Saturday, August 23, 2014
NORTH AUGUSTA — Senior kicker Blake Busby knew that there was a chance his team could need him.
Down by one, and on a night where time became a factor, it was Busby’s foot that made the difference.
As Trib Reece marched North Augusta down the field for a potential game winner, and not knowing how much time was on their side, Busby quickly took the field.
The senior drilled a 38-yarder down the middle to make head coach Brian Thomas a winner in his first game as Jacket coach.
“I just tried to tell myself I knew I could do it,” Busby said. “It’s about longer than any one I’ve had in a game-time situation.”
In the second quarter, Busby was unable to convert an extra-point attempt. That miss came back to haunt the Jackets, as they found themselves trailing with less than a minute to go in the game.
“It was tough getting that off my shoulders,” Busby said. “I was real scared going into that kick because of the PAT. However, I’m just glad it went through.”
The Jackets found themselves in a slugfest with the Panthers. Despite a two-score lead heading into halftime, North Augusta was unable to generate much offense.
Cam Matthews scored the lone Jacket touchdown, on a 1-yard plunge but did not see a single carry in the second half.
Brandon Houston was the bell cow in the second half.
Reece was accurate, though his new receiving corps struggled outside of Chaz Mealer, who caught 12 of Reece’s 18 completions.
In the second half, the Jackets were battered by Lakeside’s Jalen Harrison. The big running back fought for yardage all night and wore down the Jacket defense. That allowed Panther wide receiver BJ Raymond to make explosion plays, including catches of 64 and 43 yards in second half. Raymond had a game-high 146 receiving yards.
When asked about his first win and having to watch his team fight back, Thomas said that was “exactly how he wanted it to go.”
“That was the plan coming into today – just get a win under our belt,” he said. “We wanted to get to believing in what we’re doing. We’re going to get better every day. Lakeside played great, they played hard and Coach (Steve) Hibbitts did a great job preparing for us. There’s nothing you can do about that; we’ve just got to get better and execute.”
Hibbitts was a bit of a riverboat gambler on the night. In the second half, he attempted three onside kicks and went for broke on a handful of fourth downs. He was rewarded by his offense getting a spark with quarterback Nick Patterson extending plays and finding Raymond along with Harrison’s hard running.
The difference maker, in the end, was Reece marching his team down the field. The senior quarterback found Mealer often and even got Busby involved on a key conversion to extend the final drive.
“It’s a little bit aggravating not being able to have an eye on it,” Thomas said of not being able to keep track of the time. “However, there’s nothing you can do except play the game until the whistle blows. That’s all we can do.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheScottRodgers.
NA 3 6 0 3 — 12
LS 0 0 3 7 — 10
NA-Blake Busby 34 field goal 5:48.
NA-Cam Matthews 1 rush (Busby kick failed) 9:00.
LS-Cole Nanney 16 field goal 3:20.
LS-Jalen Harrison 1 rush (Nanney kick) 5:25.
NA-Busby 38 field goal 0:00.
NA-Cam Matthews 13-62 TD, Brandon Houston 9-59, Trib Reece 5-13. TOTALS 27-134 TD.
LS-Jalen Harrison 13-47 TD, Nick Patterson 9-31, Josh Jones 7-2, Andrew Studstill 1-0, Hunter Bently 1-(-2). TOTALS 30-78 TD.
NA-Trib Reece 18-30-158.
LS-Nick Patterson 10-22-190.
NA-Chaz Mealer 12-114, Chandler Harrison 4-26, Blake Busby 1-15, Cam Matthews 1-3.
LS-BJ Raymond 5-146, Josh Jones 2-4, Luke Harmon 1-30, Hunter Bently 1-2, Rashad Roundtree 1-8.