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Augusta Christian wins state title

Posted: November 18, 2012 - 1:49am  |  Updated: November 18, 2012 - 4:33am
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Augusta Christian Players celebrate their state championship on Saturday, November 17.  Karen Quick/Augusta Christian Facebook Page
Karen Quick/Augusta Christian Facebook Page
Augusta Christian Players celebrate their state championship on Saturday, November 17.

For the first time in school history, Augusta Christian is perfect.

In a game that quarterback Tyler Roberson would call surreal afterward, the Lions won their first state championship since 2005, beating six-time defending champion Hammond 21-14 in the South Carolina Independent School Class AAA state championship.

"It's an indescribable feeling," said Lions coach Keith Walton, whose squad went 13-0. "I'm so thankful for the senior class and the selflessness of the entire team."

The win was the second of the year for Augusta Christian over Hammond, who suffered its only losses of the year to the Lions and finished 12-2.

With the offense rightfully garnering a lion's share of the attention during the year, it was the Lions' defense that came up big time and again.

The defense recovered five fumbles, four coming inside their own 20-yard line, and the offense capitalized, turning them into 14 points.

They also stopped the Skyhawks on downs at the 2-yard line, nursing a 14-7 lead.

Two plays later, Thomas Banks turned it into a 21-7 advantage as he juked and went down the right sideline for a 98-yard touchdown with 6:49 to play.

"I saw all 11 in the box and set them up. I faked inside and went outside," Banks said. "This is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life."

The Skyhawks scored with 3:57 to play to cut the lead to 21-14, then recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Lions' 32.

With 2:21 to play they got to the Lions seven before losing its fifth fumble of the game.

On the ensuing drive facing third-and-10, Roberson hit Nick Fortenberry for an 11-yard gain and first down, enabling the Lions to run out the clock.

"We knew what we could do," senior Matt Herzwurm said. "We knew we could only beat ourselves."

PLAY OF THE GAME: With 7:11 to play, Lions' running back Thomas Banks got the handoff at his own 2, juked inside, went around right end and ran the sideline 98 yards for a touchdown, giving the Lions a 21-14 lead.

STAR OF THE GAME: Banks. The Lions' tailback rushed for 123 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown and caught five passes for 46 yards and a score.

WHY AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN WON: The Lions created timely turnovers and took advantage of them.

WHY HAMMOND LOST: Five fumbles, four deep in Lions' territory, were too much for the Skyhawks to overcome.

RECORDS: Hammond 12-2; Augusta Christian 13-0


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