Monday, September 30, 2019

Red Hot Wagener-Salley and Hephzibah Win Big and Stay Undefeated

Wagener-Salley' Jhuatieq Davis rushed for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns in Friday's win.

Wagener-Salley and Hephzibah, two of the area's hottest teams, extended their impressive play into the heart of their respective region schedules with blowout victories at home last Friday.

Wagener-Salley 49, Blackville-Hilda 12

Wagener-Salley, ranked #2 in the latest South Carolina class 2A writers poll, made quick work of #4 Blackville-Hilda at home to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in region play. The War Eagles received notable contributions from an abundance of play makers:

Explosive junior AJ Swedenburg scored 2 touchdowns and gained 108 yards on only three receptions. Jhuatieq Davis rushed for 2 touchdowns and gained 108 yards on 9 bruising carries. Quarterback Gaige Starnes added a receiving touchdown (from Kevin Jackson, who also rushed for a score) to go along with his 2 touchdown passes. Jeremiah Bynem led the charge defensively, recording 11 tackles, while Nigel Brown (9 tackles), Ethan Stroman (9), Roderick Williams (7) and Elijah Davis (7) weren't far behind in making stops.

Wagener-Salley will host Williston-Elko (1-4, 0-1) Friday.

Hephzibah 48, Glenn Hills 13

Hephzibah's Marshall Chambers tossed 3 touchdown passes and logged 256 yards in the air in a 48-13 win over Glenn Hills. Chambers' three scoring throws went for 61 yards (to Jaiden Wofford), 38 yards (to E'Shawn Mayes), and 25 yards (to Erick Harris). Mayes caught 5 passes for 101 total yards.

Ronald Coleman (8 tackles) and Nickolas Callen (9 tackles) helped lead an opportunistic defensive effort that included a touchdown by Coleman on a fumble recovery. Callen forced 2 Glenn Hills fumbles. Malachi Louis led the Rebels in tackles with 10.

Hephzibah improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in class 2A region (4) action ahead of this Friday's showdown on the road against defending region champion Jefferson County (3-2, 3-0). First place in the region will be on the line when the Rebels meet the Warriors, who topped Harlem (2-3, 2-1) 42-32 last Friday at home.

Also victorious in class 2A region (4) play last week was Westside (2-2, 2-1), which thumped Josey 49-0.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Middle School Football Review: Full Story and Highlights from Spirit Creek's Comeback Win against Pine Hill, and Highlights from Evans Middle's Win against Grovetown

Javaris Harris (Spirit Creek) scored 3 touchdowns in Tuesday's win.

Spirit Creek overcame a 12 point second half deficit by scoring 14 unanswered in the final 9 minutes of Tuesday's Richmond County middle school game to defeat Pine Hill 28-26 at Cross Creek High School. After fullback Telly Johnson reached the end zone to cut the deficit to 26-20 with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter, running back Javaris Harris scored the touchdown that clinched the victory on fourth and goal from Pine Hill's 5 yard line on a sweep around the right end.

Harris scored three touchdowns in the game, including one right before halftime on a kick off return that reduced Pine Hill's lead to 14-8, and another on the first play from scrimmage of the second half to tie the game at 14.

"That kid is special," Spirit Creek coach Michael Collins said about Harris after the game. "He came to us this year from Tutt. And he's phenomenal."

Harris's first two touchdowns came during a dizzying stretch of play in which the teams scored a combined five touchdowns, three by Pine Hill and two by Spirit Creek, while only 3 minutes and 32 seconds ticked off the clock. The scoring spree began when Pine Hill quarterback Xavier Goss rolled right and hit tight end DeShaun Jones in stride. Jones ran almost the entire length of the field to score an 80 yard touchdown and put Pine Hill ahead 14-2 with 1:29 left in the second quarter.

Pine Hill's Xavier Goss readies for the snap. Goss threw two 80 yard TD passes Tuesday.

Harris immediately answered with a touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff and a 50 yard touchdown run on a direct snap on the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter to tie the game at 14.

Then it was Pine Hill's turn to respond quickly when SyQuan Mack ran 65 yards for his second touchdown of the game to establish a 20-14 lead for the Panthers. And after Pine Hill's Jonathan Underwood recovered a fumble by Harris on Spirit Creek's next series, Goss again rolled right and hit Jones in stride on the exact same pattern as before for another 80 yard touchdown reception that gave the Panthers a 26-14 lead with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter.

Spirit Creek's comeback was powered in part by a pair of drive extending completions between quarterback Kenneth Medlock and receiver Antwain Hendrieth. Hendrieth leapt high into the air to grab the ball and then wrestle it away from a defender for a key first down late in the third quarter. And he adjusted to an under-thrown and wobbly pass to make a key catch that created a first-and-goal opportunity for the Dolphins on the deciding drive.

Antwain Hendrieth (Spirit Creek) made two key receptions in the second half.

