Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Player Profiles from Week 2: Aquinas's Kam Brinson and JP Lambert; Harlem's AJ Brown and Cameron Garnett; Lakeside's Jaden Taylor and 5 more standouts

Below are player profile videos from the second week of the season.

Every week during the high school football regular season I am featuring at least one game as the “AugBball Game of the Week.” 

See my report, including full game highlights, from last Friday's feature game, in which Aquinas edged Harlem 33-31, at this link (also included are full highlights from Burke County's overtime loss to Ware County and Lakeside's win at South Aiken):

You can follow the @AugBball Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to see video highlights and updates during and after the games we feature each Friday.

Also, in the week after each game I am profiling the players who made the biggest impression on me. Last week's edition featured players from Burke County and Grovetown. Here is the link to the 6 player profile videos I featured in week 1 of the season:

This week's edition has a heavy dose of players from Aquinas and Harlem because their game is the one I attended in person.

Player Profiles: Week 2

From Aquinas vs Harlem

From Lakeside vs South Aiken

From Burke County vs Ware County

PS - One question I am frequently asked by the players I feature is if I will send them the file of the videos I make of them. This season my plan is to send video files to the players who are featured in these Player Profiles at AugBball. So if you find yourself featured on this page, and you haven’t received a file from me, direct message me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to request your video. Or you can email me at or text me at (706) 550-2229. Sometimes these files can be difficult to send through cyberspace, but I will do my best.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Aquinas edges Harlem, Burke County drops another tough one, and Lakeside tops South Aiken - Full game highlights and more

Aquinas vs Harlem was a heavyweight matchup despite the schools’ small size.

Senior quarterback JP Lambert accounted for greater than 300 total yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Aquinas to a 33-31 come-from-behind road win over Harlem Friday. The Fighting Irish continued its fast start to the season after blanking Laney 31-0 in week one.

Lambert spread the ball around to a trio of playmakers on the outside as seniors Kam Brinson (116 yards receiving) and John Parrish (67 yards), and sophomore Joseph Welch (83 yards), made significant contributions in almost every imaginable way.

Brinson’s first reception, a diving catch down the right sideline on 3rd and 6, kept alive Aquinas’s first scoring drive at a time when Harlem, then leading 14-0, seemed to have all the momentum. That drive ended with a 9 yard touchdown run by Tyler Evans, which was due in part to a key block by Parrish on the right side of the line.

Kam Brinson received, returned, rushed, blocked and tackled Friday.

Lambert and Brinson would later connect at another key juncture when, with Harlem leading 28-27 late in the third quarter, Brinson caught a short pass and made a long run to convert on a crucial 3rd and 14 play. Later on that same drive, Brinson, working out of the slot, sprinted past his defender and caught another diving pass that appeared to be a touchdown, but he was ruled down just before the goal line. Three plays later, Lambert ran it into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown and, more importantly, handed Aquinas its first lead at 33-28.

JP Lambert threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for 2 more in Friday's win.

Lambert also connected with Welch and Parrish on important scoring plays, including a 76 yard completion to Welch to tie the game at 14 in the second quarter, and a 26 yard strike on 4th and 7 to Parrish to even the score at 21 right before halftime. Aquinas’s success through the air came as a surprise after Lambert only attempted 5 passes in the team’s week one blowout victory. This time, the vertical attack was necessary after Harlem’s defense, led by Dequan Dorsey, a 5-11, 245 pound senior nose tackle, and Cameron Garnett, a 6-1, 210 pound sophomore linebacker, repeatedly stuffed Aquinas’s rushers behind the line of scrimmage early in the game.

Dequan Dorsey lived in the Aquinas backfield Friday night.

The play of Harlem’s defensive front wasn’t the only obstacle Aquinas had to overcome. The Bulldogs also dominated the line of scrimmage on the offensive side for the first three quarters, allowing dynamic rushers AJ Brown (26 carries and 238 rushing yards), Garnett, and quarterback Chase Pennington to pile up 368 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground.

