningham, the team's leading rusher through the first five games, who is nursing a shoulder injury.
"Without A.D. takes a lot of blocking from me," freshman quarterback Kentre Grier said. "He's my best running back, best blocker, everything. Basically, he's the heart of this team."
There are two questions this South Charleston squad has to answer this week. First, who is going to fill Cunningham's shoes on the field? Second, will the Black Eagles play as a cohesive unit?