The comeback was completed when Ahsean McCladdie recovered a Pine Hill fumble with just over 3 minutes remaining, allowing Spirit Creek to run out the clock after Harris and Telly Johnson each converted a first down on offense. McCladdie also recorded a tackle for a safety in the second quarter.

"It just took a lot of determination, a lot of grit," coach Collins said when asked how his team was able to come back from a 12 point deficit twice and eventually win the game. "Our players stuck together and fought, and we had great coaching from our staff."

With the win, Spirit Creek improved to 3-0 for the season, and Pine Hill fell to 1-1-1.

Evans Middle starts 5-0 in Columbia County league

Evans Middle improved to 5-0 in the Columbia County league with a win over Harlem Tuesday to follow up on last week's 14-0 victory over Grovetown Middle (highlights above). Grovetown stands in second place with a 4-1 record.

Zyaire Douglas (Evans) snagged an interception in the win over Grovetown last week.

Quarterback Noah Story rushed for two touchdowns in the win over Grovetown. The Knights dominated the matchup, possessing the ball for the great majority of the game while only allowing Grovetown's offense into Evans' half of the field once, and only for a brief period.

Middle School Playoff Dates

Columbia County will be the first league to play its championship game on Tuesday, October 8.

Brenden Reynolds (Evans)
The leagues that include the middle schools in the area's outlying counties will play their semifinal round on Wednesday, October 9, and their championship game a week later on October 16.

Cervantes Felts (Thomson)
Richmond County's semifinal round will also take place on October 16, and the championship game will be held the following Tuesday, October 22.

Finally, the private school finals will be Thursday, October 24, and Aiken County will have its champion decided on October 30.

Kennedy Middle's Druw Kirkland (8), Demario Saxon (3) and Carlos Ponce (2)

AugBball will cover as much of the championship rounds, and as much of the regular season games leading up to them, as scheduling will allow.

Links to recent middle school and JV football coverage

Evans Middle improves to 2-0 with 34-0 win over Greenbrier

Jefferson County JV tops Thomson after a fourth quarter comeback

Story, highlights, pictures and interviews from Kennedy Middle's comeback against Silver Bluff as well as a round up of middle school ball from around the area

Monday, September 23, 2019

Week 5 Football Review: #9 Swainsboro topped #6 Washington County, local 2A region play heats up on the Georgia side, and class 1A is underway in SC and GA

Cedric (7) and Fredrick (8) Seabrough combined for 11 receptions, 193 yards and 2 touchdowns Friday.

In a battle between top 10 (in Georgia's class 2A) teams, Swainsboro overwhelmed Washington County with a balanced offensive attack and a stingy and opportunistic defense. The Tigers upended the Golden Hawks 27-7 on the road in a highly anticipated non-region matchup, improving to 3-1 for the season, and giving Washington County (3-1) its first loss. Swainsboro took a commanding lead early, scoring touchdowns on drives that covered 65, 74 and 80 yards the first three times it possessed the ball to establish a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter in a game that never seemed in doubt after that surge.

Senior quarterback Kade Youmans threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Swainsboro's twin brother receiving duo of Cedric and Fredrick Seabrough were on the receiving end of both touchdown strikes and the great majority of the passing yards, as Cedric notched 114 yards on 8 receptions, and Fredrick gained 79 yards on 3 catches.

"It's just trusting them," Youmans said after the game when asked about connecting so frequently with the 6'4" brothers, who are both juniors. "Just trusting they're gonna be there. And then delivering. That's all it was."

Kade Youmans - Swainsboro

Washington County's lone score came on a 68 yard touchdown run by Shamarcus Poole immediately after Swainsboro's third scoring drive, making it a two score game at the half. The Golden Hawks penetrated Swainsboro's side of the field on their first two third quarter possessions only to turn the ball over both times, first when KJ Starnes jarred the ball loose after a Washington County completion over the middle, and next when Fredrick Seabrough recovered a fumble on a botched transaction in the WACO backfield near Swainsboro's goal line.

A fourth quarter connection between Youmans and Cedric Seabrough on a jump ball in the endzone that Seabrough used his height and athletic ability to snag with little trouble put Swainsboro ahead 27-7 in the fourth quarter.

"I just knew that my guy's bigger than theirs, and my guy's a better athlete," Youmans said about finding Cedric high above the fray. "That's what I tell myself. I just give him a chance to make a play."

Swainsboro's Robert Allen rushed for 125 yards on 18 carries, and Youmans reached the end zone twice on quarterback sneaks from short yardage to round out the offensive attack for the Tigers.

Both teams will take this Friday off before beginning their respective six game region schedules on Friday, October 4.

More Week 5 Results

Barnwell improved to 5-0 with a 28-21 overtime win over Wade Hampton, which entered the game undefeated after four games. Barnwell, the #2 ranked team in South Carolina's class 2A, benefitted from 21 tackles (13 solo) by standout junior linebacker DeShawn Watson.

