With early deadlines and other scheduling challenges, I didn’t get to congratulate Augusta Christian’s football team for winning the SCISA Class AAA state title.
It’s nice to see nice guys finish first.
After going 8-4 the previous season, head coach Keith Walton and his staff, from the beginning of summer practice, told the team to get better every day and go from there. It’s hard to argue with 13 wins in 13 tries.
Of course it doesn’t hurt when you have talented players in all phases of the game.
Running the ship was senior quarterback Tyler Roberson, who passed for 2,018 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions while rushing for 1,017 yards and 24 more touchdowns. More than 3,000 total yards and 43 touchdowns would earn him my vote for area player of the year.
While Roberson won’t be back, running back Thomas Banks will return for his senior season in 2013 having rushed for 1,436 yards – his second consecutive 1,000-yard season – and 15 touchdowns. With the Lions backed up on their own goal line, Banks provided the game-winning score in the championship game with an electrifying 98-yard run.
Along with the offensive line, it didn’t hurt that Roberson and Banks had a tough fullback like Sean Sweeting to lead the way. He accounted for more than 700 total yards and eight touchdowns in the running and passing games.
Roberson and the Lions took the passing game to a new level in 2012.
Leading the way were juniors Nick Fortenberry, who caught 49 passes for 976 yards and nine touchdowns and Ian McDaniel with 22 catches for 301 yards and two scores.
As it did all year, the defense played big in the championship game, coming away with five fumbles, four as six-time consecutive champion Hammond was inside the Lions’ 20.
Not to be overlooked was a regular-season win over Hammond that made the Lions the No. 1 team heading into the playoffs. After scoring late, the Lions trailed by one. Eschewing the extra point kick, which was almost an automatic with freshman Heath Brace (58-63) in 2012, Walton went for the two-point conversion and the win. The Lions got it and then went on to make history.
While I’ve thrown out a few specific players and statistics, what the Lions accomplished could not have been done without true team effort. Once again the credit lies with Walton and his staff and the great support from the school, its administration and a loyal fan base.
While the state season might have ended, a handful of county runners participated in the Footlocker South Regional Cross Country Regional Championships in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 24.
Pacing the locals in the seeded-boys category was Lakeside’s Chase Fowers, who finished the 5K in 15:57, good for 76th place. Greenbrier’s Jon Townsend (169) finished in 16:34 while his teammate Logan Hughes (179) came across in 16:38. Evans’ Austin Ramos (310) finished in 19:17 while his teammate Justin Weegar ran in the sophomore boys category, taking 31st with a time of 16:35.