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What did North Augusta, Baldwin, Burke County, and Grovetown teach us Friday night?

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Caree Collier and Chris Torres perform their captain duties before Friday’s game.

***Full game highlight videos of the four games discussed here will be released Sunday evening.***

North Augusta’s lesson: A heart breaking loss can teach you how to win.

North Augusta quarterback Tanner White rushed for 4 touchdowns in his team’s 34-24 comeback win over rival South Aiken last night. During his post game interview he let on that he and his teammates learned a lot from a stinging loss to Brookland-Cayce two weeks ago, in which North Augusta gave up a 20 point lead when Brookland-Cayce ended the game on a 27-0 run, which happened to be the same exact finish North Augusta mounted in Friday’s win over the Thoroughbreds.

“We knew we had it in us the whole game,” White said when asked how his Yellow Jackets were able to overcome a 24-7 second half deficit. “We felt like we should’ve won the Brookland-Cayce game. We shouldn’t have given up that lead. We just knew that if we gave up that lead (to BC), they (South Aiken) can give up that lead. And we just never stopped fighting.”

The video above shows many of the high points from North Augusta’s comeback win. But it will take until I publish the full game highlight video to do justice to the team effort used to complete such a win. In addition to White’s rushing touchdowns, he found receivers Junius Walker, Lonnie Lee, and Zion Dobbs all for key completions. And defensive standouts Caree Collier, Chris Torres, and Derian Gibson all impacted the game in even more ways than usual. Gibson created two turnovers and tallied multiple tackles for a loss. Collier and Torres swarmed the ball carrier, as they usually do, whether in the backfield or in the secondary. And all three defensive dynamos played a role blocking and even carrying the ball, in Torres and Collier’s case. But I’ll detail all of those things along with the rest of the game’s most important plays after the full game highlights have been edited.

Baldwin’s lesson: Playing a very difficult pre-region schedule can be very beneficial.

In a post previewing the first week of the class 4A, region 3 schedule, I wrote this about Baldwin’s schedule in the first half of the season:

The results from Baldwin’s first 5 weeks of play read like one of GPB’s top ten in Georgia rankings:

Washington County (#8 Class 2A) 19, Baldwin 7
Jones County (#2 Class 5A) 41, Baldwin 14
Veterans 38, Baldwin 30
Warner Robins (#6 Class 5A) 49, Baldwin 14
Northside Warner Robins (#8 Class 6A) 45, Baldwin 0


Playing what some have called the most difficult non region schedule in the state has paid off for Baldwin because after warming up with a win over Greenbrier, the Braves have tallied region wins on the road against then undefeated Richmond last week, and Thomson last night. The 27-6 decision over the Bulldogs sets up a showdown in Milledgeville next Friday between the top two teams in the region standings: Baldwin and 9th ranked Burke County. That brings us to our next lesson…

Burke County’s lesson: The Bears are a perennial top 10 team in Georgia for a reason

Burke County also began its season with an incredibly difficult pair of opening games, first against Benedictine (currently ranked #6 in class 3A) and then against Ware County (currently ranked #10 in class 5A). The Bears dropped both contests by one point, failing to score on the final play each time. Anybody who thought then that those results were a sign of a down year in Waynesboro would have to reconsider today after seeing that Burke County has reeled off 5 straight wins and outscored opponents in those games by a combined score of 247-75.
Coach Eric Parker lost key players from last year’s team to graduation. But a program like his will be a force no matter which class has recently left the school because, well, the Bears are a perennial top 10 team for a reason.

Grovetown’s lesson: A large and physical defensive front may lead to a region title.

Grovetown’s four man defensive front

From the picture of Grovetown’s defensive line directly above:

Top left: Simeon Barrow (DE) – 6’3″ 235 lbs
Top right: Jermarvian Fraley (DT) – 5’9″ 294 lbs
Bottom left: Kyle Bryant (DE) – 6’3″ 238 lbs
Bottom right: Jeremiah Williams (DT) – 6’0″ 295 lbs
As you can see in the update below about the key plays from the second half of Grovetown’s win over Greenbrier last night, Williams and Fraley played a key role in the Warriors’ victory. They will have their hands full with Lakeside quarterback Jaden Taylor next Friday. But it will be difficult for Grovetown to lose the battle at the line of scrimmage with these four players up front.

High School

[Livestream] Evans Hosts Effingham Co. in State Playoff Showdown

Evans battles Effingham in Round 1 of the Georgia 6A State Playoffs. Live from Evans High.

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[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

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“Sophomore Malik Ferguson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the paint with one second remaining, and right before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, he released a shot that found its mark to give Grovetown 61-60 win over Evans Friday, a result that threw the top spot in the class 6A, region 5 standings into a three way tie between Grovetown, Evans and Heritage to mark the beginning of the stretch run for the league’s regular season championship. Ferguson’s shot came at the end of a full court dash by Grovetown after head coach Darren Douglas was able to draw up a play during a timeout that was meant to result in a bucket in only six seconds. The play was designed for senior Zach Bell, who eventually fumbled the ball after spinning between defenders at the end of a drive that began near half court after he gathered the ball from freshman Derrion Reid.”

That was Chad Cook’s rundown of the instant classic that these two teams played two weeks ago. That win by Grovetown sets up a must-win scenario for Evans as they look to maintain their footing in the race for a region championship.

Be sure to get your ? ready early because if tonight’s game is as exciting as the last one, you just might forget those jokers altogether!

Streams will be posted here. Tip-off times are as follows:
Girls – 6:30 PM
Boys – 8:00 PM

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