Ben Lippen 35, Augusta Christian 14

AugBball Game of the Week Powered by SUVtv

Favorites step forward in area's class 2A (GA) region

The same four teams (Jefferson County, Hephzibah, Harlem and Screven County) that qualified for the state playoffs last season in the local class 2A region have already established a lead in this season's 8 game league schedule.

Carlton Brown (Quarterback) - Jefferson County
Jefferson County (2-2, 2-0) thrashed Josey 53-0 to set up a showdown with Harlem (2-2, 2-0) this Friday. Harlem breezed past Laney 34-6 behind 155 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns from junior Cameron Garnett. The Bulldogs also got 2 receiving touchdowns and a touchdown on a punt return from Cedric Cullars.

Cameron Garnett (Harlem)

Hephzibah improved to 3-0 for the season and 2-0 in region play with a 35-6 road win over Butler. Junior quarterback Marshall Chambers completed 6 of 10 passes for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns. And Chambers rushed for another 104 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries. If the Rebels get past Glenn Hills (1-2, 0-1 ) at home this Friday, an October 11 matchup between Jefferson County and Hephzibah will factor significantly in the region standings at the halfway point of the league schedule.

Marshall Chambers (Hephzibah)

Screven County (3-1, 1-1) rebounded from a loss at home to Hephzibah two weeks ago with a 15-9 win Friday at Westside (1-2, 1-1).

DaCalvin Williams (Screven County)

Class 1A league play is underway in SC and GA

All eight local class 1A teams, four in Georgia and four in South Carolina, opened region play Friday. Six came away with a win.

Undefeated Wagener-Salley marches into week 6.

Wagener-Salley (4-0), which entered the season ranked third in the class, routed Hunter-Kinard-Tyler 54-0. And Blackville-Hilda (3-1) topped Denmark-Olar 37-14 to set up an important road game at Wagener-Salley this Friday.

Collier Sullivan (RSM) rushed for 2 touchdowns in Friday's win.

Also coming this Friday will be another matchup between local class 1A teams that were victorious in week 5. Ridge Spring-Monetta (2-2, 1-0), which beat North 60-8, will take on Williston-Elko, which recorded its first win Friday by topping Estill 44-16.

Aquinas and Washington-Wilkes each edge rivals to start region play 1-0

AJ Williams (Aquinas)

On the Georgia side of area class 1A play, Aquinas improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the region with a 10-7 road win over Lincoln County. Senior AJ Williams scored the lone touchdown for the Fighting Irish. And Washington-Wilkes topped Warren County 22-19 in a home game.

Washington-Wilkes (2-2, 1-0) will travel to Hancock Central (2-2, 1-0) this Friday. Both Lincoln County (2-2, 0-1) and Warren County (2-2, 0-1) will have a chance to earn their first region win when they square off against each other this Friday in Warrenton. Aquinas is off until October 4 when the Fighting Irish will travel to GMC.

More week 5 results

Monday, September 16, 2019

Hephzibah, Westside and Harlem opened region play with a win and these are the highlights, statistics and stories from the opening night of class 2A league play

Javeon Harris (4) - Hephzibah

The fourth week of the high school football season was headlined by the beginning of region 4-AA action. Because of postponements caused by lightning Friday night, the last of the opening four games in that league won't be decided until Monday night after Butler hosts defending region champion Jefferson County. But regardless of how that game unfolds, Hephzibah's 35-27 road win over Screven County, Westside's narrow victory at home over Laney and Harlem's thrashing of Glenn Hills ensured that the beginning of conference play proved to be as exciting as we should expect when it comes to region competition, which of course eventually decides which teams will earn a spot in the state playoffs.

Below you will find full game highlights from the first sign of region competition in the area along with as much information as could be gathered over the weekend from the entire area's week four games.

Hephzibah 35, Screven County 27

The visiting Rebels played with poise and benefitted from a string of big plays during the game's most crucial moments by a long list of contributors, securing an important road win over a quality opponent, and improving to 2-0 overall, and 1-0 in region 4-AA action.

First, Javeon Harris ran back a Screven County kick off 70 yards for a touchdown to give Hephzibah a 7-6 lead right after the Gamecocks had scored on their first drive on a quarterback keeper by Austin Markovcic. Then after both teams took turns losing possession on a fumble, Hephzibah defensive back Jecori Johnson swung the momentum back towards his team's side with a diving interception after making a break on a Markovcic pass over the middle. Then quarterback Marshall Chambers extended Hephzibah's good fortune with two touchdown passes, one to Angelo Mosher, and the other to Erick Harris, giving the Rebels a 21-6 heading into halftime.

Marshall Chambers rolls right and looks for a receiver in Friday's win over Screven County.

