Augusta Christian School football coach Bruce Lane relied on his 10 seniors to provide leadership during the 2002 season, but when the Georgia Independent Schools Association announced its Class AAA all-state selections, three AC juniors led the way.
Augusta Christian's Adam McKinney (from left), Ryan Bates, Matt Lane, Cole Rabun and Sam Pitts were honored by the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Quarterback Adam McKinney, tailback Cole Rabun and defensive lineman Sam Pitts all received first-team recognition.
"Just because we're juniors, we didn't have to wait until our senior year to show our potential," McKinney said. "It took hard work, and Jesus just blessed me this season."
Augusta Christian's seniors weren't overlooked in the postseason voting, as Matt Lane and Ryan Bates were honorable mention all-state.
McKinney earned all-state honors by completing 71 of 121 passes, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio was eye-popping - he threw 15 scoring passes and was picked off just five times.
Lane posted amazing statistics for a tight end. He caught 17 passes, which isn't a ton of receptions, but he found the end zone seven times and piled up 412 yards for an average of 24.3 yards per catch.
"Play calling had everything to do with it," Lane said of his penchant for making the big play. "We've got an excellent coaching staff."
Likewise, Rabun gave others credit for his showing during the 2002 season.
"The line opened holes for me all season. I couldn't have gone anywhere without them," he said. "It's not that hard to run the football. If the hole's there, you can go."
Rabun took advantage of the running room, rushing for 1,567 yards and 17 touchdowns.
While AC featured a potent offense, the Lions also were tough on the defensive side, and Pitts epitomized that hard-nosed attitude. The 205-lb. tackle took up the slack when other starters were injured, and he used speed and technique to offset his lack of size.
"I'm going to keep working hard and keep eating," Pitts said. "I need to gain a few pounds."
Bates, meanwhile, had no trouble gaining yards. The wide receiver caught 25 passes for 455 yards and four touchdowns during his final campaign at Pride Valley.
"This season was the most fun I've ever had playing football," said Bates, who wasn't upset about not being a first-team All-state selection. "That would have been great, but it doesn't matter to me. If we'd won the state title, I wouldn't have cared if I hadn't gotten any honors."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.