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'Pack wins close battle vs. county rival Knights

Posted: October 11, 2011 - 6:41pm
Greenbrier's Jahvon Hardrick tries to break free from Evans' Quincy Carnegia. Greenbrier won 21-17.  Jim Blaylock / Staff
Jim Blaylock / Staff
Greenbrier's Jahvon Hardrick tries to break free from Evans' Quincy Carnegia. Greenbrier won 21-17.

When Jahvon Hardrick crossed the goal line with just 47 seconds left Thursday night, Greenbrier grabbed the lead in a back-and-forth affair with Evans.

Jamal Thompkins, Thomas Brown and the rest of the Wolfpack defense made sure that lead would hold up.

A pair of late sacks by Thompkins and a closing interception by Brown capped off a 21-17 victory for the road team in the matchup between Columbia County and Region 2-AAAA North rivals.

"It's so much energy," Thompkins, a junior defensive lineman, said of the closing stretch of the game. "When I got past the defender, I just saw (the quarterback) and I hit him.

"It's a rivalry game, and we played our best today," he added. "We played our best at the end when we needed to. This is another step for us to make the playoffs this year."

The game's final score was Hardrick's third short touchdown run of the night.

The senior didn't have his typical big-yardage night, as Evans' defensive front held him and Jeremy Harden in check most of the night.

But he said statistics didn't concern him in a hotly contested rivalry matchup.

"I wanted to win; that's all I wanted," said Hardrick, who had 81 rushing yards and added 19 receiving yards. "I wanted to win for the team. Senior year playing Evans, a big rival, and we needed this."

Minutes earlier, Chandler Shoemaker had given the Knights (2-4, 0-2 Region 2-AAAA North) a three-point lead with a 9-yard touchdown run up the middle.

Eddie Johnson started at quarterback for the Knights and had 104 yards passing and 32 rushing, but he turned an ankle in the second half.

Tyler Roberts came in briefly, but the coaches went with Shoemaker down the stretch because Roberts was coming off a shoulder injury.

"He did a good job getting us in there," Evans head coach Marty Jackson said of Shoemaker's go-ahead score.

Evans committed nine penalties for 80 yards, the most costly one being a roughing the passer that put Greenbrier (3-3, 1-1) into Evans territory on its game-winning drive.

Quarterback Cody Turner took advantage, completing passes of 16 and 15 yards to set up Hardrick's heroics.

Evans got on the board first, as Johnson found Jacob Rizner on a 10-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.

Hardrick responded with two scores late in the quarter to put Greenbrier up 14-7 at the half.

On four consecutive offensive series to open the second half, the Knights got into Greenbrier territory. But all they could manage was a 35-yard field goal by Max Wren.

It was the second consecutive week that Evans came up agonizingly short of a region victory.

In a home game one week prior against South Effingham, the Knights saw their final potential go-ahead drive stall in the red zone.

"I hate this for our kids," Jackson said. "I wish they could get some fruits for their labors because they are fighting so hard."

"They never give up," he stressed. "We had a chance to win late again, and we just didn't quite finish it."


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