Friday night football was no fun for Columbia County high school squads last week. In four games, county teams suffered four losses, and only one contest was even close.
Greenbrier traveled to the Brickyard, where the Wolfpack gave Thomson a battle but could not pull out a victory.
Evans and Lakeside each faced formidable opponents, and despite having home-field advantages, both the Knights and Panthers lost by large margins.
And in Macon, the Augusta Christian Lions were no match for a perennial Georgia Independent Schools Association power.
The Harlem Bulldogs were off last week, and the team took advantage of the open date by scouting the Laney Wildcats. Harlem will play Laney at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Academy of Richmond County Stadium.
If the Dogs can slow down the speedy Wildcats and emerge with a win, Harlem (2-1-1, 1-0 in Region 3-AAA) will remain unbeaten in region play.
The stands were filled Friday night at Panther Stadium, where Lakeside played host to Statesboro in a Region 3-AAAA matchup.
Lakeside gave its fans reason to cheer in the first half, going toe-to-toe with the Blue Devils, who entered as the No. 1 ranked team in Class AAAA.
The Panthers converted an early turnover into a 20-yard field goal by Jon Wilson to take a 3-0 lead. In the second quarter, the Lakeside defense thwarted a Statesboro drive when Blaine Carter and the Panthers line stuffed running back Jimtavis Walker at the Lakeside 5 yard line on fourth and two.
''We had them on the ropes,'' Lakeside coach Ed Koester said.
But then the Blue Devils came out fighting. Statesboro took a 6-3 lead into halftime and delivered a knockout blow in the second half.
Lakeside committed three turnovers in the third quarter, then added three more in the fourth. Statesboro converted those miscues into scores to turn a close game into a 46-3 rout.
Statesboro recovered a fumble in the Lakeside end zone to take a 12-6 lead, then added a score on an interception return to make it 18-3. After Lakeside was flagged for several personal foul penalties, Statesboro retaliated by tacking on 28 points in the fourth quarter.
''Penalties ripped us, and we turned the ball over too many times. Sometimes you're so intense, that's what happens,'' Koester said.
Rather than dwelling on the defeat, Koester looked forward to getting back in the race in Region 3-AAAA. ''We've got a lot of season left. That's what our kids have got to understand right now,'' he said. ''We're going to be in the hunt. We're 1-1 (in the region), and that doesn't eliminate us by any means.''
Lakeside (1-3, 1-1) will travel to play Josey at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Greenbrier scored its first touchdown of 2001 on Friday against Thomson, but the Bulldogs had the last laugh after rallying for a 30-21 win in a Region 3-AAAA showdown at the Brickyard.
The Wolfpack unleashed a passing offense and surprised Thomson by taking a 21-10 third-quarter lead. Pack quarterback Cam Griffin threw for 229 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Russell Carter, and it appeared Greenbrier was set to spoil Thomson's homecoming festivities.
But Thomson tallied three rushing touchdowns to avert the upset bid.
Greenbrier (1-3, 0-2 in Region 3-AAAA) now finds itself in a precarious position in the region standings. Last season the Pack finished with a 5-3 record in Region 3-AAAA but still missed the state playoffs.
Another region loss this year would place the Pack's playoff dreams in dire straits. Greenbrier will try to turn things around Friday at the Brierpatch, where the Wolfpack will play a 7:30 p.m. game against Burke County.
Evans was back in Blanchard Stadium Friday for the first time since Sept. 7, but the familiar surroundings didn't help the Knights, who dropped to 0-5 this season after losing to East Coweta, 49-14.
The unbeaten Indians piled up 542 yards of offense and clearly were too much for Evans.
''We knew we were going to struggle against them,'' Evans coach Lee Chomskis admitted. ''They were a lot faster and stronger than us.''
East Coweta scored 14 points in the first quarter and never looked back in the Region 4-AAAAA (B) subregion contest.
Evans quarterback Travis Clark completed 16 passes and threw for 112 yards, while Osmond Brinson contributed a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Those highlights, however, were overshadowed by an injury to running back Fernando Mickens. The senior left the game with an apparent shoulder problem.
Evans will (0-5, 0-2 subregion) play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Henry County. The Knights will have an opportunity to earn their first win, as the Warhawks (1-4, 0-2) also have struggled this season.
Augusta Christian's four-game winning streak came to an end Friday in Macon as Stratford Academy beat the Lions 28-7.
Last year, the Eagles came to Pride Valley as the GISA Class AAA No. 1-ranked team, and AC responded with a 13-10 win.
Stratford returned the favor last week. The Eagles held Augusta Christian tailback Joel Whinghter to 105 rushing yards, which effectively slowed AC's offensive attack.
Augusta Christian (4-3) will have one more game before beginning its Region 2-AAA schedule. The Lions will return to Pride Valley at 8 p.m. Friday against Brentwood School. Brentwood beat Augusta Christian 26-21 in the Class AAA state playoffs last season.
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