Senior AJ Brown rushed for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns against Aquinas.

But the Fighting Irish kept Harlem’s offense out of the end zone for the rest of the game after Garnett’s 7 yard score gave the Bulldogs a 28-21 lead with 7:39 remaining in the third quarter. After that point, the Irish defense would continue to bend, but never break, as Brinson, Parrish, and Welch consistently made important tackles in open space against Brown and Garnett.

Brinson and Parrish also aided Lambert with key blocks on the quarterback’s 52 yard third quarter touchdown run. Parrish cleared a path for Lambert to turn his run upfield. Then Brinson pancaked a Harlem defensive back, knocking him into a teammate and taking them both out in the process, allowing Lambert to finish the final 20 yards unchallenged.

A pair of early 1 point losses to top teams make Burke County an impressive winless (so far) team

I wasn’t there to see Friday’s 25-24 overtime loss to Ware County, so I won’t philosophize about what Burke County’s pair of losses to open the season mean. I covered the Bears in depth during their week one opener on @AugBball’s social media accounts and here at the blog during the following week. So you can see my thoughts about what I believe to be the area’s best team in those posts. After Friday’s loss, I think Augusta Chronicle prep sports reporter David Lee put things into the proper perspective here:

Because Ware reached the second round of the class 5A state playoffs last season, I figured this week 2 matchup would be a rare chance to see the Bears in a close regular season game. So I sent an experienced videographer to Waynesboro to capture the action you see in this full game highlight package:

Lakeside surprises us all with a big win

People who didn’t expect Lakeside to start 2-0 with a week 2 win over South Aiken were not “sleeping on” the Panthers. Led by last week’s Augusta Chronicle Player of the Week Jaden Taylor, Lakeside’s start is so unlike last season’s that David Lee again perfectly summed up in one tweet the reason none of us saw this coming:

That said, because of Taylor’s standout performance in week 1, and because I see so much potential in South Aiken’s quarterback Jesse Sanders, I did send a videographer to the Stomping Grounds Friday to capture for AugBball that game’s highlights. As you can see, it was all Lakeside after Sanders gave South Aiken's home crowd hope by trucking his way to a third quarter touchdown and giving the thoroughbreds a 18-13 lead with 7:35 left in the third quarter:

The next thing you'll see at this blog is this week's "Player Profiles." See the profiles of the Burke County and Grovetown players featured in week one at this link:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Player Profiles: Burke County's Chadd Crumbley, Juanya Dove, Leon Mcgee; and Grovetown's Latrell Walker, JQ Brown, and Kori Bryant

Below are the first player profiles of the 2018 high school football season.

Every week* during the high school football regular season I will feature at least one game as the “AugBball Game of the Week.”

You can follow the @AugBball Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for live highlights and updates during and after those games. Last weekend I featured Grovetown in the Warriors’ 27-7 season opening loss at home to Richmond Hill on Friday. And on Saturday it was a special feature when Burke County, the preseason #3 ranked class 4A team, travelled to Paulson Stadium travelled to the Georgia Southern University campus to face class AAA’s #5 ranked Benedictine. (You can see the full game highlights from that instant classic plus much more at this link:

Also, after each game I will profile the players who made the biggest impression on me. This is the first such post, in which I feature 3 players from Burke County and 3 from Grovetown.

PS - One question I am frequently asked by the players I feature is if I will send them the file of the videos I make of them. This season my plan is to send video files to the players who are featured in these Player Profiles at AugBball. So if you find yourself featured on this page, and you haven’t received a file from me, direct message me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to request your video. Or you can email me at or text me at (706) 550-2229. Sometimes these files can be difficult to send through cyberspace, but I will do my best.

*Except possibly August 31 and Sept 7

From Saturday's AugBball Feature Game

Burke County vs Benedictine

From Friday's AugBball Feature Game

Grovetown vs Richmond Hill

Monday, August 20, 2018

The best get put to the test... plus more reactions from the opening weekend of the 2018 high school football season

Juanya Dove (left) and Leon Mcgee (right) stepped into leading roles for Burke County.

