Sunday, September 30, 2018

Richmond outlasted Greenbrier, Jefferson County grabbed a hold on first place, South Aiken outgunned Aiken, and North Augusta surrendered a lead; full highlights from those games plus a look forward at the coming Friday's region tests

Clydell White skies for a catch in Friday's win at Greenbrier. Photo Credit: Richard Dunn

***This post was made possible by the combined efforts of AugBball and the CSRA All Star Bowl Week. Learn the latest news about the all star week at this link.***

Last Friday

Richmond 20, Greenbrier 14 - Overtime

Winless Greenbrier proved Friday that records don’t tell us everything by taking unbeaten Richmond to overtime before the Musketeers prevailed to reach 6-0 before their 4 game league schedule gets underway this Friday:

Coming Next Friday - Class 4A

Richmond (6-0, 0-0) vs Baldwin (1-5, 0-0)
Class 4A, Region 3

Both teams will enter region play this Friday, when, in case we didn’t learn last week, we should definitely now realize that the records won’t matter. Richmond will have to adopt that mindset because Baldwin (1-5) will visit the Musketeers after their own 14-0 win over the same Greenbrier team the Musketeers just got past. The 5 losses compiled by the Braves came against what Ashley Brown (Prep Sports Report) called maybe the most difficult schedule any team in Georgia faced during the first half of the season.

The results from Baldwin’s first 5 weeks of play read like one of GPB's top ten in Georgia rankings:

Washington County (#8 Class 2A) 19, Baldwin 7
Jones County (#2 Class 5A) 41, Baldwin 14
Veterans 38, Baldwin 30
Warner Robins (#6 Class 5A) 49, Baldwin 14
Northside Warner Robins (#8 Class 6A) 45, Baldwin 0

The results from Richmond’s first 6 games look almost like the complete opposite of Baldwin’s:

Richmond 45, Hephzibah 20
Richmond 34, Westside 0
Richmond 41, Evans 7
Richmond 24, Grovetown 14
Richmond 46, Midland Valley 20
Richmond 20, Greenbrier 14

This is where I remind myself, again, that records don’t matter because region play is here! Richmond and Baldwin have developed a football (and basketball) rivalry in only two seasons. Both teams have to have their eyes on not just a state playoff spot, which automatically comes to four teams in their five team region, but the opportunity to host state playoff games, which goes only to the top two teams.

With Richmond playing Baldwin and #8 Burke County in the next two weeks, and with Baldwin playing Richmond and Thomson in that same time period, we will quickly learn if Richmond and/or Baldwin can break the strangle hold Burke County and Thomson have had on the top of the region standings the past two seasons.

Coming Next Friday - Class 6A

Greenbrier (0-5) at Heritage (2-3)
Class 6A, Region 3

Greenbrier will open region play at Heritage Friday. In keeping with the theme of records not mattering when predicting future results, the non-region records of the 4 area teams (Greenbrier, Lakeside, Grovetown, and Evans) in this league cannot be used to decide which team is the favorite in the approaching 5 week, 5 game league schedule. Those 4 teams enter the "second season" limping with a combined record of 3-16. Lakeside earned wins over South Aiken and Midland Valley, and Grovetown also defeat Midland Valley.

Evans visits Lakeside this Friday, and Grovetown will host Alcovy as this 6 team region starts things.

Last Friday

South Aiken 35, Aiken 34
Class 4A, Region 5 Region opener

Aiken also missed the memo Friday about records not mattering because the also winless Hornets came roaring back from a 21 point second quarter hole against their rival South Aiken to twice take the lead. But they, like Greenbrier, failed to finish the job and fell to 0-5, while the Thoroughbreds grabbed a region schedule opening win.

Coming Next Friday - South Carolina Class 4A

South Aiken (1-0) vs Brookland-Cayce (1-0)
Class 4A, Region 5

Hosting Brooklyn-Cayce this Friday, South Aiken will get a chance to finish the job that North Augusta started last Friday (more on that below) in their 6 team region’s only game this week between teams with 1-0 records. The Thoroughbreds enter the game on a 3 game winning streak, and Brookland-Cayce, winners of 2 straight, must be riding high after Friday’s comeback win over the Yellow Jackets.

Aiken (0-1) at Midland Valley (0-1)
Class 4A, Region 5

This region battle may be short on combined wins (Aiken is currently smarting from a 15 game losing streak, while Midland Valley has only recorded 2 wins in the team’s last 17 outings). But if the games we’ve been present for are any indication, this matchup may make for an entertaining contest. Aiken quarterback Kory Wallace is averaging 291 yards passing and 3.5 touchdowns per game in the last 4 outings. And Midland Valley's Harper Puckett threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in an earlier loss to Richmond.

Last Friday

Jefferson County 24, Hephzibah 0
Class 2A, Region 4
Jefferson County improves to 4-0; Hephzibah falls to 3-1

My two takeaways from Friday's class 2A, region 4 results:

Although the Warriors are firmly in first place, the race for the top 2 region spots is still very much alive. Three teams (Harlem, Hephzibah, and Screven County) sit with 3-1 records with four games remaining, keeping in play the possibility of the top spot being contested yet. And those three teams will all see each other the next two Fridays when Hephzibah visits Harlem this Friday, and Harlem goes to Screven County the following week. So right when the other region races are getting properly heated, we might know a lot about which two teams will eventually earn a state playoff home game in this 9 team league.

