It's simple to sum up the football fortunes of Columbia County's high-school squads last week.
Two teams kicked it into gear, and the other two got kicked in the rear.
Thanks in part to their place-kickers, Greenbrier and Evans earned wins Friday night, while Harlem and Lakeside got booted in their gridiron matchups.
Augusta Christian School will get its kicks this week. The Lions had a bye last week, and will take on Southland Academy this Friday. AC stands 5-1 heading into the 7:30 p.m. game at Pride Valley.
Hephzibah at Greenbrier
There was plenty of praying going Friday night at the Brierpatch, and somebody up there must have been listening.
Greenbrier's Region 3-AAAA victory over Hephzibah took more than divine intervention, but the Wolfpack's prayers definitely were answered during the 9-7 win.
Despite a great defensive effort by the Pack, Hephzibah held a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter, and things looked dismal when two Rebels crunched Greenbrier quarterback Brooks Robinson.
"On the way out there to see him, I just said a prayer," Pack coach Mickey Derrick said.
Robinson was motionless on the turf, and was out for the count.
"When I hit the ground it was like I blacked out for a few seconds," Robinson said. "I heard people talking and I heard a bunch of noise, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't open my eyes."
With 4:27 remaining, Robinson returned. On third and 10 from the Hephzibah 28, he threw a pass to Eugene Rogers for 20 yards and a first down to set the stage for a scintillating finish.
Pack placekicker Ben Lawson drilled a field goal with 31.1 seconds left to secure the win.
"I was over there praying. We were all holding hands," Robinson said. "We knew Ben had worked real hard, and we all trusted in him."
Greenbrier improved to 4-1 (2-1 in region play) heading into this Friday's region game at Cross Creek. Although the Razorbacks are winless, Derrick isn't taking anything for granted.
"Cross Creek may be 0-5, but we're not going to take them lightly, because we did that last year and almost lost that ball game," he said.
Evans at Lithonia
When Evans fell behind 14-0 in the first half at Lithonia, Knights coach Marty Jackson saw his squad come of age.
Evans rallied to pull out a 17-14 victory on a 28-yard field goal by Reid Tankersley.
"Nobody panicked, the players stayed poised, and they responded to adversity," Jackson said. "Our offensive line did a good job, and our defense was outstanding. It was fun to watch them get rewarded for their hard work."
The Knights (1-4, 1-2 in region play) dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Tailback Cheng Ho took advantage of huge holes to pile up 168 rushing yards. Allen Ligon sparked the defense by blocking an extra point, intercepting a pass, causing and recovering a fumble, and recording two touchdown-saving tackles.
The Region 7-AAAAA win was Jackson' first victory at Evans, and the new coach is looking for No. 2 when region foe Cedar Grove visits Blanchard Stadium this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"This will be a big one," Jackson said. "We have an opportunity to get ourselves in the thick of this region race. If we can beat Cedar Grove, we can control our own destiny."
Washington County at Harlem
After Washington County coach Rick Tomberlin showed no mercy last week in Harlem, Bulldogs coach Jimmie Lewis was tempted to skip the post-game handshake and retreat to the locker room.
After all, the Golden Hawks had just posted a 72-0 win, and Harlem was the team that took out its starters early in the second half of the Region 3-AAA massacre.
But even if Tomberlin ran up the score, Lewis retained his dignity.
"I told the guy they've got a great team, and that I hope you win the state championship," Lewis said. "He didn't do anything fancy. I don't have any animosity."
Harlem (2-3, 0-1 in region play) has other concerns, namely getting back on track in Region 3-AAA. The Dogs travel to play Josey this Friday, and the race for a state-playoff berth begins with the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"Now we'll be playing teams we can compete with," Lewis said. "We've got to somehow find a way to beat Josey. Playing defense is the key. We've got to stop somebody, because if we don't win this one, we're in for a long season."
Lakeside at Glenn Hills
Coach Randy Hill faced the facts. His team's 26-13 loss at Glenn Hills was a byproduct of Lakeside's blowout defeat the previous week against Thomson.
Lakeside took its team to The Pit on Friday night, but the Panthers didn't bring confidence into the Region 3-AAAA contest with Glenn Hills.
"We got hammered so hard by Thomson, it was like we were shell-shocked," Hill said. "We have to change that mindset."
The Panthers struggled in all phases of the game last week, and the Spartans took advantage to post a win.
Lakeside brings a 3-2 mark (1-2 in region play) into its home meeting with Baldwin, and the Panthers badly need a win this Friday to stay in the playoff race in Region 3-AAAA.
"We have to be able to come out of it and finish strong," Hill said. "Our next five games are winnable, but we'll have to play well every Friday night. There aren't any slouches on the schedule."
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