Chambers was brilliant in engineering his team's only two offensive scoring drives of the game, both before halftime, by which time he had recorded 118 yards passing and 2 touchdowns throws on only 4 completions. On the first drive, he threw a strike to Harris on the right sideline to earn a first down on fourth and four right inside Gamecock territory. And a couple snaps later he barely avoided a sack, escaped toward the right sideline and waved Mosher down field before hitting him in stride on his way to a 28 yard touchdown that put the Rebels ahead 14-6. Later in the half he showed off a strong throwing arm by heaving a perfect spiral to Harris while rolling to his right for a 65 yard touchdown completion.

"He's not just an athlete. He's a quarterback," Hephzibah coach William Harrell stressed after the game. "And he's out here to make people understand... he's a dual threat quarterback. And he's busting his behind to make sure people understand he can throw and he can run."

But it was the second half when both teams proved they have what it takes to emerge from the region schedule in 8 weeks and represent the league in the playoffs. Screven County bolted out of the locker room to score 13 points in the first 5 minutes when Shemar Cheever reached the end zone on a 50 yard run, which was immediately followed by a PJ Flowers interception that was returned to inside of Hephzibah's 5 yard line. 270 pound lineman Demetrius Boyd then lined up in the backfield, took a handoff and trucked his way into the end zone to cut Hephzibah's lead to 21-19 with 7:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But the swing in momentum towards Screven County was instantly reversed when on the ensuing kickoff Harris sprinted 85 yards for a Rebel touchdown. Moments later, Hephzibah safety Enoch Howard recovered a Screven County fumble on a botched pitch inside the Gamecocks' 5 yard line, which led to a Ronald Coleman touchdown run and a Jalen Gibson 2 point conversion to give Hephzibah a 35-19 lead. And there was still 4:00 remaining in the third quarter!

Enoch Howard (8) and Jalen Gibson (70)

Howard and Jecori Johnson, who between them accounted for three of Hephzibah's five takeaways, talked after the game about the "family bond" that they say defines their team, which is believable after seeing the way this group, which is fresh off a school record 8 win season, responded to adversity Friday and stuck together through the difficult stretches that come with playing against a good team on the road in league play.

"At Hephzibah we play for more than just us. This is really just a family bond," Johnson said. "Everybody here just loves each other and at the end of the day, no matter how down we are... we're gonna keep fighting besides each other. And I would never like to play for nobody but Hephzibah."

Howard told me in the post game interview he played middle school football with Johnson, and he said he and Johnson have been playing with other current teammates Gibson, (Erick) Harris, Chambers and E'shawn Mayes for years. He was also quick to give credit to others when talking about his own impact on the game in making 8 tackles from the strong safety position:

"They (Gibson and fellow defensive tackle Raul Rodriguez) were just messing up the whole play. It started up front with the D-line," Howard explained. "Them boys held their ground, and I'm really proud of them."

Hephzibah's defense held Screven County to 227 yards rushing, which is 130 yards fewer than its per game average in the first two weeks of the season when the Gamecocks earned close wins over Bluffton and Southeast Bulloch. Along with Howard, a host of Rebel defenders deserve credit for getting the job done, including Nickolas Callen (13 tackles), Dale Mealing (13), Malachi Louis (8) Rodriguez (7), Gibson (7), Ivan Arroyo (6) and Jaiden Wofford (6).

But the deciding play came with less than 4 minutes remaining when Johnson answered a third and final Screven County lunge back into contention. The Gamecocks had just pulled to within one score on Cheever's second rushing touchdown of the game and then immediately forced a Hephzibah three-and-out. On first and 10 from the Hephzibah 41 yard line, Markovcic threw another pass into Johnson's territory. This time instead of diving for the pick, Johnson caught it in stride and ran it back across midfield before being forced out on the left sideline into the Rebel bench, where his teammates, or as he would put it, his "family," greeted him and thanked him for sealing the all important win.

"I'm not gonna lie to you... It took me like three steps to realize I had the ball," Johnson told me after the game about his game clinching interception. "All I know is you just go. You can't be thinking about 'who's over here, who's over there?'"

Westside 6, Laney 0

Maddox Hankinson kicked field goals of 42 and 36 yards to provide the difference on the scoreboard and give the Patriots their first win of the season. Hankinson also did his part in pinning Laney deep in their own territory several times, recording a touchback on all three of his kick off's, and also booting a 50 yard punt.

The other necessary ingredient in Westside's winning its region opener despite failing to cross the goal line for the second time in two games this season was a defense that, in coach Jon Wiley's words, is "stacked with ball players." The unit hasn't given up a touchdown in eight quarters against Richmond and Laney, and it can boast of these accomplishments in Friday's game:

  • 7 forced turnovers (4 fumbles, 2 interceptions, 1 on downs)
  • Allowed only 134 yards on 50 snaps (a large snap count due to Westside's struggles on offense)
  • Recorded 14 tackles for a loss
  • Recorded 4 sacks while forcing Laney into completing only 4 of 20 passes

Harlem 35, Glenn Hills 0

Junior phenom Cameron Garnett was 100% for an entire game for the first time this season, and the statistics for both his team and himself reflected that fact. According to the Augusta Chronicle's Will Cheney, Garnett rushed for two touchdowns and 152 yards on 20 carries. Sophomore Jeremiah Ellis also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs, who improved to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in region play.

