Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Week Two High School Football Review: Wagener-Salley scorches the scoreboard, Jaden Taylor lights it up, Aquinas pulls out a dramatic victory and much more

Kevin Jackson (6) scored 3 touchdowns in Wagener-Salley's win Friday.

During the season's second week, which unlike week one saw all games completed in full and on schedule, we learned more about the area's top performing teams, including the following:

  • Burke County will not simply run over EVERY opponent in its way like it did in week one
  • But Barnwell might
  • Aquinas's offense will most definitely continue to run, but the Irish defense will also stop the run
  • No team runs quite like Wagener-Salley, with its plethora of playmakers
  • Washington County can run against the best teams
  • Lakeside's Jaden Taylor runs AND throws with the best of them
  • So does a new kid on the block, Fox Creek sophomore Jadon Johnson
  • Now a veteran, Hephzibah's Marshall Chambers can also run his way into a highlight reel
  • Strom Thurmond may be poised for quite a run against a slate of larger schools
  • North Augusta and Grovetown's defenses can be counted on to steady things
  • Saluda and Silver Bluff are likely ready for the difficult schedule that lies ahead
  • Cross Creek and Westside are showing positive signs
  • Richmond's defense and special teams are a bright point

Below you will find further details in support of the points made above as well as a view toward this Friday's games of note in the area.

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Week 2 Review

#3 Wagener-Salley 42, Fox Creek 20

AugBball Game of the Week Powered by SUVtv

After a blistering start for both teams which saw a combined 5 touchdowns scored on the first 6 series of the game, Wagener-Salley ran off 30 unanswered points, including 24 in the final 7 minutes of the second quarter, to take a commanding victory on the road. During the closing minutes of the first half, the War Eagles benefitted from the big play capabilities of a trio of speedsters - Kaleb Shaw, Kevin Jackson and Antonio Swedenburg - who all scored touchdowns and accounted for long runs during the decisive stretch.

First Shaw scored the touchdown that, after a 2 point conversion, tied the game at 20 with 6:12 left in the first half. Shaw's scamper was a blurring 68 yard dash that started around the right end, and then quickly sped down the right sideline before it suddenly crossed the middle of the field and ended in the left corner of the end zone.

Minutes later it was Jackson's turn to make a big play. The senior, who rushed for 3 touchdowns and 136 yards on 16 carries, sprang free for a 37 yard gain that eventually led to a 4 yard score that gave Wagener-Salley a 26-20 advantage with 3:43 left in the first half. 

Finally, after a safety caused by a high snap on a Fox Creek punt attempt from their end zone, it was time for Swedenburg to turn on the jets. The junior receiver caught a pass from Gaige Starnes behind the line of scrimmage and ran 23 yards for a touchdown, breaking a couple tackles along the way. After Swedenburg closed the late first half fireworks with a 2 point conversion run, the War Eagles appeared to have taken complete command of the game.

Jadon Johnson - Fox Creek

Fox Creek did threaten to close the gap on their first offensive series of the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Jadon Johnson led the Predators on a drive that stalled in the red zone after a pair of incompletions that were both inches away from turning the game into a one score affair. First Johnson connected with Deavion Scales in the right corner of the end zone, only Scales's foot was on the sideline when he made the catch. Then on fourth down, Johnson's toss to Malik Williams was a little low, and Williams couldn't handle it, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Up to that point, Johnson had played a nearly flawless game in his first start. The sophomore passed for 146 yards and two touchdowns, one to Scales on the first drive of the game, and the other to Jatonious Butler in the second quarter to give the Predators a 20-12 advantage. He also ran for 76 yards and another score.

Aquinas 16, Harlem 13

Jaden Blount - Aquinas

Aquinas handed Harlem a season opening defeat when Colson Brown drilled a 37 yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to cap off a come-from-behind Fighting Irish win. 

Harlem sprinted out to a 13-0 lead, but Aquinas's defense held the Bulldogs to zero rushing yards in the second half. The Fighting Irish, on the other hand, piled up 340 yards on the ground. AJ Williams led the way with 157 yards, and Joseph Welch added 76 to go along with 2 second half rushing touchdowns.

Lakeside quarterback Jaden Taylor turned in a noteworthy stat line in the Panthers' 36-21 season opening victory over South Aiken. Taylor completed 16 of 18 pass attempts for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he rushed for another 164 yards and 3 scores on 24 carries. This completion to Zalon Hawes was certainly play-of-the-week material:

Hephzibah 33, Savannah 12

Recruit Georgia determined that the 85 yard touchdown journey taken by Hephzibah's Marshall Chambers was impressive enough to make its list of top plays (see above). Like Lakeside, Hephzibah opened their season with a win after having their game cancelled the Friday before because of the lightning storm.

Richmond 3, Westside 0

Judson Pickett's 30 yard field goal provided the difference in this defensive battle. Westside's defense showed immense improvement compared to recent seasons, but Richmond's defense was even better by not allowing the Patriots near scoring position.

More notes

After manhandling Benedictine in its first game, Burke County met its match on the road at Ware County, falling 23-10.

Barnwell posted more than 60 points for the second consecutive week in a victory over Blackville-Hilda. Last season's South Carolina class 2A state runner up won 62-18 after thumping Williston-Elko 69-14 in week one.

Washington County followed a season opening 42-7 victory over Baldwin on a neutral field with a 28-20 road win over Jefferson County in a non region matchup between teams that reached last season's class 2A state playoff quarterfinals.

Strom Thurmond rebounded nicely from last week's crushing loss to Saluda by thumping Aiken 45-0. The Rebels are the defending champs of their class 3A region, and they will get a chance to prove they can beat up to three more class 4A schools before league play begins. The first opportunity will come this Friday when Strom Thurmond will host South Aiken in WJBF's featured game.

Saluda squashed Ridge Spring-Monetta 41-6 and Cross Creek handled Butler 36-20. And Saluda topped Williston-Elko 20-6 ahead of Friday's challenge against Barnwell.

Finally, Grovetown and North Augusta both earned wins over opponents from each other's region by allowing no touchdowns on defense. Grovetown stomped Midland Valley 27-0, while North Augusta topped Evans 14-7 when Evans scored on a fumble recovery and return by its defense.

The Warriors and the Yellow Jackets, both champions last season in our area's highest classifications - Grovetown in Georgia's class 6A and North Augusta in South Carolina's class 4A - will square off this Friday in the AugBball Football Game of the Week Powered by SUVtv. Both teams took defeats and failed to score in their week one games. Now that each team has evened its record at 1-1, we will get to see which team will take a 2 game winning streak into week 4.

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