There was nothing discreet about the way Evans Middle football players approached their coach with a large, blue water cooler Tuesday.
The Knights had just beaten Columbia Middle 6-0 in the finale for both schools and wanted to celebrate by dumping ice on coach Blake Crewe.
Crewe was able to grip both sides of the plastic cooler and dump the ice to the ground.
"They try to get me every year," said Crewe, whose team finished the season 5-0-1 to share the title of the area's best middle school team with Lakeside Middle, which beat Stallings Island 22-0 Tuesday to also finish with five wins and a tie.
Lakeside and Evans tied at the start of the season.
Crewe, along with several others involved with area middle school programs, have advocated a title game to crown an area champion. After the Knights' victory over the Raiders, Crewe said he would e-mail Lakeside Middle coach Dave Pitock and propose the teams play a tie-breaker.
But Tuesday's matchup at Columbia Middle was between what many considered the two best teams this season. The low-scoring affair was highlighted by stifling defense from both sides.
The Knights broke free once, a 51-yard touchdown run from big fullback Stephon Jacobs late in the second quarter. Evans' defense made the score stick.
First-year Columbia Middle coach Dennis Carraway said the Knights' defense played as if it had done its homework on the Raiders' offense.
"Because they stopped everything," Carraway said.
Carraway said Raiders coaches try to get their hands on as much information on opposing teams as possible, including some film.
Both teams appeared prepared, locking down the offenses for most of the game. Jacobs' run, with 1:08 left in the first half, included several broken tackles.
"As big and as strong as he is, when he lowers his shoulders, he can take on anybody," Crewe said. "I'll check the film and show them all in school. It was pretty impressive."
Both coaches pointed to Evans' numbers as a key to victory.
The Knights' roster was about twice that of the Raiders, and Crewe was able to play a different group on offense and defense, with a few exceptions.
"We're strong, with fresh legs," Crewe said. "I think that's been our advantage, with strong numbers this year."
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