Last Friday

Brookland-Cayce 41, North Augusta 34
Class 4A, Region 5 Region opener

I bet North Augusta (0-1) can't wait to take the field Friday when they will get the chance against Airport (1-0) to bounce back from last week's 41-34 defeat by Brookland-Cayce. The visitors stormed back from a 20 point third quarter deficit with 27 unanswered points that left the home crowd stunned.

My vote for the move of the season so far goes to Aquinas's Kam Brinson for this stutter step against GMC

Thursday, September 27, 2018

AugBball Will Present this December’s CSRA All Star Bowl Week

***Below is a copy of today's press release describing AugBball's newest project.***

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Chad Cook
(706) 550-2229

AugBball Will Present this December’s CSRA All Star Bowl Week

Player fees have been eliminated and partners combine to provide media coverage

Augusta, GA, September 27, 2018 -- The CSRA All Star Bowl Week gained a new title sponsor this week in AugBball, a local online sports media company that currently provides area basketball and football coverage. The eighth annual CSRA All Star Bowl Week, presented by AugBball, is set for the week of December 10th with Saturday, December 15th, being the day three all star games featuring the area’s best high schoolers will be played at Lions Memorial Field in North Augusta.

"I have two goals. One is to help Dameon and his team host the best possible week of football games and practices," said Chad Cook of AugBball. "The other is to continue to strengthen AugBball’s ties to the community we serve."

The founder of the all star week, Dameon Key, who has hosted sporting events here and around the country for longer than a decade, had this to say about this event’s new sponsorship:

"The CSRA All -Star Bowl Week is very excited to welcome Augbball as our title sponsor. AugBball has had very strong ties in our community for a very long time. This along with their knowledge and coverage of high school football in the CSRA will definitely enhance our efforts to continue to provide a quality event for the community to enjoy."

The partnership brings two immediate news items that are relevant to the area’s potential all stars, as well as their teams and coaches:
  1. The $100 player registration fee to play in the all star game has been eliminated.
  2. Cook, Key, and Robert Drew plan to continue AugBball and the CSRA All Star Bowl Week’s combined wall to wall media coverage of the rest of this regular season and postseason. They will also help the area’s coaches name the nearly 200 all stars between now and October 20th, the date of the first registration deadline.
"During the first half of the regular season, we have been featuring several games each week at AugBball and at the CSRA All Star Bowl’s outlet," Cook explained. "We will continue that coverage during the second half of the season and into the playoffs."

About AugBball, LLC
Chad Cook provides local media coverage of basketball and football for AugBball. The company’s social media outlets and blog have provided local sports coverage for eight years.
@AugBball on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
CSRA All Star Bowl Week site: 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jefferson County’s elite offensive line will aim to lead the Warriors to their fourth consecutive win this Friday

The Warriors' O-line has led the way to 151 points in the team's recent 3 game winning streak.

***This special feature was produced with the help of Robert Drew and Dameon Key, the founder of CSRA All Star Week. The eighth annual week of all star games and practices will be back December 10-15. And Thursday night AugBball will announce a special partnership with CSRA All Star Week.***

At Monday afternoon's practice, Jefferson County head coach J.B. Arnold explained perfectly his team's new offense, which since being adopted has led to 151 points in the last three games, all region wins:

"At the point of attack, we've got a line..." coach Arnold began.

Here I'll interrupt him to provide some details about that line. Jefferson County's "single wing" system consists of 7 linemen (pictured above) who sport an average weight of 306 pounds!

"But then we also have 3 people filling the hole in front of the guy carrying the ball," coach Arnold continued.

Ten players get in front of the ball carrier and block. Every play. That's the defining feature of Jefferson County's new offense.

Jaden Jenkins piled up 326 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in last Friday's win over Harlem.

The single wing was only first used in Louisville after the Warriors suffered a pair of season opening losses. The offense, which was invented more than 100 years ago by Glenn "Pop" Warner himself, fits Jefferson County's personnel perfectly. The formation and its main play is painfully simple, but it also has to be painful for the defense to stop as well. Below is an x's and o's diagram of what Jefferson County did - over and over - in last Friday's 38-28 win over Harlem. Note there are 8 players to the right of the "tailback," which is the 210 pound Georgia Southern commit Jaden Jenkins in the Warriors' case. Jenkins simply ran (to the tune of 326 yards and 4 touchdowns) behind the center and the 7 other guys to his right. Easy to explain. Difficult to stop.

Jefferson County's base formation and play.

Jefferson County's 7 man offensive line:

Tareek Curtis - 6'2, 290 lbs; Richard Stavely - 6'2, 270 lbs (Weakside Tackles)
Bryant Partridge - 5'10, 235 lbs; Cole May - 5'11, 240 lbs (Weakside guards)
Rod Lopez (Center) 6'0, 310 lbs
Jerrod Davis (Strong Guard) - 6'2, 300 lbs
Inside Tackle - 6'2, 335 lbs
Micah Lawson (Outside Tackle) - 6'4, 342 lbs
Javeon Carr (Blocking Back) - 5'10, 240 lbs

Micah Lawson, the "outside tackle," stood out in the video footage from last Friday's game. At six feet four inches tall and 342 pounds, he's hard to miss, as you can see in this spotlight video:

But when we marveled out loud with coach Arnold at the prospect of a 7 man line averaging 300 pounds per man, and 3 more backs blocking for a speedy 210 pounder, coach Arnold quickly pointed out a key contributor:

"The H-back, the guy that plays up front and does a lot of the lead blocking, he may be our best lineman. He’s a bulldog!” Arnold said.

