A run to the playoffs became an uphill climb for Greenbrier after a 14-13 loss to region opponent Baldwin at the Brierpatch on Friday night.
Baldwin's Darius Marshall is brought down by Greenbrier's Charlie Kupar late in the second half in Evans.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The two teams met with identical 2-1 region records and in a three-way tie for second place in the region with Lakeside.
Constant rains and problems with the field's lighting threw a kink in both teams' game plans.
Greenbrier coach Mickey Derrick said his team had planned to throw more, but they didn't deviate too much from the original plan.
The Wolfpack ground game managed only 101 yards on 30 carries, including a meager 22 yards on 11 carries from starting tailback Reggie Rice.
Greenbrier's attack through the air went surprisingly better, including a 23-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Sean Gray to Matt King for the game's first score.
"On a night like this with the rain, they would expect us to run," Gray said. "It was difficult to throw. I just had to concentrate and trust in my receivers."
Despite the weather, Gray completed 6 of 10 passing attempts for 76 yards and a touchdown.
With 1:14 left in the game, Gray struck again with a one-yard touchdown run to bring the Wolfpack to within one point of Baldwin. The play forced the Greenbrier coaching staff to make a gutsy call.
Instead of tieing the game by kicking an extra point, Derrick went for the win on a two-point conversion.
Greenbrier lost to Baldwin 14-13, but the Wolfpack is on the prowl for a spot in the playoffs.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Gray's scramble right and dive for the goal line came up short and gave Baldwin the win.
"We had already made up our mind to go for two inside three minutes," Derrick said. "If I had it to do again, I'd still go for it."
The loss doesn't completely end Greenbrier's hopes for the playoffs, but does make a high seed in the state tournament nearly impossible.
After the game, the Wolfpack were staunch in their belief that the playoffs remained in their future.
"We're going to be in the playoffs. No doubt." Derrick told his players.
The Wolfpack playoff run became more possible with a Lakeside loss Friday night. In the Region 2-AAAA standings, four teams, including Greenbrier, Lakeside, Wayne County, and Effingham County, are all tied for third place with a 2-2 region record.
Greenbrier (3-4, 2-2) will play host to Effingham County (3-4, 2-2) on Friday night in a region contest that could make or break the Wolfpack's playoff chances.
Postseason play is in plain view for Harlem after the Bulldogs improved their region record to 3-1 with a win over Butler. In a wet and muddy homecoming game, Harlem managed 183 yards rushing and found the end zone three times on the ground.
Harlem's Gabe Greer scored twice and rushed for 67 yards on nine carries. Bulldog Brendan Gray made a key defensive play for the second time in two weeks returning a blocked punt for a touchdown. Gray also scored on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Harlem (5-3, 3-1) will next travel to Cross Creek (3-4, 2-1) in an important Region 3N-AAA battle.
Augusta Christian 29,
Cardinal Newman 8
Four Lions put points on the board at Augusta Christian's Pride Valley in a region victory Friday night.
AC quarterback Lee Banks ran the ball in twice, while Jay Harmon and Kyle Meeks scored on touchdown runs of 4 yards and 13 yards, respectively. Kicker Alden Fisher hit two extra points and connected for a 30-yard field goal in the win.
Defensively, Lion senior Dillon Quick recorded nine tackles in a rain-soaked game that saw Cardinal Newman tally only 69 yards of total offense.
Augusta Christian (6-1) will hit the road to take on Ben Lippen (3-4) on Friday night.
Facing the No. 3 team in the state on the road, Lakeside's option-powered offense was hampered by soggy field conditions in Statesboro. The Panthers slipped in the region standings, and the Blue Devils ran up 258 yards rushing against Lakeside and remained undefeated on the season.
Lakeside did score more points against Statesboro than any other team this season, with both touchdown scores coming in the fourth quarter.
Lakeside (3-4, 2-2) will play host to winless Evans (0-7, 0-4) on Friday in a cross-town rivalry.
Effingham County 31
Knights quarterback Kevin Millward found James Cullen in the end zone for a 7-yard score, and Evans led by four points in the fourth quarter but couldn't hold off Effingham County on the road.
The Rebels began the game by returning the opening kickoff 62 yards for a touchdown. The Knight's four-point fourth-quarter lead was erased on a 74-yard touchdown run from Effingham County's Antwain Wright.
Evans allowed the Rebels to put up 448 yards rushing in the three-point Evans loss.
Four of the Knights' losses this season are by seven points or fewer.
Evans (0-7, 0-4) will travel to Lakeside (3-4, 2-2) on Friday.
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