While Augusta Christian and Hammond have played tight ball games the past two years, that would not be the case Friday night.
In a rematch of the 2012 South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA championship game, which Augusta Christian won 21-14, Hammond jumped all over the Lions early and never looked back, winning easily 49-26.
The Skyhawks rushed for 304 yards and five touchdowns, mostly in the first half, as they built a 42-6 advantage. T.J. Brady did the majority of the damage, rushing 14 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the half.
The Skyhawks also picked off Matthew Peavler twice in the first quarter which led to scores, including a leaping, one-handed grab by Doak Fisher who returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
The Lions (2-6, 2-5 SCISA) entered tied with Ben Lippen for the eighth and final playoff spot and can advance to the playoffs with a win in their final regular season game at Heathwood Hall.
“Next week is huge,” saidAugusta Christian head coach Keith Walton He added that the Lions have been fighting the injury bug all season and that Friday night was no exception. “It's motivation for them because they feel so beaten up and that's a little different than where we've been in the past.”
Senior running back Thomas Banks was bottled up early, but started coming on midway through the second quarter, finishing the game with 19 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a six-yard pass from Peavler for Augusta Christian’s first score. While they scored three second-half touchdowns, Banks knows the Lions have to do better much sooner.
“We have to come out going hard throughout the whole game, not when we're down and try to fight back” said Banks, who missed games earlier in the year with a hamstring injury. “It's good to have that fight-back spirit, but you have to have it coming out too because we have so much potential.”
HAMMOND 49, AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 26
PLAY OF THE GAME: With Hammond leading 14-0 in the first quarter, Skyhawks defender Doak Fisher made a leaping, one-handed interception and returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
STAR OF THE GAME: Running back T.J. Brady gashed the Lions’ defense for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the first half before sitting out the second half.
WHY HAMMOND WON: The Skyhawks turned turnovers into points and ran wild gaining 304 yards
WHY AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN LOST: The Lions couldn’t contain the Skyhawks’ rushing attack.
RECORDS: Hammond 6-3, 5-2 Region 1-AAA; Augusta Christian 2-6, 2-5.
NEXT: Augusta Christian at Heathwood Hall, 7:30 p.m. Friday
HAMMOND 49, AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 26
Hammond 28 14 7 0 – 49
Augusta Christ. 6 0 7 13 – 26
H–Max Woodburn 12 run (Bill Horst kick), 10:57
AC–Thomas Banks 6 pass from Matthew Peavler (kick fail), 7:40
H–T.J. Brady 4 run (Horst kick), 3:11
H–Doak Fisher 39 interception return (Horst kick), 2:15
H–Brady 3 run (Horst kick), 1:33
H–Woodburn 20 pass from Davis King (Horst kick), 8:51
H–Brady 9 run (Horst kick), :35
H–Woodburn 49 run (Horst kick), 6:53
AC–Banks 17 run (Matt Chiera kick), :57
AC–Beyersdoerfer 6 run (Chiera kick), 11:16
AC–Banks 26 run (kick fail), 3:17
RUSHING–Hammond: T.J. Brady 14-145, Max Woodburn 5-80, Nick Garrett 10-76, Read Folline 4-4; Augusta Christian: Bryson Ashmore 1-10, Thomas Banks 19-113, Tyquan Burns 1-1, Hunter Beyersdoerfer 4-11, Blake Rish 1-6, Matthew Peavler 1-7
PASSING–Hammond: Garrett 4-6-0 32, Davis King 2-6-1 24. Augusta Christian: Beyersdoerfer 2-5-0 12, Peavler 3-8-2 23
RECEIVING–Hammond: Cantey Heath 3-27, Woodburn 1-20, Brady 2-9; Augusta Christian: Banks 2-8, Lance Arbogast 2-18, Brandon Rosier 1-9.