Jefferson County at Butler (Monday, 6:00 P.M.)

Follow the @AugBball social media timeline for video highlights and updates from this special "Monday night football" game that was rescheduled because of Friday's weather troubles. Both teams enter the contest 0-2, but Jefferson County's losses came to a pair of top 10 teams in Swainsboro and Washington County. The Warriors also started last season with a pair of losses against the same two teams before they ran off 10 straight wins to claim a region title and advance to the class 2A state playoff quarterfinal round.

More Week 4 Results

Besides unbeaten and unchallenged Barnwell, no area team is hotter right now than Strom Thurmond (3-1), which blitzed Midland Valley 40-0 last night for its third straight victory over a local class 4A team. Thurmond is the defending champion of its 3A region. The Rebels will visit Emerald next Friday.

Silver Bluff 42, Denmark-Olar 14 

Grovetown 13, Richmond 7 

Jose Taylor scored on a 71 yard touchdown run and Kori Bryant also rushed for a touchdown from a yard out.

Fox Creek 20, McCormick 14 - OT

Augusta Christian 19, Cardinal Newman 14

Friday, September 13, 2019

Screven County vs Hephzibah headlines tonight's 4 game class 2A region schedule opening slate

Region play begins tonight for our area’s class 2A Georgia teams, so AugBball will report live from Hephzibah’s game at Screven County to help kick off the first region race of the 2019 season. Here are the 4 region schedule openers on tonight’s schedule:

Hephzibah (1-0) at Screven County (2-0)

The Rebels are being talked about as the favorite because of last season's 27-14 victory over Screven County and Hephzibah's 7-1 region record a year ago. I bet coach William Harrell is counseling his players to give the Gamecocks the proper amount of respect because even though they finished fourth last season in this 9 team league, Screven County until then had always been considered a near lock to finish in one of the region's top two spots along with Jefferson County.

Screven County RB Gary Hawkins (left) and tackle DaCalvin Williams (right).

Screven County has gotten off to a strong start running the football. Senior Gary Hawkins rushed for a combined 427 yards and 7 touchdowns in the team's 44-41 win over Bluffton and its 26-23 victory over Southeast Bulloch.

Jalen Gibson (70), Raul Rodriguez (65) and Dominique Morris (89)

Hephzibah will counter with a strong defense led by a very capable front 4 in Raul Rodriguez, Jalen Gibson, Ivan Arroyo and Dominique Morris, as well as Dale Mealing, who filled in for an injured Morris in the team's 33-12 win over Savannah two weeks ago. The Rebels recorded 8 sacks in that game, and the entire defense, which also includes standouts Enoch Howard, Ronald Coleman and Jaiden Wofford, will have its hands full with the Gamecock rushing attack.

Hephzibah quarterback Marshall Chambers

If Hephzibah is unable to stop Screven County on the ground, the pressure will shift to junior quarterback Marshall Chambers and his capable receiving corps, which includes speedy senior receiver Erick Harris and versatile senior tight end E'Shawn Mayes.

Whether or not the defense can contain Hawkins and company on the ground, Hephzibah's offense can certainly put points on the scoreboard. So tonight's region opener has all the makings of a playoff caliber game played in early September, which would be a great way to begin the 2019 region race!

Other Region Games

Jefferson County (0-2) at Butler (0-2)

Jefferson County linebacker Kydran Jenkins, who has committed to Purdue.

The Warriors enter tonight's matchup in the exact same position as they did last season, having lost their first two games against top 10 level teams. From this spot last year, Jefferson County proceeded to run off 10 straight victories on its way to the class 2A quarterfinal state playoff round finish.

Laney (1-1) at Westside (0-1)

Both teams have new coaches and both have shown evidence of improvement already. But a limited amount of action up to this point makes tonight's game impossible to predict. The only sure thing will be that one of the teams will feel like it is on top of the world after a region opening victory tonight.

Laney linebacker Jordan Stringer (2)

Laney's junior linebacker and running back Jordan Stringer is one of the area's very best players. He makes an impact on nearly every snap. And because Westside was unable to get on the scoreboard in its 3-0 loss to Richmond, one would expect Stringer to be salivating at the chance to get into the Patriot backfield and wreak havoc.

Glenn Hills (1-1) at Harlem (0-2)

The film from the Spartans' 18-14 win over Cross Creek paints the picture of a bruising Glenn Hills attack that is led by a pair of well put together athletes, Devante Harris (5-11, 225) and Lamarcco Hester (6-1, 235), who play with an edge.