That would be “blocking back” Javeon Carr, who, at 240 pounds, proves that weight is not the determining factor in the success of every lineman in Louisville.

More so than the raw poundage, the straight forwardness of lining up and running 11 guys at the heart of the defense for four quarters must easily become demoralizing for defenses.

“We’re not gonna do handoffs. We’re gonna catch the ball (out of the shotgun) and we go in that direction (points straight ahead). That’s what we started doing. If you can stop it, I’ll pat you on the back and shake your hand.” That was how coach Arnold answered a question about whether he planned to change his system again.

“We realize that they are definitely going to run off tackle. They do an outstanding job of it,” Hephzibah coach William Harrell told us Monday evening while his Rebels squad prepared for Friday's home game against Jefferson County, a matchup between 2 teams with 3-0 records in class 2A, region 4 play.

Harlem, the last undefeated-in-the-region team to meet the Warriors, made its game against Jefferson County as close as possible for as long as possible. But at moments the amount of size loaded up on one side of the line was so overwhelming that it broke open gaping holes you don't usually see at the line of scrimmage, like this one:

Hephzibah will have to stop that straightforward attack. The Rebels will have their own weapons to employ, not least of which should be its home field advantage as Hephzibah has a chance to do something it hasn't done in a long time, which is to take the inside track on first place in the region standings should they top the favored Warriors.

Coach Arnold claimed in our interview that Hephzibah will match up fine with Jefferson County's size. I have to side with coach Harrell on this one, who shared in our interview later that evening his assessment of the size matchup:

“Well, I mean for us, they’re huge. We’ve got a couple guys that have some size on them. But across the board, we’re not going to be as big as them. But we’re hoping to use our technique, be physical… and operate with 100% effort.”

The winner of Friday's game will stand at the top of the region standings at the midpoint of the season and have the inside track on the league's number one seed in the state playoffs, which guarantees one or more home games come post season time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

North Augusta's Caree Collier and Jefferson County's Jaden Jenkins are the subjects of this week's Player Spotlights

Caree Collier leads the area in tackles.

This week's most extensive player spotlight video is of Caree Collier, North Augusta's bone shaking hit man who closes the gap between himself and the ball carrier so fast that it usually takes me several views of the videos I shoot to figure out it was Caree who got to the ball first. Hopefully the spotlights and pauses in the video help me do justice to Caree's play on defense, whether he’s stopping the run, pressuring the passer, or dropping back in coverage:

After watching Collier in person in last Friday's 27-3 win at Strom Thurmond, I can confidently say watching him on defense is as enjoyable as watching the best players I've seen in the past season-and-a-half of covering local football. Damekus Taylor's (while playing for Evans) performance against Laney last season was fun to watch. Dejuan Bell's three interception showing in North Augusta's win over South Aiken last season was too. And when Burke County topped Thomson in the best high school football game I saw last year, Burke County's Damari Kelly and Thomson's Christian Tutt were incredible. As we enter week 6, a similarly short list of special performances from the 2018 season is starting to form in my mind. Caree's showing last Friday is at the top of that list so far.

Jenkins and his intimidating blockers

Had I watched Jefferson County's Jaden Jenkins pile up 326 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in his team's win at Harlem Friday, which Robert Drew reported on live at @AugBball, I would have another incredible individual performance to add to my mental list. This spotlight video shows the biggest running hole we will see this season, created by Jefferson County's elite offensive line, which will be featured in depth on this blog tomorrow. The clip also shows Jenkins' breakaway speed as the 210 pound quarterback left not one, but two, defenders in the dust during his 60 yard touchdown sprint.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Full highlights and reports from Friday's wins by region favorites Jefferson County, Burke County, and North Augusta; also more questions than answers from Thomson's win

Micah Lawson (69) and Jefferson County's offensive line came to play in Friday's win. 

The Warriors give credit where credit is due

Jefferson County coach J.B. Arnold and his star quarterback Jaden Jenkins, who rushed for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns in Friday's 38-28 win over Harlem, both gave credit after the game to the Warriors' offensive linemen and blocking backs for the team's impressive rushing performance.

"They did great the whole night. They gave me space to move around, and for the other running backs to move around, and score," Jenkins told AugBball's Rob Drew in a post game interview.  Arnold told an Augusta Chronicle reporter that Jenkins' eye popping numbers were the result of a "team effort" and that his offensive line played "lights out." The game's highlights directly below will prove those statements correct:

The Warriors improved to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in class 2A, region 4 action. Harlem fell to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. The result sets up a second consecutive Friday in which the region's favorite travels to play another unbeaten-in-league-play team, this time Hephzibah (4-1, 3-0).

Even in Friday's loss, Harlem continued to show its progress, and the Bulldogs are positioned well to aim for a top 2 seed in the final region standings, which brings with it the chance to play at least one home playoff game. And Jefferson County's next opponent will also probably bring the best it has to offer and give the region's top team everything it wants to handle. But after Friday's rushing performance, I think the entire region has been put on notice that if you want to beat the Warriors you have to deal with the likes of Micah Lawson (pictured above), who stands 6 feet four inches tall and weighs 342 pounds, and the other 9 blockers who get out in front of Jenkins so he can work his magic.

