NORTH AUGUSTA — One star tailback went down with an injury, but another one took his place.
North Augusta starter DeVonte Pressley hit 100 yards rushing with a six-yard gain early in the third quarter, but the play also resulted in an injured elbow.
While Pressley watched the rest of the game from the sidelines in a sling, junior Willie McCloud stepped in and tacked on three touchdowns and nearly another 100 yards in a 35-7 win over Greenbrier.
“He did really good. He’s a quality running back,” North Augusta coach Dan Pippin said. “We’ll find out about DeVonte tomorrow, but (McCloud) really did good. I was happy with how he played.”
The Wolfpack (1-1) hung around for a little more than three quarters, controlling the clock with a running game that tallied 232 yards. They fought their way back into the game with a chance to climb within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
But a mishandled snap on a Greenbrier field goal attempt inside the red zone shifted the momentum back to North Augusta, and McCloud scored twice on the next two possessions to put the game out of reach.
“We did some good things. We’ve got a young ball club that’s got to learn how to win,” Greenbrier coach Kevin Hunt said. “Take five plays out of the ballgame that they won, and that’s the difference in the ballgame. It’s just some fundamental stuff that we’ve got to fix.”
North Augusta (3-1) tallied 75 penalty yards, but a two-quarterback system combined for 224 passing yards. Senior Cody Turner and sophomore Trib Reese each threw a touchdown pass in the first half.
After the passing game was established and gave North Augusta a 14-0 halftime lead, the ground game took over in the second half - first through Pressley and later from McCloud.
“DeVonte came up to me and said it’s my turn now,” McCloud said. “I knew I had to step up.”
Of McCloud’s 96 rushing yards, 78 came after Pressley’s injury, including all three touchdowns.
Greenbrier first scored with five minutes left in the third quarter with a clock-controlling 92-yard touchdown drive. The Wolfpack defense held on the next possession, and Greenbrier, trailing 21-7, drove inside North Augusta’s 10 with a chance to pull within a touchdown.
But on fourth-and-3 on the 9-yard line, Greenbrier lined up for a field goal. The snap went through the hands of the holder, ending the scoring opportunity without a point.
North Augusta fed off the momentum and reestablished its ground game, scoring both times over the next two possessions.
“We let them stay on the field too much in the third quarter, but we moved the ball pretty good at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter,” Pippin said. “The kids played hard and played well ... I think we might have had a little letdown defensively after last Saturday.”
Greenbrier tailback Jeremy Hardin rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown in the loss.