Though his Grovetown High School football squad dropped a pivotal region contest to Richmond Academy on Friday night 21-0, Rodney Holder remains hopeful.
“Richmond played a great football game tonight,” the Warriors head coach said. “They beat us on our home field. They took it to us.
“But all of our goals are still in sight,” he stressed. “These kids have a chance to do something nobody at this school has done.”
Both Grovetown and Richmond Academy came into the game with hopes of landing a state playoff spot later in the season. It would be the first for the Warriors.
The Musketeers’ win leveled the Region 3-AAA North standings. Both teams are 3-1 in the sub-region, behind unbeaten Thomson.
However, Richmond Academy (4-4) seems to have the advantage. It plays its final sub-region contest at home against Westside, while Grovetown (6-2) travels to Thomson.
Gaining either of the top two seeds out of the North is important because there are two stalwarts, Burke County and Washington County, atop the South.
In the region play-in games, the two No. 1 seeds play each other, while each No. 2 seed plays the opposite side’s No. 3.
On Friday, Musketeers head coach Chris Hughes admitted that Warriors backs Jamal Cummings and Terrell Hughes worried him and his staff.
So they devoted their full attention to the pair.
“Cummings and Hughes are both deadly running backs,” Chris Hughes stressed. “So our plan was to stop them and make them beat us throwing the ball.”
In what Hughes called his team’s “best game all year,” particularly on defense, the Musketeers limited junior Cummings to 20 yards on 12 carries and sophomore Terrell Hughes to 31 yards on six carries.
The Richmond defense limited Grovetown to 144 rushing yards, with 101 coming on a pair of long runs by quarterback Travon Biggers.
He played the entire game under center in place of Hunter Peace, who was out with an undisclosed injury.
While Biggers ran for 93 yards, the Warriors passing game struggled. He finished 4-for-11 for 23 yards, and a last-ditch pass by Cummings on a halfback pass play was intercepted.
Cummings had a potential 57-yard tying touchdown late in the third quarter nullified by a holding call.
Grovetown committed nine second-half penalties for 68 yards.
Cavaliers earn their first playoff berth
Augusta Prep’s chances at the program’s first trip to the playoffs came down to its final regular-season game.
The Cavaliers stepped up, winning 46-20 at East Atlanta with the help of Kevin Huggins’ four-touchdown performance.
It’s the Cavaliers’ first season in a full league, the Georgia-Alabama Independent League. They will play in the first round of the playoffs Saturday in a game held at North Springs High School in Sandy Springs, near Atlanta.
“It’s huge,” Cavaliers head coach Harry Bacheller said. “I told them that, if we can do it this first year, it’s huge for the program. That was our goal.”
The late-season push began with last week’s 28-14 win over Anderson that featured a fourth-quarter flourish.
Down late, the Cavaliers (5-3) scored 21 unanswered points in the final quarter.
On Friday, Huggins – getting the bulk of the carries at fullback while Nolan Brandon works to get over an injury – continued his strong play.
He ran 140 yards on 25 carries and caught two passes for 47 yards.
Augusta Prep also got a boost from its passing game, as Jack Owen went 6-for-7 for 144 yards.
That aspect has picked up in recent weeks, as receivers Franklin Sims and Jonathan Long have recovered from early injuries.
Lions score in many ways
Augusta Christian’s two offensive touchdowns would’ve been enough against Pinewood Prep.
But the Lions also got touchdowns via fumble return (66 yards by Perin Quarles), punt return (75 yards by Adonis Roberson) and blocked punt return (5 yards by Dominique Miles) in a 36-10 road victory.
It helped Augusta Christian move to 7-2 on the season in advance of Friday’s clash with Hammond (8-1).
Wolfpack fall on road
Trying for its third consecutive victory in region play, Greenbrier dropped a 38-35 contest at South Effingham.
Down 38-21 early in the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack (4-4, 2-2 Region 2-AAAA North) fought back.
Cody Turner found Rhett Stanley for a 12-yard touchdown pass, then Jamario Thompkins blocked a punt for a score with 30 seconds to go to get his team within three.
Jahvon Hardrick had a pair of touchdowns runs, 2 and 9 yards, while Jeremy Harden had a 65-yard score.
Knights snap losing streak
Coming in with four consecutive losses, Evans broke the losing streak with a 28-27 road win over Effingham.
Joacinto Grimes’ 69-yard touchdown run and Myles McDavid’s run on the 2-point conversion tied the game at 14 in the third quarter, then Ronnie Graham’s 2-yard touchdown later in the quarter gave Evans the lead.
Grimes’ second touchdown, on a 5-yard run with 3:28 to go, regained the lead for the Knights (3-5, 1-3 Region 2-AAAA North).
Effingham missed an extra point with 11 seconds remaining to fall a point short of forcing overtime.
Harlem remains winless
Harlem gained 264 rushing yards and mostly held Westside’s offense in check, but the Bulldogs fell 21-6 in a Region 3-AAA North matchup.
Harlem (0-8, 0-4) had 15 first downs to Westside’s eight, but couldn’t earn its first win of the season.