NORTH AUGUSTA — Coach Brian Thomas challenged his players when North Augusta found itself in a halftime deficit, and they responded as a different team down the stretch.
The Yellow Jackets wore down the Midland Valley Mustangs in the second half to win 44-21 on Friday night.
Midland Valley (0-1) was attempting to beat North Augusta (2-0) for the first time since 1998. The Yellow Jackets prevented any chance of an upset by beating the Mustangs 27-0 in the second half.
“It was two different games,” Thomas said. “It was a tale of two halves again. We didn’t execute in the first half, and we challenged them at halftime. We made adjustments.”
The Mustangs started to show fatigue midway through the third quarter as their defense was constantly left to defend a no-huddle offense that found its rhythm after halftime.
Down 21-17 at the half, North Augusta scored 27 unanswered points to take a lead and pull away between the final two quarters, including three touchdowns in the fourth.
Midland Valley star quarterback Daniel Carr had a hand in three first-half touchdowns, but he was shut out in the second half and showed a noticeable limp in the fourth quarter.
“The defense was tremendous in holding them,” Yellow Jackets quarterback Trib Reece said. “The offense didn’t come out with intensity, and we weren’t helping. We have to get everyone in rhythm earlier.”
Reece struggled to 13 completions for 125 yards and two interceptions, but he accounted for three passing touchdowns and one rushing score. Brandon Houston recorded 64 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Carr threw for 110 yards and rushed for 59, but 75 yards came on a touchdown run in the second quarter. Midland Valley had only three first downs in the second half.
“We did a better job containing him and making him run around,” Thomas said. “We kept him off balance better in the second half.”