NORTH AUGUSTA — In Friday night’s high-octane shootout between Lexington and North Augusta, the game came down to the team with the ball last.
Adrian Leon nailed a 23-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats to a wild 59-56 win.
Lexington (7-0) entered averaging almost 57 points a game. The Wildcats didn’t disappoint, mustering 545 yards of total offense and coming back from a 14-point halftime deficit.
“I’ve got a bunch of kids that work hard and play hard and refuse to lose,” Lexington coach Scott Earley said. “They believe in the end if they keep doing right and living right, on and off the field, something good will happen to them.”
North Augusta (6-1), which won last year’s game in a 49-42 thriller, had its chance to pull this contest out, leading by eight on Vinny Miller’s 31-yard touchdown run with 5:41 remaining. But the defense couldn’t contain Lexington’s three-headed offensive monster – quarterback Will Hunter, who went 22 for 35 passing for 314 yards, wide receiver Shaq Roland (nine catches, 176 yards) and running back Kevin Miller (23 rushes, 164 yards).
Lexington knotted the game at 56-all after Kevin Miller scored on a 9-yard run, then Jalen Cook hauled in the two-point pass from Hunter.
North Augusta started its final drive from its 32 with 3:09 remaining.
Tyrell Hillary, who went 23 of 38 passing for 331 yards and five touchdowns, quickly moved the Yellow Jackets down to the Lexington 31.
After a Hillary interception was called off because North Augusta called timeout before the play with 1:18 remaining, the Yellow Jackets appeared to go ahead again. Vinny Miller, who finished with 158 rushing yards on 32 carries, scampered 31 yards on third down for an apparent touchdown. The play was called back for holding.
North Augusta couldn’t convert from there, and Lexington got the ball back on its own 34 with 53 seconds left. After a short Kevin Miller run, Hunter completed two passes for 59 yards to set up Leon’s heroics.
“We’ll bounce back on Sunday. We’ll be fine,” North Augusta coach Dan Pippin said. “I’ve got resilient kids. They’re good kids. They work hard. We’ll get it back.”
LEXINGTON 59, NORTH AUGUSTA 56
PLAY OF THE GAME: Lexington wide receiver Shaq Roland went up high for a 39-yard reception from quarterback Will Hunter with seven seconds left to move the Wildcats to the 2 and set up the game-winning field goal.
STAR OF THE GAME: Roland caught nine passes for 176 yards and also ran for 32 more.
WHY LEXINGTON WON: The Wildcats pretty much scored at will.
WHY NORTH AUGUSTA LOST: The Yellow Jackets had issues tackling most of the night and allowed 545 yards of offense.
NEXT: Lexington at South Aiken, Friday; North Augusta at White Knoll, Friday.
LEXINGTON 59, NORTH AUGUSTA 56
Lexington 14 14 14 17 – 59
North Augusta 7 35 7 7 – 56
NA–Vinny Miller 1 run (Mitch Redd kick), 6:37
L–Kevin Miller 7 run (Adrian Leon kick), 4:49
L–Shaq Roland 13 pass from Will Hunter (Leon kick), :10.5
NA–Devontez Rouse 38 pass from Tyrell Hillary (Redd kick), 10:58
NA–Devin Grimes 17 interception return (Redd kick), 10:50
L–Kevin Miller 7 run (Leon kick), 8:33
NA–Shane Lester 9 pass from Hillary (Redd kick), 10:58
NA–Montez McGuire 26 pass from Hillary (Redd kick), 4:40
L–Roland 57 pass from Hunter (Leon kick), 3:03
NA–Rouse 24 pass from Hillary (Redd kick), 1:09
L–Roland 19 pass from Hunter (Leon kick), 8:58
L–Roland 34 run (Leon kick), 7:12
NA–Miller 17 pass from Hillary (Redd kick), :08
L–Roland 2 run (kick failed), 7:59
NA–Miller 31 run (Redd kick), 5:41
L–Miller 9 run (Jalen Cook pass from Hunter), 3:12
L-Leon 23 FG, :03
First Downs 27 23
Rushes-Yards 35-231 33-165
Passing Yards 314 331 Comp.-Att.-Int. 22-35-1 22-38-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Punts-Avg. 2-33 2-22
Penalties-Yards 7-70 5-35
RUSHING–Lexington: Kevin Miller 23-164, Will Hunter 10-35, Shaq Roland 2-32. North Augusta: Vinny Miller 32-158, Tyrell Hillary 1-7.
PASSING–Lexington: Will Hunter 22-35-1 314. North Augusta: Tyrell Hillary 22-38-1 331.
RECEIVING–Lexington: Shaq Roland 9-176, Jalen Cook 8-76, Ryan McCrary 2-38, Taquan West 1-18, Jesse Williams 1-2, Miller 1-4. North Augusta: Montez McGuire 8-125, Devontez Rouse 4-75, Trey Morgan 3-52, Andrew Mayson 3-28, Vinny Miller 2-17, Shane Lester 1-9, John Chambers 1-9.