Some issues were settled in high school football action last Friday, as Harlem remained in the hunt for a region championship, while Augusta Christian's quest ended.
In a battle for Columbia County bragging rights, Greenbrier topped Lakeside at the Brierpatch. The outcome put the Wolfpack back in the playoff picture and placed the Panthers' postseason plans in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, in Forest Park, Evans endured another night.
Greenbrier High School's offense made the opening statement and the final argument, but the Wolfpack defense never rested during a 24-10 win over Lakeside High School.
The Pack began the Region 3-AAAA contest with a time-consuming drive, which led to a 39-yard field goal by Ben Tankersley. Greenbrier sealed the deal in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Cam Griffin lobbed a pass to Latron Luke for an 83-yard touchdown.
Between the initial score and the final tally, the Pack defense mauled the Panthers. Lakeside was limited to 86 yards of offense and was stuffed for minus-1 yard rushing.
Lakeside took advantage of a Greenbrier fumble, as Klay Koester threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Steve Rogers as time expired in the first quarter.
The Pack came right back, with Taron Butler sparking the march with a 38-yard run. Griffin followed with a 35-yard completion to Graham Posey, which set up a short touchdown run by Nick Wandless.
On the ensuing kickoff, Rogers responded with a 49-yard return. Lakeside used the good position to tack on three points, as Brett Hilton hammered a 41-yard field goal to tie the game at 10.
Lakeside's David Barrett scrambles for yardage against a Greenbrier defender.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The rest of the night featured a clinic by the Greenbrier defense.
The Panthers were pushed back for minus-16 yards of rushing in the second half, and Wandless intercepted a Koester pass and returned it for a 59-yard touchdown. Eugene Rogers also intercepted a pass and Brent Edwards recovered a fumble while Pack defenders Michael Walden, Jimmy Viebrock and Scott Wandless all had tackles for losses.
''We talked all week about being hungry, and we were hungry tonight," Greenbrier coach Mickey Derrick said. ''I'm not saying this is the biggest ball game we've ever won, but this was a big ball game."
This Friday, Greenbrier (3-4, 2-3 in Region 3-AAAA) will travel to take on Statesboro in a 7:30 p.m. region contest. A win over the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils could propel the Pack to a postseason berth.
Lakeside (3-4, 3-2) will be at Panther Stadium on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game with Hephzibah. The loser will be hard pressed to make the playoffs.
Harlem High School has clinched a berth in the Class AAA state playoffs, so now the Bulldogs can stalk larger quarry, namely the Region 3-AAA title.
The Dogs beat Jefferson County 35-28 at home behind three touchdowns from Kelvin Sturgis. Larry Crawford added a touchdown, and Tim Camp scored to cap a 21-point second quarter for Harlem. Harlem defensive back Donny DeMore intercepted a pass to finish the contest.
Harlem secured at least a No. 3 seed for the postseason, but the championship door opened Friday when Westside High School (6-1, 3-1 in Region 3-AAA) lost 17-15 at Washington County (6-1, 3-1). That left Harlem (5-1-1, 4-0) as the only unbeaten team in the region.
Washington County will visit Harlem this Friday at 8 p.m. A Harlem victory would secure at least a No. 2 seed for the state playoffs and would set up a showdown against Westside on Nov. 10.
''We're just going to stick to our normal game plan," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. ''I think we can move the football with our triple-option."
Westside will play at Jefferson County on Friday. A Westside loss, coupled with a Harlem win over WACO, would give the Bulldogs the Region 3-AAA crown.
Lee Chomskis isn't worried about the playoff picture. Evans High School's football coach just hopes his Knights can survive a difficult season.
Evans lost 45-20 at Forest Park, which left the Knights with a 1-7 record, 1-4 in Region 4-AAAAA.
''We're down to about five senior starters," Chomskis said. ''The coaching staff has tried to stay as positive as possible, but the kids didn't play hard in the first half. In the second half they played with some enthusiasm."
Quarterback Travis Clark completed touchdown passes to Kevin Butler and Chris Jennell. Jennell also hauled in a two-point conversion pass.
The Knights started 2001 with a young team, and the squad has been decimated by injuries. Senior Fernando Mickens did not play against Forest Park and is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Starting guard Chase Lord broke a bone in his foot and did not play last week, while senior fullback Jon Lee was hurt on the second offensive series at Forest Park. Lee probably will not play in the Evans-North Clayton game this Friday at Blanchard Stadium (7:30 p.m. start).
The Knights have been so depleted that senior Ernest Powell played fullback against Forest Park. Last season, Powell was an all-state defensive end. He did manage to score a touchdown in the game.
''That's what we've got to deal with. I hate it for the kids," Chomskis said. ''We're just hoping to get through without any more injuries."
Tattnall Square Academy last week handed Augusta Christian School its first loss at Pride Valley since 1999. Tattnall beat the Lions 27-16 in a Region 2-AAA game Friday.
Augusta Christian (6-4, 1-1 in region play) will finish the regular season on the road, with an 8 p.m. region game Friday at George Walton Academy. If the Lions can beat the Bulldogs, AC would secure a first-round Class AAA state playoff game Nov. 9 at Pride Valley.
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