Augusta Prep battled back from a 30-point second-quarter deficit but couldn’t complete the comeback as it fell to Thomas Jefferson 44-38.
“A very experienced team beat an inexperienced team tonight,” said Cavaliers coach Harry Bacheller, whose team is in its second year as a varsity program. “They’ve won more championships than we’ve been a program.”
The Cavaliers lost five fumbles in the first half and trailed 38-17 at the break. After battling back to even the score at 38 on a one-yard run from Nolan Brandon and a two-point conversion with 11:10 left to play, one last turnover sank them.
The Jaguars (1-2) picked off quarterback Jack Owen with 1:03 left, and Jaguars quarterback Austin Richards then found Michael Bridges for 26 yards and the game-winning touchdown on the final play.
With a large crowd on hand, the Cavaliers were aggressive from the start, recovering an onside kick to begin the game. That turned into their first fumble two plays later.
Down 38-7, the Cavaliers rode an ailing Kevins Huggins at fullback on a 65-yard drive to get to 38-14 after he went in from 18 yards out. An interception set up a 35-yard field goal by Huggins going into the half, and the deficit was 38-17.
After rushing for 129 yards in the first half, Huggins was too dehydrated to continue. Brandon took over where he left off, rushing 16 times for 88 yards in the second half.
“Kevin had sacrificed for us, we knew we had to sacrifice for him,” Brandon said. “We’re disapppointed we lost, but we’re all proud of the way we played.”