#4 Cameron Garnett (Harlem)

The question I would have about Harlem is whether or not junior phenom Cameron Garnett will play. Reports from Harlem's week one loss at Aquinas said that Garnett was hobbled by cramps. And there was no sign of him in the stat line from last week's loss to Washington-Wilkes. Garnett's availability, or lack thereof, will make an outsize impact.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Story, highlights, pictures and interviews from Kennedy Middle's comeback against Silver Bluff as well as a round up of middle school ball from around the area

Damario Saxon (Kennedy Middle) skies for a reception on a 2 point conversion.

Damario Saxon intercepted a pass on the first play of the third quarter and ran it back for a touchdown to ignite a 14-0 second half run that gave Kennedy Middle School a 16-12 win over Silver Bluff at South Aiken High Wednesday on the opening night of the Aiken County Middle School season. Saxon's pick 6 was one of his two interceptions during the comeback, the second coming on Silver Bluff's final drive when the Bulldogs tried to answer a Javon Edwards touchdown and a 2 point conversion connection between Druw Kirkland and Saxon that gave the Eagles their first lead of the game with 32 seconds remaining.

The go ahead scored by Edwards marked the first successful scoring drive for Kennedy's offense, and much of the progress was made when Edwards rushed around the left end. Edwards credited Saxon and fullback Carlos Ponce for clearing the way for his successful rushes that powered the decisive drive in the final two minutes.

"I saw it open," Edwards said about the touchdown run. "And I saw Damario had him peeled on the inside. The safety couldn't get there in time."

Javon Edwards (Kennedy Middle) celebrates his go ahead touchdown.

Ponce also impacted the game defensively with several tackles, including two in the first half that resulted in a safety. And he rushed for two key first downs, the most important being a 3 yard lunge to the Silver Bluff 38 yard line on 4th and 2 to keep alive the game winning drive.

"That fourth down I think was a really big game changer," Ponce said after the game. "If we didn't get that, I think they would have shut us down immediately."

Carlos Ponce (Kennedy Middle)

Two plays after Kennedy's go ahead score, Saxon sealed the game by out-leaping Silver Bluff's Jordan Boyd for a ball thrown up for grabs by quarterback Malik Scurry. Saxon's grab resembled the play he made that ignited the comeback almost 16 minutes earlier, when skied high for a pick on Silver Bluff's 32 yard line and ran it across the goal line untouched.

"I just think I had to get that one to get us a score," Saxon said of the team's first touchdown of the season. "Down two scores... I had to get it for us. I read the route, saw him throwing it over... jumped up and got it."

Druw Kirkland (8), Damario Saxon (3) and Carlos Ponce (2)

Kennedy's comeback overshadowed a dominant first half by Silver Bluff that was marked by the contributions of several promising playmakers, including running backs Andrew Green and Daniel Jones, receivers DesJuan McCorckle and Jordan Boyd, and quarterback Malik Scurry.

Andrew Green (30) celebrates his second touchdown with Daniel Jones (26).

McCorckle was forced to leave the game just before halftime after he was injured being tackled on Kennedy's 3 yard line after a 65 yard pass completion from Scurry that led to a touchdown connection between Scurry and Green with 1.8 second left in the second quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 12-2 lead at the break.

#30 Andrew Green (Silver Bluff Middle)

The score was the second of the game for Green, whose presence was felt on both sides of the ball, especially in the first half. The stocky running back and linebacker scored on a physical run at the goal line on Silver Bluff's first drive. Then he almost single handedly stopped Kennedy from scoring on their next series by making tackles on first, second and third-and-goal before his teammate Christian Echols did the honors on fourth down.

Kennedy will visit Schofield next Wednesday, and Silver Bluff's second game will be Wednesday, September 25, on the road against North Augusta.

Opening night in Aiken County came one day after the opening round of middle school games in Richmond County. The schedules for the Columbia County league, the Augusta-Aiken Middle School (private) league and the league that contains many of the CSRA's outlying counties have already reached their third week of action. 

Grovetown Middle and Evans Middle win to set up Tuesday's clash of unbeaten teams

Grovetown Middle topped Lakeside 18-0 Wednesday, setting up a clash next Tuesday on the road against Evans Middle, which is also 3-0 after their 22-6 win over Riverside two days ago.

Brenden Reynolds (Evans Middle) finds a running hole against Greenbrier

Evans continued to get contributions from a wide range of skill players in Tuesday's win:

Brenden Reynolds rushed for 125 yds resulting and 2 touchdowns.

Noah Story (Evans Middle)

Noah Story (above) rushed for a touchdown, and Jaden Frails (below) recorded 2 tackles for a loss along with a key tackle on a fourth down play in the fourth quarter.

Jaden Frails (Evans Middle)

Thomson continued to roll, adding a 48-0 win Wednesday over Washington-Wilkes to a 38-0 win last week over Warren County and a 64-6 season opening win two weeks ago against Washington County.

