Thursday, October 31, 2013
By JEREMY TIMMERMAN
Even though North Augusta put up plenty of points in a 42-6 win over region and county foe South Aiken on Friday, the Jacket defense perhaps had the best showing of the night.
The Jackets (8-1, 2-1 Region 5-AAAA) limited the T-Breds (1-8, 0-3) to 182 yards of offense, and the visitors didn’t score until less than three minutes remained in the game with the North Augusta backups in on defense.
Head coach Dan Pippin said that North Augusta’s defenders have been impressive all season, including the team’s only loss that came on a tipped pass against Lexington.
“I think defensively, we’ve played pretty well all year, even in that loss,” he said.
South Aiken head coach Jeremy West said the Jackets’ dominated play up front and kept his team from getting any offensive momentum.
“They were slanting and pinching, and we couldn’t get anything going offensively,” he said of the Jackets’ defense. “Second half, we tried to challenge them a little bit, but their defensive line ... they won both sides of the trenches, both sides of the ball.”
North Augusta started the scoring on its first drive with a 19-yard touchdown strike from Trib Reece to Dre Dunbar. After a stop, the Jackets went driving again, this time finishing with a 32-yard strike from Reece to Keyon West.
For the next 13 minutes or so of game time, the T-Bred defense seemed to stifle the Jackets, but the offense still found little success.
With a little bit of momentum at their backs, the T-Breds had third and 2 at their own 29, but Marvin Hammond was unable to haul in a first-down pass from Bo Baldwin.
The South Aiken coaches elected to try a fake punt snapped to Will Holbrook, who hit an open Cameron Ladd for what would’ve been a huge gain. Ladd couldn’t hold on, though, and the Jackets had the ball on the T-Bred 29.
“That probably wasn’t the best thing to do, call that fake punt then,” West said. “But we thought we had it and came up a little bit short.”
From there, the Jackets scored on a 10-yard run by Ronald Williams, forced a punt and scored again on a 21-yard pass from Reece to Dunbar to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. The scoring pass was the third of the game for Reece, who finished the night 11-of-18 for 141 yards.
Dunbar finished the game with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s just a good football player,” Pippin said of Dunbar.
South Aiken faltered on its first drive of the third quarter but got a big play from its defense when Rod Wise intercepted a Reece pass in the end zone. Starting on their own 20 after a touchback, the T-Breds marched downfield with short passes, timely running and a big personal foul for a hit to the head.
The drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth and 6 from the Jackets’ 26-yard line late in the third quarter, and the Jackets scored twice in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter on runs by Willie McCloud and Dashawn Barnes to put the game completely away.
“We showed some glimpses, but that’s been our season in a nutshell,” West said. “We’ve showed some glimpses here and there but haven’t been able to put it all together.”
Baldwin scored South Aiken’s only touchdown on a 1-yard sneak set up by a 66-yard catch by Ahkeem Adams with 2:59 left in the game, but perhaps fittingly, Owen Myers’ kick sailed left.
Despite the big win, Pippin said his team still has to work on some things before closing the season with a road game at Aiken and a home date with defending region champion Dutch Fork.
“I still think we’ve got to have better execution offensively,” he said. “We had a couple of short fields we didn’t execute on. I’m proud of the kids, though. ... We won 42-6 against a rival school, so that was good. Proud of ’em.”
South Aiken will host White Knoll and Aiken to close the season.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
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