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Athlete Spotlight: Pair of sophomores have helped Augusta Prep to football playoffs

Nate Pylant, Kevin Huggins - Augusta Prep

Posted: November 1, 2011 - 11:12pm  |  Updated: November 2, 2011 - 1:51am
Nate Pylant (left) and Kevin Huggins have been standouts for Augusta Prep, which has earned its first playoff spot in football.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Nate Pylant (left) and Kevin Huggins have been standouts for Augusta Prep, which has earned its first playoff spot in football.

Twitter @JWilliamsCCNT

There were times early in the 2011 high school football season when Augusta Prep’s option offense looked more like a work in progress than a finished product.

Oct. 21 was not one of those times. In a game the Cavaliers had to have to clinch the program’s first playoff berth, the Cavaliers racked up 390 yards of offense in a 46-20 win over East Atlanta.

For Nate Pylant, the impressive totals weren’t the most impressive aspect.

It was the way Augusta Prep did it that made it so enjoyable.

The option attack is all about execution. On this day, the execution was so good that East Atlanta couldn’t stop what it knew was coming.

“As the game went on, it got to where, in the second half, we ran the same play about 20 times in a row,” Pylant noted.

“It was just over and over again, and they couldn’t stop it,” he said with a smile. “It’s not only fun to do, but it’s just fun to watch. You just take it to them and they don’t know what to do.”

The game showed how far the Cavaliers have come in their first full varsity season. It’s a campaign that still has not come to a close, as Augusta Prep wrapped up its first postseason victory with a 35-12 win over Home School Depot on Saturday night.

Pylant and fellow sophomore Kevin Huggins have been a big part of the team’s success.

In the past three games, Huggins has run for seven touchdowns and totaled 451 rushing yards.

He’s done so while taking the majority of the team’s carries at fullback after Nolan Brandon went down with an injury. Because of his heavy workload, he’s stuck to just offense instead of playing on both sides of the ball.

“It’s gotten a lot better from the beginning of the season,” Huggins said of the offense. “At first, we were sort of mixing up the plays. We’d mess up a little bit. Now, we’ve learned to mesh better, and the line’s getting way better.”

Huggins said he’s still getting the hang of things in his second year of playing.

For Pylant, the experience has been a bit different because he was one of the Prep players who began playing in middle school.

That means he’s had one additional year to learn the system put in place by head coach Harry Bacheller.

The first taste of playoff football was special for Pylant and the rest of the Cavaliers.

“I’m considered one of the ‘oldies’ around here,” Pylant joked. “But this is still a first for me. It’s kind of that first experience for all of us as a team together.”

Pylant has been one of the leaders on defense at safety.

He’s also somewhat of an all-purpose player for the offense, lining up at different times as a running back, as a receiver and at quarterback.

For Bacheller, the playoff run is the capper in a season full of positives.

This is an extremely young team that he says has already learned the ins and outs of traveling, having played all but one game this season on the road.

He said that Augusta Prep might make the jump to the Georgia Independent School Association or the South Carolina Independent School Association next season, making this playoff experience an invaluable one.

“It’s another learning step,” he said. “Getting this experience now, we’ll have a chance to correct whatever we did wrong this year.

“We can learn from it.”

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