Sep. 10—GREENWOOD 21, NORTH AUGUSTA 14
NORTH AUGUSTA — It was only fitting that a heavyweight battle on the football field would come down to strength in the trenches when it mattered most.
For North Augusta head coach Matt Quinn, two plays stood out in particular in Friday night's game against Greenwood.
One was a fourth-and-1 early in the game. The other was another fourth-and-1, maybe even less than a yard, from just off of Greenwood's goal line with 5:11 to play.
The Yellow Jackets didn't get either one, and those were ones they had to have in a slugfest. Greenwood was able to run out the clock after that second fourth-down stop to preserve a 21-14 victory.
"The fourth-and-1 down here, we don't pick up. The fourth-and-1 on this end, on the goal line, we don't pick up," Quinn said. "Those two plays changed the momentum of the game. It changes the score of the game. Those are two fourth-and-1s that we have to pick up. We'll get better with that. We'll work on that, and we'll keep pushing forward as we go in to our next opponent."
The latter stop was a heart-breaker. The Jackets (1-3) and Eagles (1-3) had been trading scores in the fourth quarter after starting it tied at 7, and Deterrious Gary's second touchdown of the night put Greenwood ahead 21-14 with 8:35 to go.
North Augusta again didn't waste time responding, and DJ Curry turned a nice-looking gain to midfield into a 51-yarder all the way to the Greenwood 20 by churning through tacklers and tip-toeing the sideline.
Another tough run by Curry, who finished the game with 131 yards on 25 carries, got the Jackets to the 1. After a timeout, they gave it to him again on fourth down.
Waiting for him at the line of scrimmage was the Greenwood defensive line, which did what not many have been able to do by stopping Curry in his tracks.
Still, Greenwood was going to have to do something to move the ball. That's where quarterback Kaleb Burton stepped in.
Burton gained 49 of his 85 rushing yards on two carries — one for 34 yards on third down from the Eagles' 7 to give them breathing room, another for 15 in North Augusta territory to put the Eagles in position to run out the clock.
It's another tough loss for the Jackets in their gauntlet of a non-region schedule that doesn't get any easier next week when Class AAAAA No. 1 Dutch Fork comes to town.
"Just stay together. Keep fighting," Quinn said. "It hurts to lose a ballgame like that. It hurts to fight and push so hard and work so hard to come out on the wrong end of that. It's a shame that one team out of these two had to lose this ballgame, because both teams played a great ballgame."
Quinn was happy with his team's defense in the first half, and the offense showed some positives by doing some more things in the passing game than in previous weeks.
Greenwood's option offense started to wear on the Jackets in the second half, and the Eagles ended the game with 330 rushing yards — 212 from Gary.
His biggest carry of the night was a 77-yarder that came one play after North Augusta tied the score at 14. The Jackets had momentum back on their side when, on fourth-and-7, Colson Brown fired a bullet that Brodie Chapman caught at a full stretch and raced 36 yards into the end zone.
Instead, Gary and the Eagles took the lead right back. His 77-yarder put them at the 4, and he cashed in one play later.
Those big plays weren't as plentiful in the first half, which included a 15-minute delay when the stadium lights went out in the second quarter.
Greenwood struck first on Jaylen Robinson's 28-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first quarter, and the Eagles kept that 7-0 lead until late in the third.
Brown found Evan Waldhauer for a 25-yard score on a play that looked like would be a run by either Brown or Curry, which left Waldhauer wide open over the middle. That tied the game at 7 with 4:39 left in the third quarter, and then the fireworks began in a driving rain.
The Jackets will have to quickly regroup, as another huge non-region test awaits next week from Dutch Fork.
"We knew going into this non-region schedule that it was going to be tough," Quinn said. "We knew that the opponents that we had were going to be tough and battle-tested. We're just going to keep using these non-region games to keep getting better."
G 0 7 0 14 — 21
NA 0 0 7 7 — 14
G — Jaylen Robinson 28 run (Joseph Piontek kick) 0:25
NA — Colson Brown 28 pass to Evan Waldhauer (Jack Stevens kick) 4:39
G — Deterrious Gary (Piontek kick) 3 run 11:15
NA — Brown 36 pass to Brodie Chapman (Stevens kick) 9:06
G — Gary 4 run (Piontek kick) 8:35
G — Deterrious Gary 33-212-2, Kaleb Burton 15-85, Jaylen Robinson 3-34-1, Elijah Ross 1-0, Tyquone Lindsey 1-(-1). Totals 53-330-3.
NA — DJ Curry 25-131, Colson Brown 1-10, Taylon Washington 1-1, Christian Jackson 1-(-4). Totals 28-138.
G — Kaleb Burton 1-2-8-0-1.
NA — Colson Brown 14-26-165-2-0.
G — J.B. Simmons 1-8.
NA — Taylon Washington 5-73, Brodie Chapman 3-43-1, Evan Waldhauer 1-28-1, Braelin Jackson 3-9, Corey Tillman 1-8, Connor Brown 1-4. Totals 14-165-2.
NA — Amir Young.