North Augusta rolls over Midland Valley
NORTH AUGUSTA 43, MIDLAND VALLEY 6
By ERIC RUSSELL
After Friday night’s game against Midland Valley, North Augusta head coach Dan Pippin said he believed his team needed to score more often. The scoreboard told a different story. North Augusta (2-0) scored 40-plus points for the second week in a 43-6 win over Midland Valley (0-1).
Pippin’s goal is to get his team to a point at which they score on every offensive possession. Early on, it seemed that would be the case as the Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter behind the arm of Trib Reece and the tandem rushing attack of Willie McCloud and Dashawn Barnes.
Reece finished the game with 214 yards while completing 14 of 18 passes with three touchdowns. Reece also threw two interceptions in the game. Overall, Pippin was pleased with the junior quarterback’s performance in the win.
“I thought he pressed a little bit,” Pippin said. “He’s just got to know he’s a quarterback, and he can’t have a conscience. If he makes a bad throw, he just has to not let if affect him. He’s really hard on himself, but when he’s relaxed, he’s a great quarterback, as you saw early.”
The Yellow Jackets’ offense had the added advantage of gaining big chunks of yardage on the ground. McCloud rushed the ball 17 times in the game for 129 yards and two touchdowns. When McCloud wasn’t racking up yards, Dashawn Barnes was for North Augusta. He finished the game with eight carries, 56 yards and a touchdown.
“They’re both good runners; we want both of them to touch the ball,” Pippin said. “The offensive line ... I thought they did better this week than we did last week.”
The Mustangs got off to a rough start in the game, which was the team’s season opener. The team made a couple of key mistakes early on and were never able to recover. In the first few drives, Midland Valley had some big drops by receivers and two fumbles. Head coach Rick Knight knew his team would need to limit those types of mistakes to be competitive.
“Well, we knew to even have a shot at beating North Augusta, we had to play perfect with no turnovers and no kind of mistakes,” Knight said. “You see we didn’t do any of that, so right now we regroup and get ready for our next game.”
The Mustangs’ lone score came on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Carr to Trenton Baughman. Carr finished the night with 78 passing yards and a touchdown to go with two interceptions.
“He was scrambling for his life out there,” Knight said of his quarterback. “I hope that doesn’t hurt him in the long run.”
Helping apply pressure on Carr was North Augusta’s Brandon Maddox, who saw action for the first time this season. Pippin plans to get him play time sparingly until region play begins.
“He’s a fantastic leader,” Pippin said of the senior lineman.” We’re going to play him as much as we need to. Hopefully we don’t have to play him a lot until we get going in the region. We’re not going to take any chances with him.”
Going forward, Pippin expects his team to get even better. He said he’s not satisfied with wins in the first two weeks.
“Our goals are much bigger than week one and week two,” he said.
The Yellow Jackets will be on the road again next week at Greenbrier. Midland Valley will travel to take on Allendale-Fairfax next week.
Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.