Anthony Jeffrey (Thomson Middle)

Coming Soon - Augusta Christian vs Cardinal Newman (JV)

Augusta Christian will play Cardinal Newman in a JV game Thursday night.

Augusta Christian has established itself as the team to beat in the Augusta-Aiken Middle School league after runaway wins to begin the season over Westminster and EDS. The team will add ninth graders from the school to form a junior varsity squad in today's matchup against Cardinal Newman's JV team. Expect highlights from that game on the @AugBball social media timelines some time Friday.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Week 3 Area Football Review

Bradley Godwin threw 2 touchdown passes in the second half Friday to lead a North Augusta comeback win.

During the third Friday of the season, powerhouses Barnwell, Thomson, Strom Thurmond and Wagener-Salley all sprinted away from their competition. North Augusta, Evans and Glenn Hills each earned come-from-behind victories. And Lakeside, Aquinas, Laney and Ridge Spring-Monetta rolled over their opponents. Below you will find highlights, statistics and more from most of last Friday's notable games.

Comeback Kids

North Augusta 17, Grovetown 16

Quarterback Bradley Godwin and wide receiver Jordan Wilburn connected several times during the second half to spark a 17-0 run that was enough to allow the Yellow Jackets to come back from a 10-0 first half deficit and earn a road win over Grovetown.

"We went into the locker room with all of our heads down," Godwin said after the game about the halftime deficit. "Coach said 'we're a family; we'll come together as one; we're gonna go back out there and do what we do.'"

Godwin, Wilburn and receiver Grayson Bridgers took it from there, marching down the field for three scoring drives on the team's first four series of the second half. North Augusta claimed a 17-10 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game after Godwin hit Bridgers for a 25 yard touchdown pass two plays after Wilburn returned a Grovetown punt deep into Warrior territory.

Jordan Wilburn (North Augusta)

The go ahead score came after a pair of North Augusta drives that both featured Wilburn catching a string of passes on slant routes. The first drive ended with a Yellow Jacket field goal to put North Augusta on the scoreboard for the first time. And almost immediately after regaining possession on the kickoff when Tony Caldwell forced Grovetown's Jose Taylor to fumble at the end of his long return, Wilburn caught another pass from Godwin over the middle to tie the game at 10 at the end of the third quarter.

Grovetown had a chance to tie the game with an extra point with 57 seconds remaining after quarterback Kori Bryant scored on a 16 yard run after completing several passes to put the Warriors in scoring position. But the kick was wide right, and Grovetown's onside kick attempt was fielded successfully by Caldwell.

North Augusta improved to 2-1 by winning its second straight ahead of this week's home game against Blythewood (2-1). Grovetown fell to 1-2. The Warriors will visit Richmond (0-1) Friday.

Glenn Hills 18, Cross Creek 14

The Spartans stormed back from a 14-6 halftime deficit to earn their first win of the young season behind three touchdowns by Devante Harris:

Glenn Hills improved to 1-1 ahead of this Friday's region opener at Harlem (0-2). Cross Creek (2-1) will travel to Swainsboro (1-1) Friday.

Evans 20, Richmond 10

Evans improved to 2-1 by allowing its lowest point total of the season, which is saying something because the Knights only surrendered 16 to Effingham County in week one, and 14 to North Augusta in week two.

Jalen Walton (above) leads Evans in tackles.

The Mighty Roll

Barnwell 42, Silver Bluff 7

Craig Pender (Barnwell)

Barnwell's 42-7 win almost underwhelmed after the #2 ranked (South Carolina class 2A) Warhorses scored 69 and 62 points in their first two victories. Silver Bluff forced Barnwell quarterback Craig Pender to work hard for his 4 touchdown passes, as you can see below on the team's first scoring drive, via footage from the Aiken Standard Game of the Week broadcast (click for full game).

There aren't many high school quarterbacks making reads like Pender did there, which has to at least partially explain why he has been able to post 9 touchdown passes in only 3 games so far.

The Warhorses (3-0) and Bulldogs (1-1) both play special Thursday night games this week. Barnwell will face Burke (0-2) at The Citadel, and Silver Bluff will host Denmark-Olar (0-2).

Wagener-Salley 74, Eau Claire 0

Jakobe Schofield (Wagener-Salley)

The War Eagles lived up to their #2 ranking (South Carolina class 1A) by posting an even larger number than their fellow #2 ranked peer Barnwell has been known to do.

Wagener-Salley's offensive line led the rout by paving the way for 320 rushing yards on only 19 carries for an eye popping 16.8 yards per carry. Coach Willie Fox's linemen don't resemble many class 1A teams because the War Eagles have an abundance of size in the trenches.

Take #75 Jakobe Schofield, a 6-5, 302 pound senior for an example:

And Wagener-Salley's size advantage is matched by that of its speedsters on the outside. AJ Swedenburg covered 98 yards and scored 2 touchdowns while touching the ball 3 times Friday. The junior scored on one of his two receptions. He also recovered a fumble and took it 51 yards to the house.

