Lions devour Highlanders, win region title

Lions 26, Highlanders 12

 

All week, Augusta Christian coach Keith Walton tried to instill in his players the importance of Friday night’s game.

For the Lions, plenty was at stake: a region title, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and an undefeated record. But when was the last time a teenager listened?

Augusta Christian came out flat, but the Lions rallied behind two Thomas Banks rushing touchdowns in the second half for a 26-12 win over Heathwood Hall.

“It’s about what I thought it would be, especially after last week,” Walton said. “You’re trying to get back up from an emotional win. We talked all week about not having that letdown.”

A week earlier, Augusta Christian (9-0) knocked off six-time defending state champion Hammond. Now, the Lions are the 1-AAA region champion who own home field advantage in the playoffs.

Augusta Christian, with its potent offense, led just 7-0 at halftime. But defense came through in a big way, thwarting three Heathwood Hall drives into the red zone. The Lions received another big defensive effort when Tyquan Burns stepped in front of a Will Detwiler pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown with 8:41 to go to stake Augusta Christian to a 20-0 lead.

“That was a huge game-changer right there,” Lions senior fullback/linebacker Sean Sweeting said. “Right when he got that interception you could see they were done.”

Not exactly. The Highlanders (4-5) scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes. But they couldn’t overcome Banks.

After scoring on a 15-yard run in the third quarter, Banks rumbled for a touchdown on a 33-yard run with 3:44 remaining.

Quarterback Tyler Roberson, who entered with no turnovers all season, threw two interceptions in the first half.

“That just shows how flat we were,” Roberson said. “That was just ugly.”

AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 26, HEATHWOOD HALL 12

PLAY OF THE GAME: Tyquan Burns picked off a Will Detwiler pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown to push the Lions’ lead to 20-0.

STAR OF THE GAME: Tyler Banks rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.

WHY AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN WON: The Lions’ big-play defense stuffed the Highlanders three times in the red zone.

WHY HEATHWOOD HALL LOST: The Highlander offense didn’t kick into gear until halfway through the fourth quarter.

NEXT: Augusta Christian at Orangeburg Prep, 7:30 p.m., Friday.

AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 26, HEATHWOOD HALL 12

Heathwood Hall 0 0 0 12 – 12

Augusta Christian 0 7 6 13 – 26

Second Quarter

AC–Sean Sweeting 17 pass from Tyler Roberson (Heath Brace kick), 4:19

Third Quarter

AC–Thomas Banks 14 run (kick failed), 6:11

Fourth Quarter

AC–Tyquan Burns 15 interception return (Brace kick), 8:41

HH–Shelton Blue 15 pass from Will Detwiler (kick failed), 5:25

AC–Banks 33 run (kick failed), 3:44

HH–Edwin Propst 18 pass from Detwiler (pass failed), 1:42

 HHAC
First Downs1517
Rushes-Yards26-8137-226
Passing Yards220168
Comp.-Att.-Int.17-34-211-20-2
Fumbles-Lost1-10-0
Punts-Avg.1-301-37
Penalties-Yards5-308-67

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Heathwood Hall: Brandon Hill 12-53, Will Detwiler 11-19, Joe Thompson 3-9. Augusta Christian: Thomas Banks 14-91, Sean Sweeting 10-64, Tyler Roberson 12-71, Nick Fortenberry 1-0.

PASSING–Heathwood Hall: Detwiler 17-34-2 220. Augusta Christian: Roberson 11-20-2 168.

RECEIVING–Heathwood Hall: Shelton Blue 4-64, Lewis Austin 3-47, Edwin Propst 6-59, Logan McGill 3-42, Nelson Weston 1-8. Augusta Christian: Ian McDaniel 4-48, Sweeting 2-27, Banks 2-51, Fortenberry 2-32, Grant Newman 1-10.

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