The opening weekend's most exciting football game from our area finished after midnight on Sunday morning when Benedictine, which GPB Sports ranked #5 in its class 3A preseason poll, stopped Burke County (class 4A's #3 ranked team) on an attempted 2 point conversion with 47 seconds remaining to preserve a 1 point win for the Cadets.

This 20 minute long full highlight reel from the game shows a clash of styles and provides a fascinating contrast between Benedictine's balanced and dynamic offensive machine and Burke County's bruising, straight forward ground attack:

No objective observer could have watched the Bears in Saturday's season opener at Paulson Stadium on Georgia Southern's campus and decided that they will take a step backward this season despite the fact that many key members were lost from last season's 12-1 region championship squad.

Quarterback Juanya Dove and running back Leon Mcgee (168 rushing yards and 2 TDs), both juniors, were not featured in leading roles last season. But they wasted no time letting us know they intend to pick up where playmakers like Damari Kelly and Jaylen Odom left off by the end of last season's quarterfinal run in the class 4A state playoffs. And despite the changes in the names of the players in the backfield, the push from the offensive line looked every bit as strong as that of last year's group as the Bears ran for 366 yards.

Safety/RB Chadd Crumbley covered tons of ground for the Bears. Photo credit: Larry Smith

On the other side of the ball, senior strong safety Chadd Crumbley, who on Saturday was the Bears' most dynamic playmaker, led a stingy defense that held the Cadets to their lowest scoring total in the program's last 27 games. Crumbley stuffed the stat sheet with an interception, a solo sack as well as another with the help of teammate Eric Laforce, and two tackles for a loss.

The Bears return to Waynesboro Friday to host Ware County in the first of 4 consecutive home games. The loyal fans who made the trip to Statesboro Saturday know that the home town has a lot to look forward to in the 2018 Burke County Bears.

North Augusta made a statement with a win a long time in the making

I can't imagine a more high profile matchup between two area teams in the opening week of the season than one featuring North Augusta and Thomson shown live on WJBF's airwaves. (The two football powerhouses last met in 1924!) And these post game highlights show that North Augusta's offense may not be nearly as affected as many of us expected by the loss of last season's quarterback Landon Washington (now at Edward Waters), receiver Dejuan Bell (Furman) and running back Derius Gibson (South Carolina).

Sophomore running back Jacari Buckson rushed for 165 yards, and senior quarterback Tanner White, a transfer from Midland Valley, made some nice throws before leaving the game with an injury. But in my cursory viewing of WJBF's Sunday replay of the game it was senior linebacker Caree Collier who stole the show. You can tell by the tone of his voice in this post game interview with the Augusta Chronicle that Collier relished the opportunity to help North Augusta's defense stop Thomson's heralded backfield of Damekus Taylor and Bubba Murray during the fourth quarter after Thomson threatened a second half comeback.

Aquinas, Richmond, and Lakeside all started fast

Aquinas coach James Leonard has made it clear that last season's 7-4 record did not live up to his standard of excellence. And even though in his conversation with the Augusta Chronicle after the Friday's win he was critical of his offensive line's performance, it feels like his Fighting Irish took the first step towards living up to his expectations with a dominant win over Laney.

When Aquinas visits Harlem Friday, I'll be there for an early season test for the Irish and the season opener for the Bulldogs.

Richmond posted its highest point total since 2016 in its season opening win over former region foe Hephzibah:

As the Augusta Chronicle's David Lee noted in Sunday's edition, Lakeside won its first opener since 2011 Friday, topping Midland Valley 33-22 behind 137 yards and three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Jaden Taylor, who made his first start at the position. The Panthers will try to make it two in a row Friday when they visit South Aiken, which fell 28-14 to Greenwood Friday.

South Aiken is led by quarterback Jesse Sanders, who also made his first start Friday. Sanders, a junior, made an impact as a receiver last season, and he looks like a promising QB in these highlights from Friday's loss: