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:

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