There was bad luck on the high school football front last week in Columbia County, with one notable exception.
Westsides Aundra Ellison sinks to the ground under a pile of Harlem defenders with less than a minute left in the first half. The Patriots beat the Bulldogs 29-22.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
All four public school squads went down in flames, while a private school power issued a mighty roar.
Greenbrier had its 2002 swan song, and the tune was a blues number - the Wolfpack ended the season with a 34-14 loss to Statesboro on Friday at the Brierpatch.
After starting the year at 4-2, the Pack was struck by injuries, then suffered some close losses, and had to settle for a final record of 4-6.
"You can't always determine the success of a team by its record, but to say we din't care about winning would be an understatement," Greenbrier coach Mickey Derrick said. "We wanted to end up with a 'W' instead of an 'L."'
For Lakeside, "L" is the new scarlet letter. The Panthers are staring at a winless season after a 15-8 loss to Cross Creek on Friday at Panther Stadium. Lakeside has just one more chance to break through in 2002, as Burke County comes to Columbia County this week.
At Blanchard Stadium, Evans played well enough to win Friday night, but the Knights committed some crucial mistakes and let Redan escape with a 27-23 victory.
Evans quarterback Travis Clark threw for 299 yards, with receivers Steven Rogers, Osmond Brinson and Ricky Crawford and Abdul Walters combining for 20 receptions, but the offensive heroics were marred by missed opportunities.
Redan made the most of its chances, setting up three scores with long runs and tallying the deciding TD on an interception return in the third quarter.
The Knights finish the season with a Region 7-AAAAA game Friday at Douglass, and Evans plans to come out fighting.
"When you have a 2-7 record, any team is going to take it hard, but the coaches keep encouraging us to press on, and that's what we're going to do," Evans senior Chase Lord said.
Augusta Christian had no trouble in its first-round Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA state playoff game at Pride Valley. The Lions jumped all over Windsor Academy en route to a 54-0 blowout.
"Our kids really came out and took care of business early," AC coach Bruce Lane said.
Augusta Christian quarterback Adam McKinney went 3-for-3, with touchdown passes to Ryan Bates, Matt Lane and Robert Banks, and tailback Cole Rabun topped 130 yards rushing.
Defensively, Bates found the end zone after an interception, and Andrew Fisher returned a fumble for another score.
The victory improved AC's record to 9-2, and set the stage for a second-round playoff game with First Presbyterian Day School this Friday at Pride Valley.
The Lions don't need to search for motivation - AC lost to FPD 30-0 earlier this season.
"We're a different football team than we were then," Lane said. "We're excited about the opportunity to play them again."
The Vikings are making their first visit to Pride Valley, and that could be the difference.
"Playing at home is an important key for us," Lane said. "Our fans and students need to be in the stands yelling and screaming. One of the advantages of being at home is that support."
Playing for pride
In order to stay in the playoff hunt in Region 3-AAA, Harlem needed a home win against Westside on Friday night. Despite a valiant effort, the Bulldogs fell to the Patriots 29-22.
"We probably played one of our better games, but we didn't win, and that's the bottom line," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said.
Westside never trailed, and the Dogs never quit. Senior Kelvin Sturgis, who missed practice last week with strep throat, scored two long touchdowns. Junior Tim Camp tacked on an 80-yard run in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough.
Harlem advanced to the playoffs the past two years, but that streak has ended in 2002. The Dogs (5-4) will close the season Saturday against Laney at ARC Stadium.
"The main thing is to see what we're made of," Lewis said. "We're playing for pride. We have a chance to finish with a 6-4 record which is still pretty respectable."
Laney has already locked up the No. 2 spot in Region 3-AAA, but Lewis doesn't expect the Wildcats to let up against the Dogs. "Last year we beat them at their homecoming, so I imagine they're pretty ticked - and we're homecoming again this year."
High school football schedule
First Presbyterian Day at Augusta Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Evans at Douglass, 8 p.m.
Burke County at Lakeside, 7:30 p.m.
Harlem at Laney (ARC Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
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