Football season is upon us, and a telling fact has emerged in Columbia County this year.
Apparently, passing wins football games.
It's been a lost art in the county, with the exception of last season's Augusta Christian Schools football team. In high school football, putting the ball in the air is certainly riskier than handing it off.
But with risk comes reward.
Greenbrier has already lived and died by the long ball this year. Westside has one of the best secondaries in the Augusta area and showed it by picking off Greenbrier's air attack five times in the season opener. The Wolfpack, however, stuck with the passing game one week later at Lakeside. The Panthers allowed Greenbrier's receivers to slip behind them all night, and Wolfpack quarterback Nick Richards attempted 10 passes of 40 yards or longer. He completed only four of them, but they made up 186 of Greenbrier's 254 passing yards. Greenbrier won 36-12.
Lakeside, on the other hand, went to the ground for the majority of the game and came up with only 34 yards on 29 carries. Lakeside's biggest play of the night? It was a 23-yard pass from quarterback Chad Chandler to Jay Price for Lakeside's only offensive score of the game. Even the Panthers, who appear to be down this year, found success through the air.
As for the other county teams, Evans didn't find the end zone through the air in its season opener, but quarterback Kevin Millward found a good passing option in junior wide receiver David Smith. The two connected for three receptions and 41 yards in a 21-16 win over Harlem.
Harlem's passing game is still second fiddle to its strong running game, but the Bulldogs showed signs of what they could do against Evans with a 44-yard pass from quarterback Brendan Gray to Alex Hintz late in the fourth quarter.
At Augusta Christian, the absence of last year's air attack leader, Lee Banks, didn't keep the Lions from going to the air against Pinewood Prep two weekends ago. Quarterback Tyler Bourdo connected with senior Josh Whitaker twice to highlight a passing game that totalled 100 yards.
Keep throwing the ball, boys. It's a lot more exciting, and it might just catch on.
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