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.

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