Another region favorite, Burke County, runs over Effingham County for third straight win

After dropping its first two games by one point to top 10 teams each time, Burke County has rolled to three consecutive wins, the most recent being Friday's 31-14 win at home.

Samuel Hill (center-right) manhandles a defender at the line of scrimmage. Photo credit: Larry Smith

Like Jefferson County in our area's class 2A region, the Bears are the favorite when league play starts October 5th for class 4A, region 3. And like Jaden Jenkins has in Louisville, Leon Mcgee has the benefit of running behind a strong offensive line. One figure on that line you can't miss is Samuel Hill, a six foot four inch, 355 pounder who helped clear the space needed for Mcgee to tally up 3 touchdowns in Friday's win.

North Augusta's dominant showing propelled the Yellow Jackets into region play this Friday

Caree Collier prepares to pounce on Strom Thurmond's offense.

Keeping with the theme of region favorites, North Augusta finished gearing up for league play, which for them begins this Friday at home against Brookland-Cayce, with an impressive 27-3 road win over rival Strom Thurmond, which entered Friday ranked #7 in South Carolina's class 3A.

Hours after Friday's game ended I featured North Augusta's defense, which, if you can imagine it, is like a brick wall that comes flying into the opponent's backfield with speed and force. Here's a link to that breakdown if you missed it:

The full game highlights directly below continue to paint that picture. They also feature 3 drives engineered by quarterback Tanner White, who upon transferring to North Augusta has brought with him a nice blend of running and throwing, and a knack for making timely plays, like he did on North Augusta's first score, a TD pass to Lonnie Lee on third-and-eight.

Thomson's win over Grovetown brings more questions than answers

Thomson and Grovetown entered this season with high hopes with the news of each team landing high profile transfers after both teams lasted a couple rounds into the state playoffs last season. But at the halfway point of this regular season, the Bulldogs (2-3) and the Warriors (1-4) both find themselves with losing records. Region play won't begin for either team for at least two weeks. But both teams will need to find answers if they plan to fulfill the expectations they both must have when the second season begins.

Most pressing for Thomson appears to me to be the health of of star rusher Bubba Murray, who can be seen with his #3 jersey on along with a pair of crutches on the sideline in the highlight video (above) from Friday's game. Another unanswered question is why star quarterback Damekus Taylor stopped taking snaps in the middle of the video. I will try to answer those questions in the days ahead.

In the meantime, Thomson was able to get enough production from Travis Moss (112 rushing yards), Kenneth Neloms (105 yards, 1 TD), and Tyler Curry (61 yards, 1 TD) to get a much needed win before class 6A's defending state champion Lee County will invade the Brickyard this Friday. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reaction to Friday Night: North Augusta's star defense shined as bright as Jefferson County's Jenkins or Burke County's Mcgee

Chris Torres and Caree Collier warm up before Friday's game at Strom Thumond.

Friday night Jefferson County quarterback Jaden Jenkins was busy rushing for his team’s first four touchdowns in a win at Harlem. And Leon Mcgee ran for three of his own in Burke County’s triumph over Effingham County:

But it was North Augusta’s defense that seized all of the attention on the South Carolina side of the border when the Jackets didn’t give Strom Thurmond’s defense even a single hope for success Friday night.

The defensive unit for the Yellow Jackets, which gains more notoriety every week, took the field 6 times in the first half, once with its back against the goal line after what was almost a Strom Thurmond pick 6. On only one of those series were the Rebels even able to manage a first down without the help of a penalty. During that decisive half, the hitting by North Augusta's defense was so jarring, and the tackles in the backfield so many, that it was difficult to process live.

So after the game I reviewed the film to tally up an astounding half’s worth of defensive statistics by a fearsome foursome of Yellow Jacket defenders. The video below shows a sample of the 21 first half tackles, including 12 behind the line of scrimmage, by star stoppers Caree Collier, Chris Torres, Derian Gibson, and Charles Hammond.

North Augusta’s defense was featured Friday by the Augusta Chronicle’s David Lee, who broke down almost every position and noted the unit’s impressive performance against Grovetown when the Warriors’ offense was held to zero touchdowns and barely greater than 200 yards. David would probably agree that Friday’s performance was even more impressive.

The Rebels entered week 6 averaging 370 yards of total offense. North Augusta held the Rebels to 104 Friday.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Week 6 Football Preview: Strom Thurmond's matchup with North Augusta, Jefferson County's visit to Harlem and home games at Burke County and Thomson are the places to Find AugBball Friday Night

Jequan Edwards and his Rebels host North Augusta Friday in a rivalry game.

Strap in for another football Friday at AugBball that will feature a rivalry game in South Carolina, another battle between two unbeaten-in-the-region teams, a matchup including two teams with winning potential looking to reverse some negative momentum, and a visit to the home of the area’s best squad.

AugBball’s Week 6 Friday Night Coverage Schedule

North Augusta (3-1) at #7 Strom Thurmond (4-1)

  • Chad Cook to provide live highlights and updates as well as post game interview and highlight videos at @AugBball on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • After the game reactions should start hitting this blog some time during the weekend

The Yellow Jackets fell from South Carolina’s class 4A top 10 rankings 2 weeks ago, but a win against #7 Strom Thurmond (3A) would mean much more than any rankings can to North Augusta’s players and fans. The opposite should be said about Strom Thurmond. That’s one sign that this is a rivalry game.

Jefferson County (2-0)* at Harlem (2-0)

*Denotes teams’ class 2A, region 4 records

Jaden Jenkins hands to Desmond Beale in Jefferson County's 56-6 win at Josey.

