And the Cougars expect to get back their most-experienced skill player, senior running back, James Richmond, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury.
"That's the thing, we've been playing in spurts,'' Carpenter said of his players taking turns in starring roles. "We've been happy about that. It's a big sign that if they just stay together, good things can happen to them. I wish it would come down to offense or defense, but it comes down to how well they stay together.''
Mays' chief concern is stopping the Cougars from busting coverages, busting tackles and busting big plays.
"We were breaking down the film [from last year's game],'' Mays said, "and we gave up two touchdowns on third-and-8. One play, [Cliff] Pratt got loose and they threw it behind us, then on the other we had the running back wrapped up for a loss, he broke free and ran for a touchdown.
"We have to understand as a defense they can break off a big play any time. We have to eliminate those types of plays, but it's easier said than done. Everybody's goal each week is to try and eliminate big plays from your opponent, whether you're playing Capital High or St. Marys. Another is to force as many erratic plays as you can, and where possible, get turnovers.''
SC, like Capital, sports many of the same playmakers who lined up in last year's game - Grier, running back A.D. Cunningham and receivers Hampton and Kevin Forrest.
The Black Eagles have displayed some balance to their offense, running for 941 yards as a team and Grier passing for 750 yards and nine TDs. Cunningham leads the ground game with 460 yards and five scores.
Carpenter was just as impressed, however, with the way SC played defense in an important 43-30 win at Spring Valley - one year after the Timberwolves raked the Black Eagles for 443 yards on 65 carries.
"They looked like a hornets nest against Spring Valley,'' Carpenter said. "They were running to the ball like crazy. They were so aggressive, it looked like they had 30 players on the field. They're so fast, the refs didn't see them.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.