When the final horn sounded on Augusta Christian's first game of the season on Friday, head football coach Bruce Lane had good and bad things to say to his team.
The bad news: the Lions tallied more than 100 yards in penalties - three of them off unsportsmanlike conduct calls - and the home team found itself trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter.
The good news: Augusta Christian overcame the flags and a slow start to earn a 33-19 win over Orangeburg Prep to start the 2006 season.
The victory came from a strong running game and a high-energy defense led by junior Daniel Hobbs and senior Taylor Hensley. The Lions' defense made a statement early with a pair of intimidating plays on Orangeburg Prep's opening drive. Hobbs picked up his first sack of the season by throwing quarterback Brad Felder for a loss, and Hensley followed a few plays later with a bone-crushing hit on starting tailback Travis Tourville that sent the senior to the sidelines.
"I saw a guy go in motion so I called a blitz at the last second. It was perfect," Hensley said.
After taking a 13-7 lead at halftime, the Lions offense took over by switching almost exclusively to their running game in the second half. Riding the shoulders of senior tailback Kyle Meeks and junior fullback Jay Harmon, Augusta Christian totalled 215 rushing yards in the second half alone to keep the Orangeburg Prep defense on the field.
"When we came out we were trying to show a lot of different formations and see how they were going to align to them," Lane said. "When we went into the no-huddle I think we wore them down a little bit."
While the running game looked in midseason form, first-year starting quarterback Tyler Bourdo also performed well in his first crack at replacing last year's star Lee Banks.
Bourdo completed 7 of 12 passes for 81 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Harmon midway through the third quarter. Bourdo's passing skills will get its first true test on Friday when the Lions travel to Charlotte Latin School. The defending North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state champions won 55-2 on Friday, holding opponent Porter Ridge to negative yardage on the ground.
"I think we threw the ball very efficiently. We're going to play to the strengths of our quarterback," Lane said. "We don't know much about (Charlotte Latin) but we do know they're a good football team."
The SCISA state champion vs. NCISAA state champion showdown will take place Friday in Charlotte, N.C., at 7:30 p.m.
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