  • Rob Drew to provide live highlights and updates at @AugBball on the Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as post game interview and highlight videos, and reactions at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If the favored Jefferson County Warriors can top the Bulldogs, and if Hephzibah (also 2-0) can get their own road win over Glenn Hills, then next Friday will ALSO bring us a game between undefeated teams for the region lead. But Cameron Garnett, shown in the video directly below, and the Bulldogs undoubtedly plan to spoil any such showdown:

This could be a great game and not only will it be featured by Rob Drew on AugBball, but it will also be televised live on MeTV at 7:30 P.M.

Grovetown (1-3) at Thomson (1-3)

  • Our best videographer will make a full highlight film from this game during the weekend to be released here at the AugBball blog. And he’ll also be busy making a big batch of player profile videos because of the number of talented players in action.

Grovetown reached the second round of the state playoffs last season after rebounding from a 1-3 start. The Warriors will try to repeat that history by getting on track with what would be an impressive win on the road over a storied program.

Thomson has played a heavyweight schedule and a 1-3 start has been the result, however unlike the Bulldogs that is. This will be Thomson’s first home game. It will be the first time AugBball’s cameras have seen star quarterback Damekus Taylor play since he became a bulldog again. He and Bubba Murray will test Grovetown’s defense, which has been praised despite the team’s slow start. The strength of the unit is up front. A bright spot early in the season for the Warriors has been defensive tackle Jeremiah Williams who will need to get penetration and make plays like these to hope to contain Taylor and Murray:

Effingham County (4-1) at Burke County (2-2)

  • AugBball staff will provide live bonus coverage with videos and updates at @AugBball on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

This should be the toughest game for Burke County, probably our area’s top team, since the Bears dropped their first pair of games by 2 combined points, both times on the final play of the game, to two top 10 teams. Here's a link to the first of those games, a thriller against class 3A power Benedictine, to refresh your memory:

Coach Eric Parker’s team will start region play two weeks after Friday’s game. So we will get to see this week the kind of momentum the Bears will take into league play soon.

Follow @AugBball on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Friday for live coverage from these games, and check throughout the weekend for reactions and recaps.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Week 5 Player Profile videos feature 15 total players from Hephzibah, Harlem, Laney and Butler

Harlem's Cameron Garnett make a tackle in Saturday's win at Laney.

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

See week 5's recap, including full game highlights, from last weekend's 5 featured games at this link:

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. This week's edition comes from two of last weekend's class 2A region matchups, in which Hephzibah slipped past Butler 16-14 and Harlem topped Laney 35-13. Both team exited week 5 with 2-0 region records. And both teams put a significant number of players into our weekly highlight reel.

Hephzibah's Week 5 Standouts

Butler's Week 5 Standouts

Harlem's Week 5 Standouts

Laney's Week 5 Standouts

The next post from AugBball, due Thursday evening, will preview our featured games for this Friday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dequan Dorsey, Jordan Stringer and Cameron Garnett are the first to be featured in new "Player Spotlight" series; plus an update to the weekly schedule for coverage at the AugBball blog

Dequan Dorsey celebrates a touchdown after recovering a fumble in the end zone.

We have a new addition to our weekly high school sports coverage, and that is the “Player Spotlight” series, which debuts tonight with a close look at 2 players from Harlem, and one from Laney, using footage captured at one of AugBball’s 5 featured games from last weekend.

I know for Harlem’s Dequan Dorsey the “highlight” of the day (see above) from Saturday’s win over Laney was when he recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. But tonight’s “spotlight” will be on Dorsey’s penetration into Laney’s backfield, which enabled the Bulldogs to stop the Wildcats' running attack cold when it counted most:

My camera missed most of the important runs by Harlem's star rusher A.J. Brown Saturday. I didn't capture the long gainer that put Harlem on Laney's 1 yard line to set up a short touchdown run on the team's second drive when Harlem took a 14-0 lead. I missed the long run that ended in Dorsey's touchdown on a fumble recovery to put the Bulldogs ahead 21-13. And I wasn't filming when he broke a 63 yard touchdown run to give Harlem another 2 touchdown lead at 28-13 in the third quarter.

One player was able to slow AJ Brown, one time.

The only player who was able to even temporarily slow down Brown - well kind of, and very temporarily - was Laney’s stellar sophomore Jordan Stringer, who, probably with about a 2 yard head start, was able to force Brown out of bounds at the 25 yard line on the opening kick-off, which Brown ran back 60 yards. I can’t honestly say Jordan ran AJ down on that play. But I will say that from every angle, Brown appeared to be GONE. I think very few players would have stopped a touchdown on that play (see below), especially players with Jordan’s frame (6’1” 195 lbs) and his young age (sophomore):

Another sophomore with a big frame and great agility, of course, is Harlem’s Cameron Garnett. At 6’1” 205 pounds, he showed Saturday during his two touchdown runs both his power, and his speed.

The great thing about Cameron is he’s equally good on both sides of the ball, as his play on defense here shows when he gets a pair of tackles on third down and fourth down in the third quarter to turn Laney over on downs and stop the Wildcats’ momentum after they had scored on the previous two drives:

Updated High School Sports Coverage Schedule


You can find full highlights and more from the games featured by AugBball the prior weekend each Monday. Here is the link to the week 5 recap:


The player spotlights like the one posted here today will release on Tuesdays.


