Jackets knocked out of playoffs by Eagles
KENNEDY MIDDLE 24, NORTH AUGUSTA 0
By Scott Rodgers
The North Augusta Middle School football team had an undefeated season last year. This year the team’s win streak was snapped by Kennedy Middle.
The playoff rematch also went to the Eagles.
Kennedy (5-2) was able to do, twice, what no other team was able to do this or last year. Led by the excellent play of running back Brandon Carter, Kennedy was able to execute a game plan to keep the Jackets’ (5-2) explosive offense off the field.
“They definitely managed the clock,” Justin Medlock, North Augusta’s head coach, said. “That was their plan. They have a completely different scheme from us. Ours is more of a fast pace, get-up and go, big yards. Theirs is a slower pace, four yards at a time, and they manage the clock. We didn’t touch the ball in the first quarter and that kind of stuff hurts, and it makes it hard to get going.”
The Jackets did not get the ball until the second play of the second quarter. Much of the first quarter was a methodical Eagle drive that was capped off by a big, 40-yard run by Carter. On the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles had a short kick that caught the Jackets off guard – a kick the Eagles recovered.
“We studied the film and put a lot of time into that,” Edward Shuford, Kennedy’s head coach, said. “We felt like if we could sky one with the speed that we had, we felt like we could recover it. That was definitely a good start.”
Even when the Jackets got the ball it was tough sledding. As a team, the Jackets rushed for -14 yards on the game. Quarterback Landon Washington was forced to throw 18 times, as his team trailed, completing seven passes for 61 yards.
However, the Jacket defense could not solve Carter, who went on to score in the second quarter from 15 yards out. He added another 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and finished with 188 yards on 23 carries to go with the three scores. He also added a 2-point conversion.
“The Lord has just blessed him with a lot of skill,” Shuford said. “He wants the ball and he’s a team player. He’s just been big for us.”
Kennedy was also lucky to have the 6-foot-3 David Ray at tight end. Though Ray failed to haul in a pass other than the 2-point conversion, his ability to box out defenders prevented the Jackets from getting a momentum swinging turnover. Garrett Paschal also hauled in a 2-point conversion of his own from quarterback Cody Boynton.
“We knew they were going to be keying in on 40 (Carter’s number),” Shuford said. “So we wanted to make some adjustments off that.”
North Augusta’s Martevius Ware also suffered what is being called a “significant leg injury” in the first quarter.
Though the season ended one game short of the ultimate goal, Medlock said that overall it was a successful year.
“I think we’ll have another great season next year,” he said. “I wish we could have (Washington and running back Tyrek Walls) back next year. We have a good program and a good football team, and we’re going to start fresh in the offseason to get ready for next year.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.