Friday night football has been fun at Augusta Christian Schools' Pride Valley this season.
The Lions are 8-1 and ranked No. 2 in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association.
Playing at home, Augusta Christian is an undefeated 5-0 and averages almost 36 points per game.
Friday night's 42-34 win against SCISA No. 3 Hammond at Augusta Christian's homecoming was a perfect example of the Lions season - until the third quarter.
Like they've done all season long, Augusta Christian mounted a big lead early. After an opening kickoff return of 76 yards, Lions junior Kyle Meeks scored on the game's first play from scrimmage with a 16-yard run.
Two Lee Banks scores, another Meeks touchdown run and a Brad Meister 45 yard run to the end zone gave Augusta Christian a 35-7 lead in the third quarter.
It appeared to be another typical ACS blowout win.
However, Hammond was undefeated and No. 3 in SCISA. The SkyHawks weren't ready to go down.
Hammond quarterback Punky DaSilva capitalized on two Augusta Christian fumbles and threw three touchdowns in less than four minutes to mount a comeback that brought the SkyHawks to within eight points.
"We gave them a chance," Lion quarterback Lee Banks said. "We should have held them."
Although Augusta Christian's defense bent, the Lions didn't break. Meister grabbed a Hammond pass out of the air with six minutes left in the game to reclaim the Lion momentum and give Augusta Christian a 42-34 win.
"This is the most exciting week of football I've ever been associated with," Augusta Christian head coach Bruce Lane told his players at the end of the game. "You beat a really good football team tonight."
Meeks saved the game for Augusta Christian with three touchdowns runs.
"It seems to be a different person every Friday night," Lane said. "Kyle ran the ball hard tonight."
With the win, the Lions clinched a spot in the SCISA AAA State Playoffs.
Augusta Christian (8-1) will next travel to Robert E. Lee on Friday where a win, combined with a Hammond loss at Heathwood, would give the Lions home field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs.
Jones County 6
Despite playing without star running back Reggie Rice, the Greenbrier ground game didn't miss a beat with a key 35-6 win at Jones County Friday. Junior Freddie Jones rushed for more than 170 yards and found the end zone twice in the win while fullback Erick Smith and tail back Lashawn Butler also ran for touchdowns. Greenbrier's Charlie Kupar got into the action with a touchdown catch in the Wolfpack's third region win of the season.
Greenbrier (4-5, 3-3) has an outside chance at the AAAA GISA State Playoffs. The Wolfpack must beat GISA No. 3 Statesboro (9-0, 6-0) on the road Friday and have either Effingham County or Wayne County lose to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Wayne County 27
Playing on the road with three starters on the bench for disciplinary reasons, the Panthers fell out of the playoff race for good with a 27-6 loss to Wayne County.
Lightning from passing thunderstorms brought a one hour delay in the ball game. Lakeside's Travis Azar ran the ball in for the Panther's only touchdown of the game.
Lakeside (3-5, 2-4) will be on the road Friday night in the team's final game of the season at Baldwin (6-3, 5-1).
Knights quarterback Kevin Millward found Wes Wouchte in the end zone on a three yard pass early in the fourth quarter, but the score wasn't enough to keep Baldwin from taking a 27-7 win at Evans.
Millward threw for 157 yards including the touchdown strike, but the Knight defense allowed Baldwin to rush for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
Evans (1-8, 1-5) will travel to Wayne County (5-4, 3-3) Friday for the Knights final game of the season.
Harlem (5-4, 3-2) did not play last weekend and will return Friday hosting Hephzibah (2-7, 1-4) for their final regular season game.
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