Wednesday will continue to be the day when player profile videos are released. When tomorrow’s edition goes live, 15 players from 4 teams will be featured. That will make 40 players from 10 teams whose highlight footage, class, height and weight will have been logged, shared and stored on the AugBball blog. Here are links to the player profile videos from each week:


Thursday’s will bring the previews for the coming featured Friday night games. I gave a spoiler for the games we are considering for this coming Friday in Monday's recap of last weekend's games.

Weekend Posts

Some time between Friday night very late and Sunday will bring our reactions from Friday night’s games and other special features.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A week 5 review, including full highlight videos from 5 games: The race for first place is on in the 2A region, and Richmond and Aquinas continued to roll

Harlem's AJ Brown continued his run past the area's defenses in Saturday's win.

The beginning of the region schedule for our area’s class 1A and 2A regions has given a post season flavor to the early part of the regular season. Three consecutive wins each by Harlem and Hephzibah, including 2 within their league during the last couple weeks, give those upstart programs the hope of eventually earning the chance for multiple home playoff games come November, a prize only reserved for the region champion. But despite a couple non-league losses to open the season, long time power Jefferson County has revealed no intention to hand over a top spot without a legitimate fight.

All three teams enter week 6 with 2-0 region records. But those conditions are guaranteed not to last because this Friday Jefferson County will invade Harlem in a game that will be televised live on MeTV. And the following Friday will feature a matchup between Hephzibah and Jefferson County. So when October arrives, the class 2A region schedule will be half finished, and the favorite to win the crown will have emerged.

But before we look ahead, let’s take a look at the ways in which each of these teams was able to earn their second region win last weekend. And let’s also take in the high points from the week 5 outings of the area’s only two undefeated teams, Richmond and Aquinas. Richmond, which is yet to be seriously challenged, continued to click on all cylinders. And Aquinas, coming off an emotional rivalry win in front of an electric crowd, has found ways to win regardless of who is healthy enough to play, and what position they on the field they take.

Jefferson County continued its storming of region 4

Jefferson County's Jaden Jenkins stretches to cross the goal line against Josey.

Both the eye test and a glance at the final scores show Jefferson County to be the overwhelming region favorite. The Warriors followed a 57-16 home win over Butler in week 4 with a 56-6 rout over Josey, this time on the road.

Coach J.B. Arnold told AugBball’s Robert Drew about the changes he made after his team suffered two losses to begin the season:

“We learned after the first two weeks, it just wasn't pretty. We had no identity offensively. We had to come up with something," coach Arnold said after the win over Josey. "We thought playing a lot of kids, getting a lot of kids touches, and getting down hill as fast as we can would fit our personality a lot better than any kind of spread offense.”

Harlem stuffed the run and ran past Laney

Harlem showed the ability to stop such a straight forward running attack Saturday. With the exception of two consecutive long drives by Laney that resulted in second quarter touchdowns, the Bulldogs consistently stopped the Wildcats, keeping them from sustaining any drive during the other three quarters.

During Saturday's win and during the team's opener against Aquinas, nose tackle Dequan Dorsey regularly provided penetration up the middle or required multiple linemen to keep him from doing so. That has freed up linebackers Kye Grey, Quest Caines, and Logan Eterlee to meet the runner at the line of scrimmage, and none of them are shy when it comes to making a hit. On the edge is super sophomore Cameron Garnett, who came into the season with a reputation for running the ball but has impressed me with his hard hitting and his ability to contain the rush on the outside on defense.

What remains to be seen is whether Harlem’s run defense can hold up against a team like Jefferson County, which blitzed the Bulldogs 49-0 in Louisville last season. But everything about Harlem’s team looks improved from a year ago. Turnovers and key penalties have been effectively nonexistent in the games I’ve seen. And even the team’s strength from last season, its rushing attack, looks significantly better. Senior tailback AJ Brown has piled up 840 yards and 9 touchdowns in the first four games, and he seems to be brimming with confidence running the ball.

Harlem will reach for new heights Friday against Jefferson County.

All signs point to Harlem being able to take the next step and challenge for a championship. But Friday will bring the first true test of whether that kind of progress has been made.

Hephzibah won third straight behind key plays

Hephzibah will need to get past Glenn Hills Friday on the road before the Rebels will get their shot at the supposed top dog Jefferson County the following week. And the Rebels’ close call against Butler last Thursday should have taught the surging team not to look past any opponent.

If not for a key open field tackle inside the 10 yard line by Ronald Coleman and a subsequent interception in the back of the end zone by Coleman right before halftime, I may not be writing about Hephzibah’s 2-0 start to region play.

But instead of trailing by two scores in the third quarter, Coleman’s heroics kept the Rebels close enough to Butler to allow a pair of scores, one by E’Shawn Mayes and another by by Marshall Chambers, that were enough to let Hephzibah escape with a 16-14 win, their third straight victory.

Aquinas engineered a win to start strong in league play

In the only other area region where league play has begun, Aquinas found a way to start with a win over rival Lincoln County in front of a packed crowd, despite facing significant obstacles. Missing quarterback JP Lambert and running back Ferris Lowery paved the way for a group of players to fill major holes and to prove that the program's #family mantra is more than a meaningless hashtag. In these highlights from Friday's 14-7 victory you'll see Kam Brinson, usually a receiver, filling in at quarterback and completing a key pass to sophomore Joseph Welch, who goes high to make a nice grab. That play set up a score by sophomore Tyler Evans, who scored both of the team's touchdowns. You'll also see a vicious hit on the quarterback by senior John Parrish and consecutive sacks, on third down and fourth down with 1 minute remaining, by Jaden Blount that ended all hopes of a Lincoln County victory.