Another standout performer was the multi-faceted 6-4, 250 pound junior tight end and defensive end Elijah Davis, who recorded 5 tackles for losses and also scored on a 47 yard touchdown reception.

Wagener-Salley (3-0) is off this week before region play begins on the road against Hunter-Kinard-Tyler on September 20.

Thomson 35, Eagles Landing 0

The Bulldogs recorded their second shutout win in two tries to start the season, holding Eagles Landing to 66 yards of total offense. Junior linebacker Skylar Lewis returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown to go with his 11 tackles, 2 of which were for a loss. And senior Dylan Hobbs notched another 9 tackles.

Dylan Hobbs (Thomson)

The Bulldogs (2-0) will face Clarke Central (2-1) at home this Friday.

Strom Thurmond 42, South Aiken 27

The #3 ranked (South Carolina class 3A) Rebels exceeded 40 points for the second straight week behind standout performances from three veteran producers:

Strom Thurmond (2-1) will go on the road for its next three contests, beginning with this Friday's game at Midland Valley (0-2).

More from Week 3

Lakeside 45, Duluth 21

The Panthers scored 36 points in the third quarter, and senior quarterback Jaden Taylor posted his second player-of-the-week worthy stat line in two games. The veteran quarterback is doing his part to make sure Barnwell's Craig Pender doesn't run away with all of the quarterback praise.

Lakeside (2-0) has this Friday off before the Panthers host Aiken (0-3) on September 20 in a game that will be featured as WJBF's game of the week.

Aquinas 47, Wilkinson County 7

AJ Williams and Joseph Welch each ran for a pair of touchdowns, and defensive end Jaden Blount recorded 5 tackles for losses in Aquinas's third victory in three tries. Welch also gained 115 yards receiving. The Fighting Irish have a bye this week before traveling to Lincoln County (1-1) for their first region contest on September 20.

Jaden Blount (Aquinas) makes a tackle in the backfield against Laney in week one.

Laney 41, McCormick 0

The Wildcats (1-1) reached the win column to warm up for this Friday's region opening road game against Westside (0-1). Dykese King turned in a strong performance:

Ridge Spring-Monetta 68, Whitmire 28

Remedee Leaphart (Ridge Spring-Monetta)

RSM (1-2) earned its first win ahead of its region opener at North (0-2) one week from this Friday.

Quarterback Remedee Leaphart turned in a stat line for the ages: 5 touchdown passes and 2 touchdowns runs while posting 242 yards through the air and 122 on the ground!

Washington-Wilkes 26, Harlem 14

Senior quarterback Donovan Anthony and sophomore receiver Dalen Cobb connected through the air 8 times for 197 passing yards and a touchdown. Anthony also ran for another two scores for the Tigers (1-1), which will face Stratford (0-2) Friday at home. Harlem (0-2) will host Glenn Hills this week in the first week of region play for the teams.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Jefferson County JV tops Thomson after a fourth quarter comeback

After a long pass completion between Keyshawn Vaughner and Josh Missick gave Jefferson County a key first down with less than 4 minutes remaining, Jamario Kitchens and Justin Gomez finished off a fourth quarter Warrior comeback to give Jefferson County a 13-12 win at home over Thomson in Thursday's junior varsity game. Kitchens crossed the goal line on a short run with 2:30 remaining shortly after Vaughner, who had shouldered most of the rushing load during the game, exited the game after having the wind knocked out of him from a hard hit. Gomez followed up with a successful extra point kick to put the Warriors ahead for the first time. A few plays later, defensive back BJ Thomas ended Thomson's last good attempt to mount its own comeback with an interception near midfield that he returned into Thomson territory.

The late surge by Jefferson County marked the first time in the game that Thomson didn't seem like it was in control of the momentum. Thomson quarterback Jordan Roberts made the most of his only two quarters of action by having a hand in both of the touchdowns scored by the Bulldogs in the first half. First on his team's first possession, Roberts popped a couple nice rushing gains to move the ball from Thomson's own 2 yard line out to the 25. Then Roberts hit Sam Williams in stride on a slant route, and Williams outran everybody in Jefferson County's secondary for the majority of a 75 yard touchdown completion.

Jordan Roberts (Thomson)

Later in the second quarter, immediately after a plodding Warrior drive that ended in a short touchdown run by Vaughner that tied the game at 6, Roberts marched the Bulldogs down the field with several nice runs, including a 10 yard a score that saw Roberts finish standing up, even after he absorbed contact upon crossing the goal line.

More Junior Varsity Results

Silver Bluff and Burke County took Thursday off, but both teams marked the beginning of the 2019 season with blowout wins last week:

More Junior Varsity and Middle School action to come

This is the first season AugBball will cover junior varsity and middle school action in depth. See our first report about the beginning of the middle school season at the link below, and be on the lookout for much more.