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Lakeside football squad makes a statement, earns state playoff spot

Golden Hawks too strong for Warriors

Posted: November 9, 2011 - 1:16am  |  Updated: November 9, 2011 - 2:40am
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Brunswick's Avery Sweeting picks up yards as teammate Ahmaud Arbery takes out Lakeside's Robby Bishop with a block.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Brunswick's Avery Sweeting picks up yards as teammate Ahmaud Arbery takes out Lakeside's Robby Bishop with a block.

Twitter @JWilliamsCCNT

As head coach of the Lakeside High School football program, Jarrett Troxler has heard it all.

He’s heard that the Panthers are overrated. He’s heard that Columbia County and Augusta don’t have strong football programs.

Troxler heard the same thing heading into Friday night’s Region 2-AAAA play-in game against Brunswick.

The coach believes his squad made a statement and silenced some of the chatter with a 33-12 victory that sent Lakeside to the state playoffs after missing out last season.

The Panthers will travel to Warner Robins on Saturday for the first round.

“Our kids are sick and tired of being told that they can’t play football ... and there’s no football in the Augusta area,” Troxler said.

“It’s not that it was Bruns-wick saying that, but (it’s being said) around the state. Our kids get tired of hearing that, and I get tired of hearing that.”

Running back Johnathan Long was the catalyst on a night when Lakeside (6-4) didn’t complete a pass.

A 99-yard touchdown run capped off a career day for the senior. He amassed 244 yards and three scores.

By the time Lakeside was backed up to its own 1-yard line, Long already had logged more than 30 carries.

Still, he managed to outsprint a defender with the help of some inspirational words.

“One of my favorite quotes (is from) Herschel Walker. He said, ‘The ball ain’t heavy, right?’ ” the senior said of relishing both the heavy workload and an opportunity to outrun a defender.

“I ran all summer for this,” he added. “I’m conditioned for this. I’m prepared for it.”

A strong defensive effort also bolstered the Panthers in the victory.

Just as Lakeside had done in the first half en route to a 26-6 halftime lead, the Pirates started strong in the second.

Quarterback Cory Dixon’s 1-yard plunge brought the Pirates within 14 points late in the third quarter.

However, every time the Pirates seemed ready to steal the momentum, the Panthers defense held.

Four times, Lakeside forced a turnover on downs.

The most pivotal one came early in the fourth quarter, as Brunswick used a pair of fourth-and-long conversions to set up first-and-goal from the Lakeside 3-yard line.

The Panthers defense held, opening the door for Long’s 99-yarder.

“We felt like we had to keep sending pressure on them, because obviously they’re too fast,” said junior linebacker Javeon Brigham, who had a pair of sacks to go along with Danny Leonardi’s two interceptions.

“The only thing that was going through our minds is that we had to stop them,” Brigham said of the goal-line stand. “We didn’t want to give them the momentum.”

Golden Hawks too strong for Warriors

Washington County forced three turnovers and held Grovetown’s offense at bay in a 35-3 road win that earned the Golden Hawks a Class AAA state playoff berth.

The game was a Region 3-AAA play-in game.

The Warriors went down 28-3 by halftime. They totaled 85 rushing yards and 81 passing yards.

Corey Stone produced the team’s only points on a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Jamal Cummings had 66 yards rushing to finish out his junior year with 1,289.

Grovetown finishes 6-4.

Wolfpack send coach out a winner

Greenbrier knocked off a strong Wayne County team 42-39 to earn the program’s first non-losing season since 2003.

It was the final game at the helm for Brian Smith, whose resignation as head coach took effect after the season finale.

As the No. 4 seed in their respective divisions, neither team had an opportunity to make the state playoffs.

The contest was a back-and-forth affair in which the Wolfpack (5-5) led early, the Yellow Jackets recovered for a second-half lead, then the Wolfpack recovered and pulled away late.

Cody Turner threw for three touchdowns, while Jahvon Hardrick ran for 183 yards and three scores on 36 carries.

It completed a senior season for Hardrick in which he ran for 1,243 yards.

Wildcats dominate Knights in finale

Evans went down early and couldn’t recover in a 48-7 loss to visiting Richmond Hill.

After opening the season 2-1, the Knights (3-7) lost six of seven games to close the campaign.

The Wildcats came in having lost four in a row, but came out strong in the crossover game between teams from the North and South divisions.

Rebels get first win against Bulldogs

In a game between two teams looking for their first win of the season, Hephzibah earned a 35-0 road victory over Harlem.

Hephzibah had come close in its past two contests, tight losses to Cross Creek and Glenn Hills.

It was the fourth time Harlem (0-10) has been shut out this season.

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Comments (2)

Pistol

It is WAY past time for Jimmy

It is WAY past time for Jimmy Lewis to step down as head football coach at Harlem. Every year he comes up with the same excuse, "if we only had the players." You can only use that excuse so long. Lewis has been in charge of the program for over 25 years. I think by that time, if he was worthy of the head football position he would have built a program. Oh, that's right. He doesn't have Dixie Baseball to "help" him build his program. Harlem sports is the laughing stock of the CSRA. It's past time to make a change.

Like I see it

Knights vs Wildcats

Evans coaches clearly lost control of the team. 7 personal fouls and 2 players ejected. It even got ugly after the game between a parent and a coach.
Evans coaches need to start over and teach these boys how to block and tackle then maybe things will turn around.

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