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Lions can't quite chop down giant

Posted: October 5, 2011 - 4:54pm
Augusta Prep senior Jake Padgett gets pulled down just short of the goal line after a second quarter interception. The Cavaliers used a big first half for a 35-7 homecoming victory over Bethlehem Christian.  Justin Williams/Staff
Justin Williams/Staff
Augusta Prep senior Jake Padgett gets pulled down just short of the goal line after a second quarter interception. The Cavaliers used a big first half for a 35-7 homecoming victory over Bethlehem Christian.

A unified message came from the Augusta Christian sideline Friday night late in the Lions' slim 27-20 loss to undefeated Wilson Hall.

While the defense tried to contain the Barons' quick-moving, triple-option offense, the coaching staff and players on the sideline screamed in unison.

Head coach Keith Walton led the chanting.

"Keep chopping. Keep chopping," he said. "Keep chopping wood."

The words had little to do with technique and more to do with internal motivation. It's become a rallying cry for the Lions in a season that has required them to chop down a few SCISA giants.

"Keep chopping wood. It means don't give up," starting fullback Sean Sweeting said. "Before the game, (Walton) said when we get an axe, we're going to keep chopping at the same spot every single time and that's what we wanted to do: Keep going at them every single play.

"It's been like that all season long."

The constant chopping didn't give Augusta Christian a win against the top-ranked team in SCISA on homecoming night; Wilson Hall scored on that final drive to take the lead with 10 seconds left.

However, the axe did leave an impression on Barons head coach Jet Turner.

"They're a heck of a football team," he said. "We laid it on the ground. Give Augusta Christian credit. They forced turnovers, and we were behind the eight ball."

The Lions (4-2) nearly knocked off the Barons despite playing without senior tailback Adonis Roberson, who missed the game because of injury.

Sweeting started, but was limited in the second half after trying to play through a knee injury.

Tailback Thomas Banks took most of the carries, rushing 17 times for more than 100 yards.

"We got fatigued because it's the same backs rotating through," Walton said. "So having that other back out there will make a difference. When we have everybody back healthy, it's going to be a good time."

Sweeting, who averaged almost 5 yards per carry last week, said he and his teammates are looking forward to a possible postseason rematch with Wilson Hall.

"This is the No. 1 team in the state," he said. "They know what's coming. It won't happen again."

Augusta Christian is still undefeated in Region I-AAA play heading into Friday's road trip to Heathwood Hall.

Grovetown 36 Harlem 0

Jamal Cummings ran for 264 yards and four touchdowns to lift visiting Grovetown to a 36-0 win over Columbia County and Region 3-AAA North rival Harlem.

Cummings had a pair of 1-yard touchdown plunges to go along with scores of 15 and 7 yards. On the season, he's averaged 8.4 yards per carry en route to a total of 858 yards through five games for the Warriors (4-1, 1-0).

It was Grovetown's first shutout of the season.

Harlem (0-5, 0-1) has been shut out in consecutive games and has scored just 14 points in five games.

Augusta Prep 35 Beth. Christian 7

Augusta Prep used a first-half surge to secure a 35-7 homecoming victory over Bethlehem Christian in its first home game of the season.

Nate Pylant got things started by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.

A pair of Kevin Huggins touchdown runs (1 and 2 yards) and a Pylant 28-yard touchdown run later, Augusta Prep led 28-0 at halftime.

Pylant found Jonathan Long with a 53-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter, and the Knights' only score came early in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers (4-3) ran for 274 yards, led by Pylant's 147, and held the Knights to 119 total yards.

South Effingham 17, Evans 12

Facing a late fourth down from the South Effingham 11-yard line and needing a touchdown, Evans fell short in a 17-12 defeat on homecoming night.

The Knights (2-3) had led 6-3 at halftime.

The Mustangs (3-3, 1-0) used a 14-0 third quarter to take the lead and force Evans into comeback mode.

The game was the Region 2-AAAA North opener for both teams.

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