The post-Joel Whinghter era at Augusta Christian got off to a fine start Friday night.
Augusta Christian's Ryan Bates hauls in a pass for a 50-yard score in the Lion's 45-13 victory over Briarwood Academy.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The main reason?
Rabun rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns as Augusta Christian blew past a short-handed Briarwood squad, 45-13, in the season opener at Pride Valley.
"I'm finally getting my chance to show what I can do," Rabun said.
The Lions' junior running back took up where Whinghter left off. Whinghter rushed for more then 2,000 yards the past two seasons and scored 29 touchdowns in 2001.
With Augusta Christian holding a 26-point halftime lead, first-year coach Bruce Lane pulled his starters in the third quarter. Rabun, who had three touchdown runs called back due to penalties, left the game after his 26-yard scoring scamper two minutes and 13 seconds after halftime.
"The kids played real hard tonight," Lane said. "They've really picked up and responded to what we're trying to do here."
Augusta Christian (1-0) mixed up its offensive plays, confusing Briarwood at times. With the Lions up 7-0, the Buccaneers were expecting Augusta Christian to keep the ball on the ground for their second series. But on a first-and-10 from midfield, Adam McKinney found a wide-open Ryan Bates for a 50-yard score.
Later in the first half, McKinney hit Matt Lane on an 8-yard scoring strike to extend Augusta Christian's lead to 33-7. McKinney ended the game with two touchdown passes and a touchdown run.
"It means a lot to show the rest of the state that we play good football over here in Pride Valley," Rabun said. "Briarwood is a good football team. But they only have 15 people, and I think we wore them down."
For Briarwood's first-year coach John Osbourne, the game ended in the second quarter when he lost starting quarterback/free safety Bob Wills to a knee injury and fullback/linebacker Will Holley to an ankle injury. Those are two key losses to a Buccaneers' squad that entered the game with 15 players.
"The thing about playing just 15 guys is you can't scrimmage very well," Osbourne said. "A lot of 'em are now going to have to play more positions than they want to."
The win helped Augusta Christian avenge a 7-6 loss at Briarwood last season. The Bucs entered Friday's contest with five wins in their past six meetings with the Lions.
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