Thursday, January 16, 2014
It took two weeks of practice and an extra day for rain to complete the high school careers of 13 North Augusta area football players.
The athletes, who competed in the inaugural Border Bowl between South Carolina and Georgia, came out on the losing side of a 24-10 game, but had a great time competing.
“It was great, it was a fun experience to play in an all-star game,” said Kyle Saverance of North Augusta High School. “Playing against people of such a high caliber was great, and I'm glad I got to play against them with some of my high school teammates on my team.”
Saverance and his South Carolina teammates were coached by Dan Pippin, who enjoyed the game, but wanted to win for his players.
“It was fun. Obviously, I wish we could have won, but it was a great experience,” he said. “The kids played hard today and there was a ton of hitting for an all-star game. We had too many turnovers and put our defense in a few bad spots. I'm proud of the kids and how they performed.”
Some of the hitting in the game came from Saverance on a screen pass to a Georgia runningback.
“Coach was yelling at me to do my job on that (screen passes to the running back), so I decided to buckle down and get off my block and hit them as hard as I can,” he said. “They didn't throw it after that.”
Other players on the South Carolina defense included Deondre Baskett of Fox Creek. Baskett was excited to match up against the Georgia offense, which included some high-level competition.
“It's definitely better than the competition I played at my school, but, overall, I had fun and enjoyed it,” said Baskett, who comes from a 1A school. “They're more experienced and the competition is definitely better at these AAA, AAAA and AAAAA schools. Being able to be picked to play in this game was a big honor.”
Both Brandon Thomas and Brandon Maddox of North Augusta were pleased to be able to suit up and play with a number of North Augusta teammates. The Jackets had 11 players on the initial roster and added Maddox as a replacement after beginning practice.
“It's a great opportunity to get out there and play around and do your best,” said Maddox, an Air Force football commitment. “This was a great way to end my high school career. The stadium was nice, the game was good, it was pretty fun.”
Thomas added that the Georgia team came out ready and matched the South Carolina squad's intensity.
“It was a good game, we came out here with full intensity,” he said. “We came out playing hard, but they played pretty well, too. We had 11 North Augusta guys in the game. It was fun playing with them, it was one more time for me to be with my guys. It was a great experience.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Keyon West was named Offensive MVP for South Carolina, catching the lone touchdown for his team on a 69 yard strike from South Aiken's Bo Baldwin.
“I was honored to be selected for the team. I was glad I was able to showcase my talents one more time for the area,” West said. “I'm going to remember that I was on the first ever South Carolina team to ever play in the Border Bowl.”
Maurice Williams anchored the North Augusta offensive line this season, and also represented his team at the North-South All-Star Game and the Border Bowl. Williams called the Border Bowl “interesting.”
“It was very fun, like playing in a big bowl game,” he said. “Playing with my team was very interesting, because I was playing with a bunch of guys I played against in the regular season and creating great chemistry with those guys.”
Williams also said his team could have done a better job of running the ball to help win the game.
“We could have run the ball better, stayed on our blocks longer and done the little things to win the game,” he said. “It was still a very fun experience.”
For Pippin and the South Carolina coaching staff, the game was a bittersweet end for their seniors.
“I told the coaches at the end that we need to start enjoying this a little bit more and be happy that we're coaching our kids,” he said. “This is the last time we get to coach those guys, so it's bittersweet. I'm just proud of the effort by all the kids.”
According to Maddox and Pippin, the game will only get bigger and better with time.
“We set a good foundation (for the Border Bowl) hopefully it gets bigger the longer it lasts,” Maddox said.
“I think this could keep going on, the amount of people in the stands was amazing to me,” Pippin said. “I was shocked, so that's a testament to what we have here in the CSRA. I wish we would have coached a little bit better, the kids played pretty well.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.
SC 7 0 3 0 – 10
GA 14 7 0 3 – 24
GA–Kendall White fumble recovery in end zone (Keaton Craw kick) 7:56.
SC–Bo Baldwin 69 pass to Keyon West (Nick Casares kick) 6:36.
GA–Hunter Banks 23 pass to Chris Lambert (Craw kick) 4:16.
GA–Banks 18 pass to Lambert (Craw kick): 54.2.
SC–Casares 23 field goal 7:03.
GA–Craw 21 field goal 3:10.
SC–Shaquez Wright 16-73, Adam Allen 8-28, Jauveer Hammond 7-10, James Jacks 1-2, West 1-(-13), Baldwin 2-(-6). Totals 35-94.
GA–Mike McIntire 18-72, Stephon Jacobs 4-12, Banks 2-(-3), Horatio Keller 5-8, Car'Tabius Quarterman 5-18, Jalen Lampkin 1-2. Totals 35-109.
SC–Hammond 9-15-43-0TD-1INT, Baldwin 13-19-175-1TD-1INT. Totals 21-34-218-1TD-2INT.
GA–Banks 8-16-156-2TD-1INT, Keller 4-9-30-0TD-1INT, Lampkin 0-1-0-0TD-0INT. Totals 12-26-186-2TD-2INT.
SC–Trenton Baughman 2-8, West 9-89-1TD, Kendall Hill 6-67, Will Holbrook 1-20, Jaleel Bryant 2-7, Dre Dunbar 2-27.
GA–Earlmonquez Cobb 4-43, Quarterman 1-43, Felton Hatcher 1-12, Lambert 5-83-2TD, Jalen Turner 1-9.
SC–Quendrell Williams 1-2, Jalen Douse 1-0.
GA–Travis Beatty 1-0, Jonquell Jones 1-8.