Aquinas gets this week off before hosting region foe Georgia Military College on September 28. The time for rest and recovery will come in handy for this undefeated family.

Richmond and Torri Taylor showed no sign of slowing down

Richmond continued to take the area by storm Thursday with a commanding 46-20 win on the road against Midland Valley. The Musketeers have yet to be seriously challenged. And Torri Taylor is red hot having followed his Augusta Chronicle Player of the Week performance in week 4 with a 5 touchdown, 215 plus yard rushing game Thursday.

Coming this week at AugBball

Soon I'll share the "player profile" videos from last week's games, and I'll preview the games that will be featured at AugBball in week 6. A teaser is that we are trying to decide which 2 or 3 games to attend between the following:*

North Augusta at Strom Thurmond

Effingham County at Burke County

Jefferson County at Harlem

Grovetown at Thomson

*subject to change

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Previewing AugBball’s Week 5 Featured Games: What they mean and who to watch

Follow @AugBball on Facebook, Twitter, and IG for live coverage!

League play in underway. Who will reach 2-0 this weekend?

Quickly the area regions with 8 or more teams have launched into their league schedules. Georgia’s class 2A, region 4’s pack of nine teams will play its second round of region games this weekend as Hephzibah hosts Butler in an attempt for the Rebels to race to a 2-0 league start after last week’s surprising win over defending champion Screven County. Jefferson County can also claim a 2-0 record with a win at Josey after the Warriors topped Butler 57-16 last Friday. And we’ll get to see a special Saturday duel between two more class 2A teams trying to start 2-0 in region play when Harlem visits Laney in an attempt to follow up on last week’s 22-0 road win over Glenn Hills, a playoff team from last season.

4 teams from the class 2A region can exit the weekend 2-0.

Speaking of the playoffs, these league games carry so much more importance in a region with 9 teams than the more common 5 or 6 team regions in the other classes because every region sends 4 teams to the state tournament, with the top 2 teams earning at least one post season home game.

Previewing the playmakers

In addition to the post season implications of Friday’s games for this region, we can look forward to seeing an exciting group of playmakers in action. Some of them, like Jefferson County’s Jaden Jenkins and Harlem’s AJ Brown, are familiar to most fans. Jenkins, a 6’3” 205 pound senior quarterback, has committed to play at Georgia Southern next season. And Brown has lit up the area with rushing statistics for nearly 1.5 seasons. His 623 yards and 7 touchdowns through 3 games are numbers that have been unmatched area wide.

Rising stars

Also competing in these class 2A region games are a handful of players who are building their reputation as exciting, and, in some cases, young playmakers whom you don’t want to miss. On this list of players to watch during this weekend's coverage are Jaiden Wofford (Hephzibah), Dakale Fluellen (Josey), Jarvis Washington (Laney), Cameron Garnett (Harlem), Marshall Chambers (Hephzibah), Jordan Stringer (Laney), and Thomas Hudson (Butler).

A rivalry game at Aquinas starts things in the class 1A region

Jaden Blount and the Irish will seek revenge, and a region win, in Friday's rivalry game.

Aquinas will try to start region play with a win and to begin the season 4-0 Friday when the Fighting Irish hosts rival Lincoln County. The Red Devils came out on top 12-6 last season in Lincolnton. I documented the work of four of Aquinas’s playmakers after the Irish’s 33-31 win over Harlem in week 2. As you can see in these highlights from Aquinas's recent win at Wilkinson County, defensive playmaker Jaden Blount, who looks the part at 6’3” and 215 pounds, will be a load for the Red Devils to handle on the road.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Week 4 Player Profile videos feature 4 Hephzibah Rebels plus players from Richmond, Harlem, Grovetown, and Screven County

No area team is as hot as Richmond after a 4-0 start.

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 Hephzibah defeated Screven County 27-14, at this link (also included are full highlights from Richmond's 24-14 win at Grovetown and Harlem's 22-0 shutout at Glenn Hills.):

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 North Augusta, South Aiken, Richmond, and Grovetown. Here is the link to the 10 player profile videos I featured in week 3 of the season:

This week's edition (below) again features 10 players, including 5 from the two most surprising teams of the season's first 4 weeks: Richmond (4-0) and Hephzibah (2-1, 1-0). Players from Harlem, Grovetown, and Screven County are also included.

Player Profiles: Week 4





Screven 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.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Week 4 Review: Richmond and Hephzibah continued to surprise and Harlem started 1-0 in region play

Hephzibah made their presence known in their new region with Friday's win.

Hephzibah's 27-14 win over the defending class 2A, region 4 champion, Screven County, in both team's league opener may have been the most surprising thing to happen during the fourth Friday of this season's high school football schedule.

But even the Rebels announcing their arrival in their new region (after playing last season in class 4A's region 4) with a statement win against a traditional power wasn't more surprising than Richmond's rout of its first four opponents has been. Especially impressive have been Richmond’s most recent two dominant wins on the road over Evans, on the third Friday, and Grovetown, two nights ago. After the Musketeers took a 24-0 lead against the Warriors, Richmond had gone on a two game long, 65-7 run against the Knights and the Warriors, two teams that lasted 2 games into last season's class 6A state playoff tournament.

