The offense Augusta Christian was trying to stop during its homecoming game with Wilson Hall on Friday was different than what the Lions watched on film during the week.
The Barons ran the veer, an option-based offense out of split-back sets, and the Lions defense was on its heels early on the way to a 28-18 loss.
"It was a good little wrinkle," Lions coach Keith Walton said. "And it caught us off guard."
Wilson Hall used the misdirection to own the clock during the first half. The Barons' first drive ended with a turnover on downs, but spanned 13 plays and ate nearly seven minutes of clock.
After a scoreless first quarter, Barons quarterback Josh Glenn used an inside fake to escape around the right end for a 30-yard touchdown sprint. Glenn scored again on a 1-yard sneak on the next Wilson Hall possession.
The success on the ground opened up the Barons' passing game -- which Walton said wasn't even needed. Augusta Christian had trouble containing the taller Barons receivers.
"We tried to take advantage of the height," Barons receiver Chris Sharp said. "But we had our running game going so well tonight, we couldn't say no to the running game."
If there was a positive for the Lions, it was that the loss did not count against their region record. Augusta Christian plays host to Cardinal Newman this week, and the Lions will be looking for their first Region 1-AAA win this season.
Walton probably will be looking for a faster start.
"It took us forever, it seemed like, to get a flow about the game," Walton said. "It took us late in the game until we figured out what we needed to do, but we ran out of time."
The Lions made an effort to get back in it.
Augusta Christian was buoyed by the play of junior Christian Croft, who rushed for a team-high 74 yards and booted a 39-yard field goal.
Croft's 24-yard touchdown scramble to start the fourth quarter brought the crowd to its feet for the first time since a pirate-themed skit at halftime.
"He was carrying us," Walton said.
The Lions' comeback attempt ended when Croft, who had raced down to the Barons 5, was stripped of the ball with a little more than a minute remaining. Croft contended his knee was down, but Wilson Hall took over and was able to run out the clock.
Augusta Christian freshman quarterback Tyler Roberson overcame a slow start to throw for 154 yards and no interceptions. He had success finding receivers in the flat in the second half, including a 46-yard completion and run to receiver Caleb Harmon. The score brought the Lions within 10.
The Lions' ground game took hold during the second quarter. Behind hard running from Croft and Cole Turner, Augusta Christian drove to the Barons' 12 before penalties set the Lions back.
Croft's field goal was true with 21 seconds to go before the half.
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