Predators top Lions in “Battle for the Paddle”
FOX CREEK 27, AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 20
By Scott Rodgers
Fox Creek head coach Russ Schneider has waited seven years to get his sea legs.
The Predators (3-1) were finally able to get in the win column against their rival, Augusta Christian (1-3), with a 27-20 win. Quarterback Deondre Baskett rushed for three touchdowns – from 79, 62 and 2 yards out.
It was the defense, however, that forced a number of key turnovers and was on the field at the pivotal moments of the game. After Baskett’s final score with 1:09 to go, a hook and ladder play by the Lions got them all the way down to the Fox Creek 17 yard line. Quarterback Hunter Beyersdoerfer fired a pass to the sideline that was picked off by Terrance Hillary to seal the game.
“It’s bittersweet for me, because Coach (Keith) Walton and I have been such good friends since high school,” Schneider said. “I played fullback, he played tailback. You want to win, but he’s still one of my best friends and I coached half of his staff when I was over there. They are such a classy program, and if we can ever get like Augusta Christian then we’ll be headed the right way. I sincerely mean that.”
Baskett scored the game’s first two touchdowns. Bryson Ashmore got the Lions on the board with a 22-yard touchdown of his own. On the ensuing kickoff, Darshon Broadwater returned the ball 99 yards to answer back. Just a few plays later, Ashmore broke loose for a 62-yard score for the game’s third touchdown in 30 seconds.
The defenses pitched shutouts in the third quarter and Tyquan Burns of Augusta Christian ran in a 36-yard score of his own in the fourth. The snap on the extra point was bobbled, however, and the Predators were able to hold on to a 21-20 lead until Baskett led the Predator offense to pay dirt.
“I can’t be more proud of our coaches and our kids,” Schneider said. “My coaches do all the work. The kids play so hard and I think we may have turned the corner. A win doesn’t matter region-wise, but this is kind of for the kids and the school.”
The leadership displayed by Baskett, however, proved to be a difference maker. He even chipped in on defense with a fumble recovery.
“Even though we were down I just had to pick myself up for my teammates – I couldn’t let them down,” Baskett said. “We just got back on the field, played even harder and got the W. Being tired is a mental thing, you just have to put that behind you and play through it.”
Schneider was able to remember a point with six minutes to go where he went to Baskett on the sideline.
“I just told him to give us what he had and not to quit,” Schneider said. “He’s come too far and he’s worked too hard after that ACL tear. You’d never even know that ACL was ever torn.”
The entire defensive unit, however, was what drew the biggest praise from Schneider.
“Our defensive coordinator, Richard Brady, puts in more work than any coach on our staff, by far,” he said. “He made that happen. The kids believe in his system.”
Next up for Fox Creek will be a Region 4-A showdown with Ridge Spring-Monetta on Thursday at Lions Field.