All the Musketeers have done this season is exceed expectations. Fewer than 12 months ago, Richmond dropped a pair of games to Greenbrier and Grovetown by a combined score of 56-7. After Friday's win marked the first time Richmond has started the season 4-0 in last 20 years (credit stat: Ashley Brown), Richmond has continued to earn the title of the area's surprise team.

A result that didn't surprise me was Harlem's 22-0 decision against Glenn Hills. Nor did Laney's 27-6 win over Westside.

With Harlem and Laney both starting 1-0 in class 2A, region 4 play, next Saturday's showdown between the two teams will determine which up and coming team, along with Hephzibah, will get the inside track in the race for one or more home playoff games, which go to the top two teams in the final standings of this nine team region.

South Aiken continued a two-week surge with a 17-6 win at Lexington to even the Thoroughbreds' record at 2-2. I agree with quarterback Jesse Sanders, who said this interception by teammate Hakeem Robinson in Friday's win was the best interception of the season!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Week 3 Player Profiles feature defensive standouts from North Augusta, South Aiken, and Grovetown as well as a pair of offensive standouts from Richmond

The defense has led the way during North Augusta's 3-0 start to the 2018 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 North Augusta defeated Grovetown 31-6, at this link (also included are full highlights from the area's surprise team Richmond's 41-7 pounding of Evans and South Aiken's 14-7 win over Strom Thurmond):

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 Aquinas, Harlem, Lakeside, South Aiken, and Burke County. Here is the link to the 6 player profile videos I featured in week 2 of the season:

This week's edition features a heavy dose players from the defensive side of the ball. North Augusta's defense has been the brightest light shining over the season in these first 3 weeks, so those players will headline this week's Player Profiles:

Player Profiles: Week 3

Defensive Standouts

Offensive Standouts

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.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Full Game Highlights from week 3: North Augusta shut down Grovetown; Richmond surprised Evans; and South Aiken handed Strom Thurmond its first loss

Despite heavy losses to graduation, North Augusta has started the season 3-0.

Richmond emerges as the area's surprise team

"Winning's a lot better than losing" was the perfect way for Richmond Academy's head coach Lyle Burns to react to the Augusta Chronicle's Larry Taylor's question about how pleased he is to have his Musketeers off to a 3-0 start. Richmond has lit up the scoreboard in all three of its season opening wins, averaging 40 points per contest after blitzing Evans 41-7 Friday.

The Musketeers rushed for 299 yards, compared to 50 for the Knights, who fell to 0-3 for the season. Torri Taylor, who has consistently posted big numbers dating back to last season, led the attack with 116 yards on 18 carries. But he got plenty of help from Isiah Dorsey, who rushed for 115 yards on only 8 carries, three of which ended in touchdowns. Also, a fourth Dorsey touchdown was added Isiah's twin brother Israel found the end zone for the final score of the game with a 1 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Quarterback Mason Cobb continued his consistent play, completing 6 of 9 passes for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now that Richmond (class 4A) has proven it can put the same kind of beating on a class 6A opponent like Evans that it did on the class 2A likes of Hephzibah (45-20 in week 1) and Westside (34-0 in week 2), the Musketeers will get to prove Friday was no fluke when they visit another 6A opponent in Grovetown, which fell to 1-2 Friday after a 31-6 loss at North Augusta.

North Augusta stops Grovetown cold to improve to 3-0

On their way to a 31-6 win, the Yellow Jackets smothered Grovetown's offense Friday, holding the Warriors scoreless aside from a touchdown on a second quarter kick return. Linebackers Caree Collier and Chris Torres, as well as safety Derian Gibson, who came into the game with 83 total tackles combined through 2 games, spent much of their time in Grovetown's backfield, disrupting the offense with hard hits, forcing fumbles, and preventing the Warriors from building any rhythm. Before discussing his own play in his post game interview, quarterback Tanner White made sure to give the credit for Friday's win to his teammates on the other side of the ball.

"The defense played a heck of a game. They scored a lot of points for us. They had us in a position to score," White told AugBball's Robert Drew.

White, a senior transfer from Midland Valley who earned the starting spot for the Jackets' opener against Thomson, played more Friday than he was able to in the first two games combined. After sitting out with an injury for almost 6 quarters between halftime of game one and the final four minutes of game 2, White took advantage of his first stretch of extended playing time Friday by throwing a pair of touchdown passes, one to LaMarcus Moore and another to Zion Dobbs, and rushing for another score.

The Jackets will try to extend their winning streak next Friday on the road against Blythewood.

South Aiken reaches the win column

South Aiken grabbed its first win in three tries with a 14-0 decision over Strom Thurmond, which entered Friday on a roll with 2 wins to open the season. AugBball was there to provide this highlight reel from the game, although we regret that one of the two Thoroughbred scores was not captured on film:

Aquinas and Harlem win big

After facing each other last Friday in a game that seemed to me to have no loser, Aquinas and Harlem blew off major steam in blowout road wins at Wilkinson County, where the Irish prevailed 34-12, and Washington Wilkes, where the Bulldogs came out on top 54-25 behind eye popping rushing statistics (251 yards) by senior star AJ Brown.

Finally, staying home and watching two of South Carolina's best class 2A teams on MeTV was a good option because the reports from Barnwell's 21-14 win over Silver Bluff were glowing, both before the game...

And afterwards:

Hopefully I'll be able to catch that replay Sunday on WJBF!